Black-Bean Sauce (Sos Pwa Nwa)

Black-Bean Sauce (Sos Pwa Nwa)

This velvety purée of black beans and coconut milk is the perfect accompaniment to Mayi Moulen, a Haitian recipe for garlicky polenta-like porridge. Slices of nutty avocado offer a gentle contrast in texture and another element of richness. It was adapted from the Haitian cooking instructor Cindy Similien-Johnson, who remembers it from her grandmother’s house.


  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 1small onion, chopped
  • 2garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2scallions, chopped
  • 1cup dried black beans, rinsed
  • ½cup coconut milk
  • ½tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½chicken bouillon cube
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and scallions until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the beans and 5 cups of water. Bring the water and beans to a boil over medium-high heat, covered, then boil until the beans are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. (This may take longer depending on your beans.) Add water occasionally to keep the beans submerged, if necessary; keep an eye on them, as you may need to add a fair amount of water, depending on your beans and how tight your pot lid is.
  2. In a blender, purée the beans and any water left in the pot with an additional 1¾ cups water until very smooth. Force the purée through a fine strainer.
  3. Return the bean purée to the pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the coconut milk, butter, parsley, bouillon cube, salt to taste and black pepper. Cook the bean purée, stirring occasionally, until it’s the consistency of a rich gravy. (Adjust with water if necessary.)

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