There is a VERY simple, everyday kind of dish that the Ewe (ey-vey) people and other Ghanaians enjoy. (The Ewe people are also found in parts of Togo and Benin.)This dish is called abob⊃e or aboboe in Twi, ab⊃b⊃i in Ga, azinogoe b⊃b⊃ in Ewe. It is also known simply as stewed beans, boiled beans or bobo.
The "beans" are humble cowpeas (vigna unguiculata), which likely originated in West Africa. They lend themselves easily to crockpot cooking, and that is how I prepared them recently, even though in Ghana we cooked them on a stovetop.
Recipe #33: Aboboe (boiled cowpeas)
2 cups (a little less than 1 pound) of black-eyed peas
about 6 cups of water
gari for serving (if available)
ripe plantain (optional)
Rinse and pick over 2 cups of black-eyed peas (or use a whole pound bag)
Put them into a crockpot with 6 cups of water.
Cover and cook for several hours on high or overnight on low.
Before serving add a couple of teaspoons of salt, or to taste. I did not have to add any more water, but it's always a good idea to keep an eye on it if you're cooking on top of the stove or on the high setting in a crockpot.
Variations: add a large onion whole, and a little red pepper (fresh or dried) to the beans as they cook.
The beans are good simply served with a couple of tablespoons of dry gari sprinkled over the top, and even better with a little flavored oil (or good quality dzomi palm oil, if you have access to that) poured over them before sprinkling the gari, and some shito served on the side, if you have any.
Alternatively, you can make a simple tomato gravy (that recipe is coming--it can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator) and add any leftover meat or fish or vegetable, and mix the beans with that before topping with gari.
Ripe plantain is traditionally fried and served alongside the beans, but Barbara (and I) grill or boil it and serve it that way. Totally delicious, and a nice change from chili.
Recipe #34: Adayi (Pureed Cowpeas)
In Ghana, Barbara and I didn't prepare adayi, but Barbara told me that you cook the cowpeas the same way, then when they are done and most of the water has boiled away, you simply blend the beans into a paste and eat them with gari.
That's how I made it here, but later I was looking at the 1953 Gold Coast Nutrition and Cookery book, and saw that it has an Ewe recipe that is more complicated: first it says to soak the cowpeas ovenight (1 cigarette tin, which is 1/2 pound), dry them in the sun, grind the beans and remove the skins, cook them well in boiling water until they are soft, then add salt. The recipe then says to heat some coconut oil (1 1/2 U.K. gills, or about .9 U.S. cup), dampen some gari (2 cigarette tins, or a pound) with a little water and the heated oil, and serve it hot with the beans. I'm thinking that one could try subsituting the preskinned and/or preground beans, but the pureed, unskinned ones I made worked fine for this novice.
Have fun, and happy cooking.