Red-Red, Western Africa

Red-Red, a popular dish in Ghana made from cowpeas (black-eyed peas), might be named for the combination of red pepper and red palm oil. The Red-Red cowpeas stew is usually served with Fried Plantains.

2-3 cups dried cowpeas (black eyed peas) or similar
1 cup red palm oil (or vegetable oil)
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
2-3 ripe tomatoes, quartered
Cayenne pepper or red pepper
Salt and black pepper
Several ripe or near-ripe plantains
1-2 bouillon cubes
(Optional) Small piece of smoked or dried fish
(Optional) One spoonful of shrimp powder

Step #1
Clean the black-eyed peas in water in a large pot. Soak them in water for at least an hour or overnight. After soaking them, rub them together between your hands to remove the skins. Rinse to wash away the skins and any other debris. Drain them in a colander. If using smoked or dried fish: remove the bones and skin, rinse and soak in water, then dry. If using dried shrimp: grind the shrimp (or obtain already ground or powdered shrimp).

Step #2
Place the black-eyed peas in a large pot, fill with water just to cover the peas. Bring to a slow boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender; thirty minutes to an hour. When cooked, the peas should be moist, but not standing in water.

Step #3
While peas are cooking: Heat oil in a skillet. Fry the onions until slightly browned, then add tomatoes, and fish and dried shrimp (if desired). Mash and stir the mixture to form a sauce.

Step #4
Stir the onion-tomato mixture into the black-eyed peas. Add bouillon cubes (if not using fish or shrimp). Simmer for ten minutes. Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne or red pepper to taste.

Step #5
While peas and sauce is simmering: Prepare fried plantains.

Step #6
Serve peas and plantains side by side on a plate.


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