The Pretend Chef

Gbegiri beans soup

Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

I read somewhere that if the Yorubas of Western Nigeria were to have a flag, it will be the colours of Abula. Abula is a combination of Gbegiri, Ewedu and Obe Omi. I also heard that Gbegiri is an unhindered express road to a man’s heart, hmm…men will have to confirm that. It might just answer the age-old question, ‘what do men want?’ Gbegiri.

To be honest, I am not a fan of gbegiri, beans as I have known it is cooked whole (porridge, beans and rice), fried as a fritter (akara) and as a pudding (moi moi). I just could not wrap my head around using beans to eat any type of fufu whatsoever. I believe it is one of those dishes that is an acquired taste, just like ukwa. I didn’t start eating and enjoying ukwa until well into my adult life and now, what will culinary life be without ukwa? I will keep easing myself into gbegiri a little at a time, maybe eventually, I will learn to like it.

Do not use me as a yardstick, gbegiri is quite a phenomenon with a lot of people. In fact, I know some people who will always order gbegiri anytime we are ordering Yoruba food. It is a staple at the bukas and gbegiri incidentally, is not exclusive to Yoruba cuisine, the Hausas of Northern Nigeria also cook a dehulled mash beans soup called Miyan Wake. The difference is not much.

Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

Gbegiri is a high protein dish combining both plant and animal protein, though in can also be made vegan and it will still be that expressway. It is super healthy and is sometimes used in weaning babies at around 6 months of age to solid food. In which case, it will need to be thicker than the soup and be cooked longer in order to eliminate the antinutrients in beans.

The most flavoursome beans for making gbegiri is Oloyin pelebe but it is a bit challenging removing the skin, so you can use ordinary brown beans or even black-eyed peas (regular white beans).

To mash the beans, you can use the local cooking broom (Ijabe), a blender or an electric hand blender. The blender actually does a better job grinding the beans though I don’t know if it affects the taste of the soup. Depending on the strength of your blender, you might not need to sieve the mashed beans.

The use of Iru is optional.

To prepare Gbegiri soup (Yoruba beans soup)

1 cup beans
2 tablespoon ground crayfish
100g onions 
40g scotch bonnet (fresh pepper)
shawa (optional)
1/2 cup palm oil
2 seasoning cubes
cameroun pepper (optional)

Wash and peel the skin of the beans by hand, blender or food processor.

skinned beans for Gbegiri, yoruba beans soup

Place beans in a pot and add enough water to cover it by up to 1-inch.

Boil over high heat until the beans is soft.

keep topping up with water if it is drying out.

beans boiling for Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

Keep boiling until beans is so soft it is starting to disintegrate and get mushy.

beans boiling for Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

While the beans is cooking, grind crayfish, onions and scotch bonnet, set aside.

Pick out the dry flesh of shawa if using and grind into powder, set aside.

Take beans off the heat and if there is not much water remaining in it, add 1/2 cup stock or water into the beans.

Using the ijabe (cooking broom) mash beans until it turns into a puree (really work the beans) or use a blender (see notes below).

Pour beans into a sieve and using a wooden spoon, gently push the beans through leaving behind any chaff present.

Pour the creamy beans back into a pot.

Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

Stir in palm oil, ground pepper, ground shawa, seasoning cubes, salt and Cameroun pepper.

Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

Cook until the beans turn a vibrant yellow and thicken, stirring from time to time, about 10 minutes.

Take off the heat and serve immediately.

Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

Gbegiri can be eaten with Omi obe, Okro, Ewedu, Ogbono etc.



  • Gbegiri thickens as it cools, just add a little water and reheat when needed.
  • Since Gbegiri is a bit time consuming, you can cook it over a period of 2 days. Wash and skin your beans, boil until soft. At this stage, you can leave it on the stove top till the next morning so long as you don’t touch it with your bare hands. If there is any water remaining, do not pour it out. On the second day, add some water boil till very soft and finish it off.
  • If you have a pressure pot, use it to boil the beans.
  • You can also add very little akaun (potash) to the boiling beans to speed up the cooking.
  • Be economical in your use of shawa because it has a very strong flavour.
  • You can also use dry panla or regular dry fish, add to your Gbegiri after sieving the beans.
  • If you add too little oil, you will not get that characteristic vibrant yellow of gbegiri.
  • Leave to cool a little before grinding in your blender, hot liquids will cause air expansion in your blender and cause the cover to blow off spraying everywhere with the hot liquid. If you must, use a folded kitchen towel to hold the cover of the blender down.

You will also enjoy my Plain okro soup, Ewedu soup, Efo riro (vegetable soup) and Omi obe (stew).

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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Gbegiri, Creamy yoruba beans soup

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