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Traditional Tastes | Vegetarian Ghanaian Red Red Stew

Traditional Tastes | Vegetarian Ghanaian Red Red Stew

Stews are a popular staple across Ghana and come in many different varieties. One of our favourite Ghanaian stews is named red red, and is one of the most popular dishes in Ghana. It is commonly known in Ghana as "kokoo ne beans". Traditionally, red red is made with fish, cowpeas, red palm oil and tomatoes as the primary ingredients. Though often served with fish, red red can also easily be made vegetarianThe name red red originates from the brilliant red colour given to the beans when they are cooked in the tomato stew. This dish is best served with fried plantains on the side.


There are two traditional Ghana ingredients that are used for preparing red red that may be harder to come by outside of the African continent. These are red palm oil and gari. Red palm oil may be found in international supermarkets or even some health food shops. We recommend looking for a sustainable palm oil brand. If you cannot find red palm oil, you can always use ghee, lard or any other fat that you like. Gari is a type of coarsely ground cassava flour. You may have more difficulty locating gari, but you should be able to find it online. If not, we recommend just omitting this ingredient. Now, let's get cooking! 


  • 250g dried black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml red palm oil 
  • 3 medium onions
  • 30g piece of ginger
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli
  • 4 large tomatoes 
  • 1 sheet of nori 
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • gari (optional)


  • Firstly, place the black-eyed beans into a large pot with 2.5 litres of water.
  • Peel the garlic clove, lightly crush it with the back of a knife and add it to the pot with the rosemary and 2 tbsp salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins, then add the bicarbonate of soda and cook for another 10-20 mins, until the beans are tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat 90ml of the red palm oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onions for 8-10 mins until translucent. Add the ginger, 3 cloves of grated garlic and the scotch bonnet, and cook for 3 mins. Blitz the tomatoes and add to the pot, cook for another 20 mins or until the oil starts to rise to the surface. Add the crumbled nori sheet.
  • Add the bouillon cube and tomato purée. 
  • Drain the beans, then add to the pan. Stir the sauce and beans together and cook over a low heat for 10 mins, then add the remaining palm oil. 
  • Serve the red red in bowls, top with a good sprinkling of gari (if using) and a side of fried plantains. 


We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe! 

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