Yes, you read it correctly. No, I am not referring to the song Red Red Wine by UB40. Although a glass of red wine will be lovely with this meal. Red Red was given the name because of it’s red color from the tomato sauce and palm oil. This is a dish that never disappoints. It is rich, savory and comforting bite after delicious bite. It is so yummy that you will want to sop up the remaining bits with your fingers. However, I urge you to exercise some control…LOL
I so enjoyed eating this as a child and I enjoy it more now that I am able to make it myself. It is wonderful to know that I can have Red Red on demand whenever the craving beckons. If you are interested in delighting yourself with this famous Ghanaian dish simply click here for the recipe.
1 16oz package of dry black eye peas (soak 24 hours in advance)
1 Large onion (sliced)
2 Roma tomatoes (sliced)
3 garlic cloves minced
1 veggie bouillon cube (unsalted)
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
*1 Tablespoon of liquid smoke
*1 Tablespoon of kelp flakes
1 teaspoon of West African red pepper (omit if you don’t like food too spicy)
1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (Remove the seeds and cut in half)
1 inch piece of ginger (minced)
2 Teaspoons of sea salt (add more for desired taste)
1 Tablespoon of tomato paste
1/3 cup of West African red palm oil
2 Ripe plantains (yellow and black in color)
Canola/vegetable oil for frying the plantains.
To make the stew:
After the beans finished soaking overnight, rinse them off and pick out any loose skins floating in the water. Rinse again and put them in a pressure cooker for one hour. You can cook the beans on the stove top if you don’t have a pressure cooker but it will take longer to cook.
While the beans are cooking you can begin preparing the base for the Red Red by slicing the ingredients and getting them ready to saute when the beans are almost done.
In a large pot add the palm oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet halves. Allow them to saute on a medium heat/flame for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When the peas are finished cooking, drain off the water but leave about a cup water from the cooked black eye peas in the pot. This will add to the flavor of the dish.
Transfer the cooked black eye peas into the pot with the sauteed onions and etc. Add the veggie bouillon cube, kelp flakes, liquid smoke, sea salt, tomato paste, and tomato sauce to the pot. Also add 8 ounces of water to the pot and allow everything to cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes. The added water will end up reducing giving the stew the desired consistency.
Note: The liquid smoke and kelp flakes help to add the flavor of smoked fish that is traditionally used in making Red Red.
For the fried plantain:
Make sure that the plantain is ripe. Sweet plantain is yellow in color but for added ripeness make sure that it is a little black in color. Kind of like a ripe banana.
Prepare your oil in the deep fryer if you have one. If not start warming your oil in a frying pan. You want to fill the pan half way with enough oil to cover the plantain. You will know it is ready when you hear the oil crackle a bit.
Remove the skin from the plantain and cut it on a diagonal angle. Drop the plantain slices in the bubbling oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. You should be able to pierce them easily with a fork. When they are finished frying put them on a plate covered with a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
Finally, you can add the Red Red and fried plantain to a plate. If you have it, garnish the red red with Gari. Then enjoy!