Ibihaza is a bean and pumpkin stew common in Rwanda. It was originally made by soaking dried beans overnight and then stewing them with pumpkin. In recent years, cooked bean stores have emerged to fill the need for precooked beans to save time and the fuel needed for cooking them in the home. These beans are sold precooked and unseasoned.
Beans are such an important part of the Rwandan diet that they have the highest rate of bean consumption per capita in the world. Iron beans, special biofortified bean crops, were introduced there in 2010 to combat the high rates of anemia. You can read more about it at harvestplus.org/rwandasuccess.
The recipe that follows uses precooked beans, making it quick and easy for a weeknight meal.
3 T olive oil
1 c purple onion, quartered and sliced
5 c pie pumpkin, large dice
3 lb. cooked beans
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp tarragon
cracked black pepper
Wash and quarter 1 – 2 small pie pumpkins. Scrape the seeds and stringy portion of the pulp from the inside, leaving the firm pulp and skin intact, then dice.
Sauté the onion and pumpkin pieces in the olive oil until the onions and pumpkin skin are caramelized. Set aside.
In another pan heat the beans, coriander and tarragon with 3 – 4 cups of water and simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin and onions and simmer about 15 minutes until pumpkin is fully cooked but still firm. Add salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Serve warm.
Recipe and photo credit: Georgia Reader