Ever wanted to try good bitter foods from the African continent? Well, how about starting with, arguably, an original beans stew recipe from West Africa. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about Liberian country beans Torborgee. You gotta come hungry and ready to feast on a plateful of yummy torborgee stew spiced up with potash. What is potash fertilizer, you may be wondering. No wahala, I will enrich your understanding of kuan-akanwu, African country soda, which is used purposefully in traditional Liberian food. Are you interested to peek into ‘the road less travelled’ via African foods? Sign-up to be notified monthly about traditional recipes & African Lifestyle content.
Torborgee Beans Stew – A Liberian Specialty
Favoritism aside, Liberian cuisine rightly wrestles for the crown of Africa’s best foods. This West African proud nation boasts of many delish dishes. For instance, this yummy Liberian country beans torborgee, deliciously fatty Liberian palm butter soup, and yummy Liberian fry rice. Torborgee often proves quite a mouthful for people, most Liberians just refer to it as “torborsoay”! Torborgee stew the Liberian style is a thick, spicy, slightly bitter and palm-oily soup of African lentils or bush beans. Alternatively, this traditional Liberian food recipe can often utilize African pea eggplants (also great for making this fried okra with kittely). The Lorma people of Lofa County in Liberia are best known for their good bitter foods, a case in point Liberian country beans.
Besides Liberian country beans, there are various versions of torborgee stew that utilize cassava, fever-leaf, bitter-balls, pepper, or water-greens. The pepper torborgee is also popular due to Liberians’ obsession with chili as in this Liberian Dry Rice Pepper Sauce Gravy. As a traditional staple food in most Liberian homes, Torborgee stew comes together well with the use of Kuan-akanwu. By default, rice makes a great accompaniment for various good bitter foods, Liberian country beans being no exception.
Modernity Doesn’t Know About Country Beans
Of course there is a scientific name for this type of beans but I don’t know it yet. There are many species of beans in Africa and one need to experience multiple life times to unearth and name all of them. However, a couple notable mentions would include Lima beans and Pinto beans. Other Africans reading this, do you have beans that resemble this? If so, what do you call it? I ask because we call this beans Liberian country beans because it grows in Liberian interior village regions, maybe in Lofa county or the interiors of Nimba County, I’m not sure. For now, we know it is called Liberian country beans and it is one of the rare expensive legumes in Liberia. The high cost is due to its seasonal availability and also the fact the farmers only source it from the bush (aka forest).
What is Potash Fertilizer or Country Soda?
From the days of our grandmothers, traditional African cooking has utilized naturally occurring minerals in cooking. One such key ingredient is potash, otherwise called akanwu, kaun, or kanwa in West Africa. Liberian country beans come together as delish torborgee stew because of “Potash”. What is potash fertilizer , you may ask? Potash is a term referring to the compounds that make up the element potassium itself. These include potassium chloride, potassium nitrate, mixed sodium potassium nitrate, and potassium-magnesium sulfate. Interestingly, potash originates from its early references as “pot-ashes”. The term was used to refer to potassium salts realized after burning wood in pots.
Indeed, this country soda is a key ingredient in torborgee stew. In Liberian bean stew recipes, potash serves a quick tenderizer of beans, legumes and even meat. It is therefore no surprise to find potash on the list of ingredients when a Liberian is cooking a hefty okra soup. Furthermore, Liberians love adding country soda in their torborgee stew in order to increase the viscosity of the soup itself. Pro tip, you can utilize Kuan-akanwu to make yourself a rich tasty vegetarian Ogbono soup. You wouldn’t be hanged on a cross if you referred to potash as baking soda but with a stronger flavor. Also, West Africans use Kuan-akanwu in cooking vegetables because it increases its texture and greenness.
