What was it about Sunday afternoon lunch and Bambara beans with Tatale? For the longest time I could not piece the two things together. I should have asked my mom back then when she would prepare it for the family after church. It was always a beans related Sunday now that I think about it. Either we had homemade beans and tatale/fried ripe plantain or bambara beans and tatale or sometimes kaakro.
My interaction with bambara beans was definitely homemade by my mother. As I grew older, I then realised it was also a street food carried around by women vendors who are mostly found in the local markets like Makola or Salaga market. I would always call out when I did spot the vendor, "Aboboi ts3! " Bambara beans in Ga is Aboboi. There is an obvious taste difference between the two; homemade and street-sold bambara beans. This difference is in the method used in the food preparation. My mother always used a gas cooker whilst the street food vendor used a traditional coal pot or a laat3 ( three mounds of clay used to create a fire pit) .
A bit of scientific nutrients background i dug up on bambara beans before i get to the recipe; Bambara beans is the third most important legume packing 49%-63.5% carbohydrate, 15%-25% protein, 4.5%-7.4% fat, 5.2%-6.4% fiber, 3.2%-4.4% ash and 2% mineral compared to whole fresh cow milk 88% moisture, 4.8% carbohydrate, 3.2% proteins, 3.4% fat, 0.7% ash, and 0.01% cholesterol. Its chemical composition is comparable to that of soy bean. Now that’s pretty incredible! It’s not a bean to be neglected at all and finding new ways to prepare it will definitely make it popular meal on our dinner tables.
The preparation of Bambara Beans & Tatale is super easy requiring very little cooking skills. It’s a fantastic meal for vegans as it’s totally meatless.
Bambara beans has a tough outer skin and soaking it overnight will reduce your blood pressure and cooking time. So before anything else, wash it thoroughly, soak it overnight with enough water to cover the beans surface. Tatale requires over-ripe plantain to get the right texture & taste.
As promised, this is super easy so let’s get to it!
2 cups of overnight soaked Bambara Beans
1 cup of wheat flour or any flour of your choosing
1 medium-sized Egg
3 fingers of medium-sized over-ripe plantain
1 Ginger root
1 Tablespoon Ground Dried Paprika
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Medium-sized Onion chopped
3 pieces of Grains of Selim or Soh
- Pour out Bambara beans into a saucepan of boiling water ( 3 cups), add in salt, half-spoon of the paprika and grains of selim and allow to cook. Cooking it will take about 25-30mins.
- Check on this every ten minutes by stirring and gradually mashing up some of the beans to create a thick sauce.
- Put together plantain, remaining paprika, ginger, egg, a pinch of salt and chopped onions into a bowl.
2. Mash or pound these up in a traditional mortar if you have one or blend together in a food processor.
3. Pour in the flour and mix well but not for long.
4. Place a medium-sized frying pan over medium-heat fire, spoon in 2 spoonfuls of palm-oil. Palm-oil heats up fast.
5. Before frying the tatale, conduct a test first to check for proper binding to ensure your tatale remains intact for easy flipping. If it falls apart when you try lifting it, add in a spoonful of flour for extra binding.
Now you are set.
A ladle size spoonful is enough for each tatale. Be gentle as you lightly spread the mix , you can create a round shape or any fancy shape you want. But round is always easier.
Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar onto the bambara beans after dishing onto the plate. Enjoy with vim!
I was surprised to learn that some eat Bambara beans without adding in sugar. Wow! For as long as I can remember we sprinkle sugar on the beans for a spicy sweet taste. Usually two cubes of sugar or one spoon of sugar is sufficient depending on the quantity of beans being served.
Tatale and Kaakro are traditional accompaniments in Ghanaian cuisine. It's using overripe plantains which are too soft to prepare kelewele to make plantain pancakes/fritters out of them. That is a great food waste reduction technique if you ask me 😉. If you have any leftovers of the Tatale, you can store it in the refrigerator as a snack for later. Tatale can also be an accompaniment on Jollof, plain rice and even waakye. Isn’'t life fun! Variety is always the spice of life.
How do enjoy Bambara beans? With or without sugar? And how do you call it in your local language if you are familiar with it? Do share in the comments below.
This is a SeeMyChow contribution by the blog Editor & Life & Style blogger Naa Oyoo Kumodzi who writes at naaoyooquartey.com . She is a born foodie, lifestyle blogger, food stylist & photographer and social media strategist for businesses.