The bambara beans and spinach stew
The bambara beans and spinach stew

For as long as I can remember, we have eaten boiled Bambara beans (Aboboi in Ga) sweetened with cubes of sugar and deep-fried mashed Plantain balls also popularly called “Kaaklo” or Plantain fritters. We also had it as a Sunday afternoon lunch right after church.

I looked forward to it a lot! I would pick two cubes of sugar from the sugar container, and melt them down with a teaspoon of the thickened cooked Aboboi puree and stir it through until I could savour the spicy and sweet taste of my meal.

A bit of background on Bambara beans: Bambara beans is one of the popular legumes we have in Ghana. It resembles the mediterranean Chickpea in colour and roundness of shape. It has a hard outer texture which once boiled becomes soft to the touch to reveal a softer ‘meatier’ interior.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I could cook Bambara beans in the very same way as preparing homemade Red Red! Wow! Why I never tried this just beats my culinary imagination. I have my baby’s Nanny to thank for sharing her recipe with me which I slightly modified with a few spices of my own and the addition of fresh spinach. Make this recipe at home and enjoy healthful goodness. It’s delicious, healthy, fresh and so flavorful and you will love my recipe.

Difficulty: Easy

Preparation: 45mins

Cook Time: 23mins


2 cups of cooked Bambara beans

5 medium-sized Tomatoes, chopped

1 Large Red Onion, chopped

4 Fresh Cayenne Pepper *Blended*

1 Whole Smoked Mackerel

Salted beef

1 Cup of Spinach

Ground Cumin

Ground Coriander



1. Puree chopped tomatoes until smooth.

2. Chop red onions into cubes.

3. Wash mackerel and debone by opening it up and detaching the head, bones from the abdomen, gills and spine area.

4. Slice spinach into ribbons.

5. Place a large saucepan on fire, with about ½ cup of vegetable oil poured in over medium-heat.

6. Pour onions into the oil and cook down till opaque and sweetish.

7. Pour in cayenne pepper to cook together with onions for slow release of the pepper flavor.

8. Fry salted beef in the onion mix for that ‘tooloo beefi’ flavor for 3 minutes

9. Pour in pureed tomato and a cup of water to cook tomatoes. Add in a tablespoonful each of ground cumin and coriander. Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes.

10. Next, pour the Bambara beans into the tomato stew followed by the spinach and mackerel. Add salt to taste. Gently stir through.

11. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve hot with steamed Ghana rice.

Amazing stuff! I loved it so much that I have eaten the same stew in the past two days and it’s still delicious! Bambara beans is highly nutritious and deserves to be on our menus everywhere.

If you are vegan or vegetarian you can opt out of the mackerel and the beef. The spinach was a definite plus. My Mom came to visit and tried it with…Banku! I couldn’t get that but she loved it all the same.

Bambara beans have these amazing health benefits; 1. It’s super rich in Iron and hence excellent for increasing blood levels.

2. It has all the nutrients for healthy child growth development thus perfect for managing malnutrition.

3. It contains antioxidants which help reduce risk of cancer.

4. The calcium in Bambara beans helps prevent arthritis and osteoporosis.

Bambara beans carries major culinary potential which is currently unexplored. There’s so much we can do with this ground nut call Bambara beans.

Do you cook your Bambara beans like this? What do you call Bambara beans in your local language? Do share in the comments below and let’s share our food culture.