Sos pwa translates to “bean sauce” or “bean gravy” and has been a Haitian staple for as long as people have lived there. Made with red or black (or any color) beans, sos pwa is typically served over rice or cornmeal porridge.
Sos pwa is so common, yet each family may have its own tweaks that make their recipe stand out and no one else’s will ever be quite as good as the sos pwa that grann made.
This recipe has been a favorite of mine for quite some time but has been on my mind recently along with the people of Haiti.
Haiti is a country of natural beauty. Its people are beautiful, too, and big-hearted. But even big hearts can break.
So many of the Haitian diaspora have made Miami home. They are our neighbors, family, friends. Please help if you can.
How can you help Haiti after the earthquake? Many Miami groups are accepting donations.
- Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami
- United Way of Miami-Dade Operation Helping Hands
- Family Action Network Movement (FANM) – Call 305-756-8050
- Hope for Haiti
This recipe for sos pwa, a comforting, velvety bean gravy, captures the spirit of Haiti — simple ingredients magically made elegant.
For another taste of Haiti, make a batch of pikliz.
Sos Pwa (Haitian Red Bean Gravy)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 scallions chopped, plus additional for garnish, if desired
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves plus additional for garnish, if desired
- 15 ounce can red beans rinsed and drained or 2 cups cooked red beans
- 2/3 cup reserved bean cooking liquid or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup coconut milk preferably full fat
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and scallions and sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables become tender, burnished and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add the thyme and the beans, and bean cooking liquid or vegetable broth.
- Purée the beans until they’re very smooth, using an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender), for 3 to 5 minutes. For extra smoothness, strain the mixture through a sieve.
- Return the beans to the saucepan. Swirl in the coconut milk. Heat through and reduce over medium heat about about 10 minutes, until the flavors meld and the bean sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Finish with a scattering of extra thyme leaves and snipped scallions if you like.