Easy Adzuki Bean Stew with Smoked Fish


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

In Ghana, bean (or “beans”) stew is commonly prepared with cowpeas, especially black-eyed peas or a small red type. Adzuki beans can be substituted, as in this version. This is a great “everyday” stew: easy to make, freezes well, and tastes even better the next day.


  • ¼ to ⅓ cup palm oil, if available, or substitute peanut or other vegetable oil (if you are new to palm oil, use half palm oil and half another vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped or sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (optional)
  • ½ to 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried ground red pepper, and/or some minced fresh chili pepper (1 seeded jalapeno for mild, 1 green cayenne for hot, or ½ a seeded green or red habanero for very hot)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ½ pound smoked fish with skin and bones removed (mackerel, whiting haddock, whitefish, trout, etc.)
  • 1 cup adzuki beans, washed, soaked, and cooked till tender
  • ½ teaspoon salt or seasoned salt (or to taste)



  1. Heat oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  2. If using fresh garlic, ginger, and/or chili peppers, add them and stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce.
  3. Break the fish into pieces and add to the stew, along with the drained adzuki beans, 1 cup of water, the dried red pepper, if using. (Smoked fish is salty and will take a few minutes to flavor the stew, so add any additional salt after stew simmers 10 minutes.) Stir well and allow to simmer while the flavors blend and the sauce thickens. After 15 minutes, taste and adjust salt and red pepper if necessary.

To serve

This stew is wonderful with Savory Plantain Pancakes (Tatale), and also pairs well with Spicy Fried Plantains (Kelewele), Simple Gari, or boiled rice.


  • Use 1 pound fresh or frozen fish fillets in place of smoked fish.
  • Use smoked ham cubes or ham hocks in place of smoked fish.
  • Use mushrooms in place of fish for a vegetarian version, maybe flavored with a little soy sauce.
  • Add additional vegetables, such as chopped okra, eggplant, or zucchini.
  • Mash a portion of the beans before adding them for a thicker stew.
  • Substitute ½ cup of chopped bell pepper for the fresh chili peppers for less heat.