Country Beans – Another Good Bitter Food
Liberian country beans torborgee is one of the best native food that you will want to try. It smell so good! Torborgee has a distinct smell thanks to the palm oil and African country soda (Kaun-Akanwu, aka potash). Beans torborgee has an alluring smell that easily makes people mouth water. It is one of the best bitter foods that is good for you similar to red oil kittely stew.
Potash Benefits and Drawbacks
As I have already noted, torborgee stew is one of the good bitter foods unique to Liberia. Spoiler alert – tighten your belt as a non-Liberian trying Liberian country beans for the first time. You may have to give your stomach some time to adjust to this otherwise spicy traditional Liberian food. Since you know what is potash fertilizer, would you want to try it?
Edible Kuan-Akanwu or potash has notable health benefits. Arguably, we can say that potash is present in almost every plate of food that comes to your table. This is due to the fact that potash itself is a primary element in fertilizers we use to grow our food plants. According to health experts, consuming potash helps in increasing our cellular metabolism, muscle and body tissue growth. In addition, this African country soda is believed to help with asthma, sore throat, arthritis. However, pregnant women are often advised against consuming good bitter foods cooked with potash. Apparently, African country soda may cause premature delivery or abortion because it can induce uterine contractions.
Country Beans Overall Health Benefits
Liberian country beans responsible for one of West Africa’s good bitter foods belong to the lima beans family. This bean family is a reliable source of vitamin C,A,K, iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium. In addition, it is a mainstay traditional Liberian food recipe because they contain sufficient beneficial complex carbohydrates. As such, a serving of Liberian country beans in your torborgee stew provides you with that much needed quick energy. Generally, Liberian country beans are perfect for making torborgee stew because they are nutritious, affordable, and easy to prepare. I love it because preparing this dish is easy and fun just like the simple one-pot Liberian Pinto bean stew.
Health experts attribute many health benefits to the Lima beans family. Ideally, it helps your weight management efforts to substitute high energy foods with low-carbs legumes. This traditional Liberian food recipe thus can help in preventing and managing weight-related conditions, for example, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Congrats, you now know what is potash fertilizer. Liberian country beans torborgee enjoys stature in the ranks of good bitter foods of West Africa. With expert tenderizing of potash or kaun-akanwu, this dish packs a truly flavorful, spicy plate. Try following our traditional Liberian food recipe for this torborgee stew and experience the magic of Africa’s native foods. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Peep instagram to see what I eat live😊.
- 24 oz Beans
- 11 Oz seitan
- half cup palm oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth (may need 1 cup water if too thick)
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4tsp Country soda OR pinch of baking soda
- Start by filling a deep pot fully with water. Add 2 cups of African country beans
Boil the beans to tenderness for 5 hours; add more water after 3 hours. Soak overnight to reduce the cooking time. When the beans is soft, remove the soften beans and proceed to mash it.
- In a separate pot, add 2 cups of vege broth and boil it at medium heat
- Mash the cooked beans in a bowl. You can mash all of it or choose to mash half of it and leave the other half whole.
- Add the mashed beans into the boiling vege broth. Next, add chopped onions.
- Add 1 cup of water, stir to combine fully. Add 11oz Seitan and habanero pepper (optional). Boil the contents for 20 minutes.
- The consistency of the stew will start to thicken after 10minutes so you may proceed to add half cup of palm oil. Stir to combine fully. reduce the heat to low-simmer.
- Let the soup simmer for 3 minutes, stir from the bottom to ensure it doesn't burn.
- Add ¼ tsp baking soda or country soda and stir. Note if you use baking soda, the soup will foam. To use the country soda, take a piece (very little amount) and soak it into warm water. The warm water will dissolve the country soda. Proceed to add the country soda water to the stew. It smells delightful at this stage.
- Next, Add ½ teaspoon of salt or as you like. Allow the spices to marinate and remove from the heat.
- Let the stew rest for 10 mins. After that, you can eat it with bread, rice or gari or bread. Enjoy!
You can make beans torborgee with any type of beans including black eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, or cranberry beans. Your choice!