Rice and Beans: A Nutritious Staple Food

Rice and beans is a staple food in many cultures around the world, Nigeria is topping the list. This food duo is known by the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria as iresi ati ewa.

This staple food provides several important nutrients, and is widely available. The Igbo specialty known as “ricee na beanz” is often accompanied by a side of fried plantain, some lightly heated vegetables and/or smoked fish.

In many areas, rice and beans are often served side by side rather than mixed. Either ways, they may be considered a meal, frequently with a topping of meat or chicken. Meat or other ingredients are sometimes placed atop rice and beans or (less often) mixed into it.

Nutritional Significance

This dish is very nutritious. Rice is rich in starch, an excellent source of energy. Rice also has iron, vitamin B and protein. Beans also contain a good amount of iron and an even greater amount of protein than rice. Together they make up a complete protein, which provides each of the amino acids the body cannot make for itself.

In addition, rice and beans are common and affordable ingredients, often available in difficult economic times. Read more about beans via our blog here.


Rice – 2 cups | 500g
Beans – 1 cup | 250g
Tomato Stew – 500 mls
Chicken or Fish – Amount as required
Pepper and salt – to taste
Onions – 2 medium sized bulbs
Seasoning – 2 Maggi/Knorr cubes & Thyme (1 teaspoon)

Before you cook rice and beans

  • Wash and soak the beans for about 5 hours. Discard the water and rinse the beans
  • Put the beans in a pot, pour some water and set to boil
  • Once the beans starts boiling, turn off the heat, throw away the water and wash again. These steps will help minimize the indigestion associated with beans for most people.
  • Prepare the tomato stew.
  • Parboil the rice.
  • Meanwhile, cook the chicken till tender with the chopped onions, thyme and stock cubes. If you will rather use fish, boil the fish for 5 minutes using the same amount of seasoning. Fry or grill the chicken or the fish and set aside.

Cooking Directions

  • Cook the beans till tender and set aside.
  • Pour the chicken/fish stock into a pot big enough to accommodate the rice and beans, bearing in mind that the rice will rise some more.
  • Add the tomato stew, the parboiled rice and the cooked beans. Check that the water level is just less than the level of the rice and beans.
  • Add pepper and salt to taste.
  • Stir, cover the pot and cook at low to medium heat till the water is dry.
  • Serve with the fried chicken or fish and fried plantain.

There are tips to enable you enjoy beans on the menu. Check them now.

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