‘Tall people eat a lot of beans’
– (one of the many hogwash I heard growing up, cos I am still not tall)
Nigeria is known for a lot of things (Mmhmm, do not get me started!). One thing we are particularly good at is making delicious meals. I learned how to cook at an early age from my mother (she is an absolute legend in the kitchen), as well as from experimenting with dishes. So, when a friend suggested I shared the recipe for one of my ‘experiments’, I thought hmm…
That was until another busy day at the nursery led to me feeling I deserved some soothing therapy (this may sound weird, but cooking helps me to relax). A quick stop at the local African store and a nearby supermarket and I was all good to go.
Plantains are cooking bananas that can be boiled, grilled, fried, baked or eaten raw (if you like the tangy taste). For more info on plantains, check out – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooking_banana
Now, I am an above-average fan of meal prepping and I try to be a valiant soldier in the war against calories (good luck with that). Ergo (been itching to use this word – go on, google it!), this lesson is a combination of two recipes.
So whip out those pots, roll your sleeves, let the music play and let’s make some delicious beans with plantain, Nigerian style!
Let me begin by saying this is an easy peasy recipe.
Cooking time: 1 hour and 25 minutes, excluding the time it took to boil the chicken and fish.
- 2 cups of African red beans
- 7 whole plantains
- Chicken (already spiced and cooked)
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 1 red bell peppers
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- Fresh coriander (sliced)
- 1/4 cup palm oil
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- Scotch bonnet (don’t want to say how much I used for fear of judgment and condemnation. I like spicy, so to each his own)
- 1/2 tbsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp garam masala (of course)
- 3 knorr cubes
- 1/2 tbsp mixed spice
- tomato paste (I used the smallest tin I could find)
- A good old Motown playlist
Let’s do this!
*♫Listening to I Want You Back by The Jackson 5♬*
- Add 1000ml of water into a stock pot, toss in the beans and cook for 50 minutes over medium heat.
- Heat the oven to 150C for about 5 minutes. While the oven is heating up, slice the plantain into little sections of halves, sprinkle a dash of salt over and mix altogether by flipping it over in the bowl (if you mix with a cooking spoon, be sure to flip from the sides and not the middle so as not to mash up some of the pieces).
- Glaze a pan with oil (I used olive oil) and tip the plantain on. (from the photo, I lined the tray with a sheet of foil. However, I recommend you do without the foil as this causes the plantain to stick and can be quite bothersome to ‘detach’ – a folly cycle I find myself repeating despite knowing better).
- Grill the chicken and plantain in the oven for about 40 minutes. Another option is to deep fry in hot oil – it’s a lot quicker but less healthy (as an improvisation to grill the chicken, I lined the metal racks in the oven with foil before placing the chicken on.
After 40 minutes in the oven, the chicken was ready so I took these out. The plantain was almost ready but there were a few close-to-being-burnt pieces which I scooped out cos Minnie don’t burn no plantain(Mmhmm). I flipped the rest over to ensure there were no further casualties (what would my mother say?). I let this grill for a further 10-15 minutes.
*♬Listening to Reach Out (I’ll Be There) by Four Tops♪♪*
Time for the Veggies
I just have to say I Love Vegetables! Asparagus, broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, onions, carrots, dwarf beans, mangetout, mushrooms, lettuce, cabbages, the works! (Focus girl)
Back to our recipe.
*♪♪Listening to Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes♫*
- Chop the red and yellow peppers, onions and carrots into chunks and set these aside.
- Add the vegetable oil into a saucepan and place over low-medium heat and stir in the chopped onions for about 1 minute (don’t forget I’m cooking two meals in parallel – I was on a roll!).
- Toss in the bell peppers and carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute then add in your tomato paste and allowed to cook for another 1 minute.
- Add the sliced coriander, scotch bonnet (if you can handle some heat otherwise don’t sweat it), salt, thyme, garam masala, nutmeg, mixed spice and knorr cubes. I used 1 cup of chicken and fish stock combo for some extra oh-my-goodness flavour. Uhuh! add and work that in for an even consistency. Cook for a further 1 minute and remove from heat.
*♫Listening to Do You Love Me by The Contours♫*
- Add the palm oil into the beans and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
- stir in your vegetable sauce – now I made enough sauce for two recipes so I only used half of it. let this cook for another 2-3 minutes to get all that flavour in.
- remove from heat and serve as desired.
*♪Listening to Baby I Need Your Loving by The Four Tops♪* – (they made some great music)
There you have it! Nigerian beans with plantain for your savoury delight.
I am not a fitness-diet-health guru or expert but I have heard it said that this is one very healthy meal (a Sista is just passing on some useful info) so calories got nothing on you.
Let me know how yours turned out (You will try this, won’t you?).