The all-year-round heat and humidity in Benin are one of the nation’s key features. An ideal country for many plant-based foods that happen to be a major part of the West African Lifestyle. From yams, to cassava, all the way to millet. It would take all day to go over all of Benin’s cultural food examples. Instead, we focus on the main benefits of beans in Benin and associated healthy habits African cultivate.
Table of contents
Different types of beans found in Benin
- Red Beans– Also known as abobo vèvè.
The most common Benin cultural food example made from this Red Beans is Djongoli ( this dish is also known as gnonmli or zankpiti). This is a dish consisting of mashed red beans with palm oil and corn flour. This is a common Benin traditional food. West African lifestyle has simple food ingredients.
Image source: Gnadoe Magazine
- Black-Eyed beans– A typical African meal made from these Black-eyed beans is Ewa Agoyin. Despite it being common in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, it originates from Cotonou, Benin. Specifically, the Agoyin people of Benin. African Locals prepare it with mashed Black-Eyed beans, palm oil, chili peppers, and onions. Most people consider this spicy meal as an economic unifier. This is because Beninese of all classes cherish it.
Image credit: Organic Facts
Pureed Black-Eyed peas is another Benin dish. Here, you’ll peel/ mill, and mash the beans. The result is a creamy, rich, and flavorful mash that looks a lot like mashed potatoes. You will also need pepper, salt, and butter to amp up the flavor of this African dish.
Image credit Ester kotch
- Voandzou/Aziglokouin Beans– The voandzou is also known as the Bambara groundnut. As the name suggests, its pods ripen underground. Some say these African beans are hard to cook. People in Benin eat Bambara groundnut by adding a softener to it, called Kuan Aku, potash. Another benefits of beans lends to how strong it is, and it can transform into different types of meals.
Image source: Feedipedia
Image credit: KorrGreen
More Examples of Benin Beans:
- abobo wéwé
- Angolan pea (kwlékoun)
- Algiers string bean (kpodjiguèguè)
- Lima bean (akpakoun)
- Soja soybean.
Of the list provided above, see supporting images below. To note, Beans have different names depending on which tribe in Benin is naming them. One of Humble Vege’s goal is to show ways Africans talk about the same thing but call it different names. Regardless of which food lifestyle one subscribes to, it is important to understand the similar ingredients we eat. Benefits of beans is clearly important to most African and it can be found in many tribes native dish.
Source: Laura Yêyinou Estelle Loko
Most West African lifestyles already include many plant-based options and it is wise to note that majority of Africans are “closet” vegetarians. And, it is easy to incorporate healthy habits or start new ones using the wealth of plant based-protein options that are available from the list of African beans. The options are endless.
With these healthy African meals, no need to break the bank on expensive ingredients. This is the beauty of cooking with African beans in Benin.
Why beans are prevalent in West African lifestyle
From a factsheet on Benin, we see that food security is quite a prickly issue for Africans. People, especially in rural areas, have to pay extra attention to make sure their African meals are balanced. Even though, necessary resources may not be readily available. By beans farming, the people of Benin make due. This is because beans are an affordable source of vitamins, fiber, protein, and iron.
- Fiber plays a role in giving you that feeling of fullness and satisfaction after a meal. This is great if you’re dieting, or working for many hours. West African food recipes are rich in fiber generally.
- Vitamins: beans contain folate and antioxidants. Research show folate assists in essential B vitamin that our body uses to create new proteins and cells, and break down old ones to keep us healthy, which is why it is recommended by doctors for mothers. Antioxidants protect cells from molecules that play a role in diseases like heart disease. Popular African recipes consists of legumes and other vegetables as part of traditional African cuisines.
- Protein: the amino acids (which make up protein) found in beans are useful in healing and making new tissues in the body. This is what makes protein essential for bodybuilders. Aunty might look thick but she can run! West African food recipes are pack with legumes and people generally notice that Africans on the continent are fat-fit.
The above mentioned list are only a few of the health benefits of beans. We have seen that beans in one’s diet play a major role in sustaining the healthy habits African cultivate. To name some of those habits: Africans on the continent walk daily, Africans cook homemade meals daily, and partake in household cleaning weekly, all are advantages of traditional lifestyle.
To bean or not to bean
As our journey comes to an end, we hope you have chosen to bean. The benefits of beans are truly amazing, and a great contribution to the plant-based lifestyle. For more cultural food examples, subscribe to our free newsletter. Name below your favorite beans dish.