RECIPE: Spicy Dinawa Ball Soup – Healthy And Cost-Effective!


Some call them Cowpeas, others call them Black Eyed Bean, Black Eyed Peas, Dinawa et….It’s confusing, I know.   In South Africa, we call them Cowpeas or Dinawa and I think I’ll just stick to that, just to lessen the confusion.

One thing I love about traditional dishes is that one can maintain a balanced diet without paying an arm and a leg.  The ingredients are healthy and yet inexpensive.   For an example, one can buy cheap sources of protein such as Cowpeas, Jugo Beans, Mopane Worms, Kapenta, Pilchards, Fresh / Sour Milk etc.   Sources of vegetables are also not expensive e.g.  Morogo (Amaranthus), Rape, Covo, Tsunga,  Carrots, Tomatoes, Madumbe (Taro), Ginger, Garlic etc.  One can consume healthy meals at a cheaper price.

Today, I would like to focus on Cowpeas.  They are sold on the streets and you do find them at some retail stores.  Cowpeas are overlooked, however, they are a good source of protein are prepared in various ways through the continent.  Last week, I prepared a Mozambican and Nigerian recipe using cowpeas.

Today, I prepared this delicious soup.  It is not only delicious but filling as well.  However, if you are not into spicy food, leave out the chillies.   Hope you get to try it out.  Let me know how it goes!  Enjoy!


Spicy Dinawa Ball Soup

Serves: 4 – 6


250ml (1cup) cowpeas

1 red onion, finely chopped

¼ red pepper, finely chopped

1 egg

75ml flour

2.5ml (½tsp) dried mixed herbs

1 chicken stock cube, crumbled

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

30ml (2Tbsp) canola / olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red chilli, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into fingers

2 baby marrows, sliced

45 – 60ml (3 -4Tbsp) brown onion soup powder


2 – 3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped

15ml (1Tbsp) tomato paste



  1. Sort beans and soak them overnight in cold water.
  2. Rub them in between the palms of your hands to remove the skin.
  3. Cook the beans in fresh water for about 30 minutes or until they are soft.
  4. Once they are cooked, roughly mash the beans with a mortar.
  5. In a bowl, mix mashed beans, onion, red pepper egg and flour.
  6. Rub the crumbled stock cube into the mixture.  Season with pepper.
  7. Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop out balls and form balls with your palms. Take care to wet your palms before forming the balls.  It prevents the mixture from sticking.
  8. Place the balls on a tray and refrigerate for an hour.
  9. While the balls are in the fridge, prepare ingredients for the soup.
  10. Heat oil in a pan.  Add onions and cook until soft.  Add garlic, chillies, carrots, baby marrows and stir frequently for about a minute.
  11. Add curry powder and stir frequently for an additional minute.
  12. Make a paste with cold water and soup powder.  Add to the pan.  Add boiling water to make a soup.
  13. Add tomato paste and thyme.
  14. The soup must have a runny consistency.  Add the Dinawa balls into the soup and cook for about 10 minutes or until the balls are cooked through.
  15. The carrots and baby marrows should not lose their texture.
  16. Serve.

Thuli’s Tip:

Try this Chunky Vegetable Soup – it’s easy, nutritious and delicious!

Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Flee

    OOOOhhh these look so yummm and perfect for this bbbbrrrr weather… Will be finding me some Dinawa… Thanks Thuli

    • Hi Flee,

      Thanks for your comment. You are welcome! Hope you find the Cowpeas. Please let me know how it turns out! Enjoy!


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