Mush and Beans

Ohleleh Beans
Africa, West

This is a standard ingredient in much of sub-Saharan Africa. It is used for a dish called Ohleleh in Sierra Leone and moi moi in Nigeria, as well as in many sauces for chicken, fish and meat. Blackeye peas are the beans to use because they are native to Africa - all other familiar beans came from the Americas.

1/2 cup dry beans will yield 1 cup of finished paste. If you need less (or more) just use half the volume of dried beans for the amount you want.

1/2 c Blackeye Peas, dry
  1. Soak Blackeye Peas in plenty of water for 5 hours minimum (more won't hurt). Drain.
  2. Place Peas in a large deep bowl of cold water. Pick up a handful at a time and rub strongly between your thumb and fingers to split them in half and loosen the skins (this requires strong hands) or split them by some other means. Rub them until the skins come loose.
  3. Fill the bowl with lots of cold water. Stir it up and give the beans just enough time to sink, then pour off the water, which should carry away much of the skins. Repeat until all beans are skin free (the black "eyes" will all be gone) and the skins are all removed.
  4. Drain the beans and pound to a paste in a mortar (or by some other means). If you use a processor you will probably have to add some water, but that generally won't be a problem.
  1. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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