• 250g dried black-eyed beans, soaked overnight then drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, 3 grated, 1 left whole
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml red palm oil (check the label for a sustainable brand)
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 30g piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 large vine tomatoes, blitzed in a food processor to chunks
  • 1 tbsp shrimp powder (smoked and dried prawns that are ground to a powder, optional)
  • 425g can mackerel in tomato sauce
  • 1 shrimp bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4-6 ripe plantains
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 small avocado
  • gari (coarsely ground cassava flour, optional), for sprinkling


  • STEP 1

    Tip the soaked black-eyed beans into a large pot with 2.5 litres water. Peel the whole 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 bicarb and cook for 10-20 mins more until the beans are tender.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, heat 90ml of the red palm oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and fry the onions for 8-10 mins until translucent. Add the ginger, grated garlic and the scotch bonnet, and cook for 3 mins. Tip in the blitzed tomatoes and cook for 20 mins – it’s ready when the oil starts to rise to the surface. Add the shrimp powder, if using.

  • STEP 3

    Tip in the canned mackerel along with its sauce, shrimp boullion 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. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.

  • STEP 4

    Rinse the plantains under cold running water and cut open carefully. Slice into coins about 1cm thick. Heat a 1cm depth of vegetable oil in a large frying pan set over a medium-high heat and fry the plantain in batches for 3-4 mins on each side until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a tray lined with kitchen paper and leave to drain. Season with salt, then keep warm in a low oven.

  • STEP 5

    Halve the avocado, remove the stone, then peel carefully to keep the shape intact. Cut each half in half again so you have four quarters, then slice each piece lengthways, but not all the way through the tip. Gently spread the slices apart to create avocado fans.

  • STEP 6

    Ladle the red red into bowls and top with the avocado and, if using, 1 tsp gari. Together, the avocado and gari should cover half of the bowl. Serve portions of fried plantain in bowls alongside.

Goes well with


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