Also known as ewa-olyin in the language of Nigeria's Yoruba people, which translates to "beans naturally coated with honey," honey beans, native to Nigeria, indeed have a hint of sweetness. They form the base of this popular Yoruba soup. Optional crayfish powder adds a smoky-sweet pleasantly fishy flavor., May 2022


Credit: photographer / Greg DuPree, Food Stylist / Margaret Dickey / Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke

Recipe Summary

30 mins
2 hrs 10 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place honey beans in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 15 minutes. Drain.

  • Transfer the beans to a large bowl and run water continuously into the bowl while agitating the contents with your hand until the skins rise to the top. Skim off the skins and discard. Repeat until all the beans have been skinned.

  • Combine the skinned beans, 10 cups water, bell pepper, onion, habanero and salt in a large pot; bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.

  • Transfer 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid to a bowl; drain the beans. Transfer the bean mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot mixtures.)

  • Heat palm oil in the large pot over medium heat. Add the bean puree and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the reserved bean cooking liquid and crayfish powder, if using. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the soup reaches desired consistency, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve garnished with edible flowers and microgreens, if desired.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 3 days.


If you've cooked or eaten black-eyed peas, Nigerian honey beans will look familiar—they have a similar "eye" on the inward curve but are a darker hue.

Extracted from the oil palm tree, unrefined red palm oil gets its deep hue from healthful antioxidant pigments called carotenoids, which are important for eye health. Its high smoke point makes it a good choice for frying.

Made from dried and ground crayfish, crayfish powder adds flavor to soups and rice dishes.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup
409 calories; protein 18g; carbohydrates 50g; dietary fiber 16g; sugars 9g; fat 15g; saturated fat 7g; poly fat 1g; vitamin a iu 557IU; vitamin b3 niacin 1mg; vitamin c 29mg; vitamin e iu 1IU; folate 491mg; vitamin k 5mg; sodium 174mg; calcium 60mg; iron 6mg; magnesium 126mg; phosphorus 368mg; potassium 687mg; zinc 3mg; niacin equivalents 5mg; selenium 6mcg.