- ¼ cup red palm oil
- ½ onion, small diced
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 oz tomato paste
- black pepper, to taste
- cayenne, to taste (optional)
- 3 cans
black eyedpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil
- 2 super ripe plantains (a lot of black spots on the peel)
- Heat palm oil in a large skillet.
- Add onion and salt, saute until golden brown. Add ginger and garlic, saute for another minute until fragrant.
- Add tomato paste, black pepper, and cayenne, stirring until all evenly mixed together in a sauce.
- Add black eyed peas and stir until evenly coated. Heat all the way through.
- While beans are heating, preheat small frying pan over medium, add coconut oil and heat until a drop of water evaporates upon contact. Be careful not to let the oil smoke.
- Add a few plantain pieces, being careful not to crowd the pan (crowding will decrease the oil temp and you'll have a mushy product). Fry for about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden in color. With a slotted spoon, move pieces to a paper towel to drain.
- Serve plantains with black eyed peas.
Red Red is a dish classic to Ghana, West Africa. In the summer I spent there, this was one of my favorite meals to share with my Ghanaian friends and something I brought home to eat regularly with my friends here as well (one day I will figure out how to make fufu in the U.S.!).
My trip to Ghana was my first realization of the importance of food in my life. I was already studying and working in nutrition but to really dive into the culinary aspect, it was a true turning point in my career. Food was my medium for friendship, love, appreciation of another culture, and an insatiable need to travel and explore. Friendships, which still hold true today, is the reason I want to feature this dish that holds so much nostalgia for me.
AND for those of you who just want me to get to the nutrition stuff already…here ya go!
Red palm oil is not to be confused with palm kernel oil, the mass commercialized oil most commonly associated with the oil palm plant. Red palm oil is the unprocessed, extra virgin oil derived from the nutrient-dense fruit part of the plant, giving it it’s deep red color high in beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor.
Interestingly enough, red palm oil contains more beta-carotene than carrots or tomatoes, the most famous beta-carotene containing foods! Palm kernel oil, on the other hand, is derived from the seed of the plant and loses a lot of the nutrient benefits. Red Palm oil is also high in Vitamin E and antioxidants, which protects against plaque build-up and prevents heart attack and stroke.
Super ripe plantains are the ones that are covered in black spots and if they were normal bananas, they’d be considered rotten. Plantains go from starchy to sweet as they age and in this case, the plantain sweetness is really pleasant with the spicy cayenne from the beans.
For more info on the argument for and against eating legumes, their nutrient (and anti-nutrient!) properties, and how to cook dried legumes, see my blog post on Spilling the Beans on Legumes…