Monday, December 29, 2008

Ofada Soup

Basically the latest craze is Ofada rice and stew here in Nigeria. It might seem like its dying down now, but there is just no substitute for it yet. The attraction for the meal does not end in the large grain rice that is known as Ofada, but also extends to the stew. On first glance, the stew seems, full of seeds, and very rich in assorted little pieces of goodies (what my nephew calls 'orishirishi') and oil. It looks harmless and judging by the reddish hue, it seems harmless, but a well-prepared, no-holds-barred ofada stew will heat up your palate in a few seconds!

Here is the recipe we use at home!

Tomatoes, enough to make a small pot of stew
Tomatoe puree, one small tin
Red pepper (what we Yoruba's calll 'rodo')
Maggi, or any seasoning of your choice
Garlic cloves, two small ones
Onions, two medium-sized bulbs
Red oil
Green pepper, (the type you buy for fried rice, what oyinbo calls 'dummbell' [or is it drumbells?])
Garden egg, 3 large bulbs
locust beans, (what we call 'iru')
The 'Extras' - diced beef, shredded stock fish, 'roundabout', ponmo, shaki, etc


Step 1: Chop the onions into tiny bits. Some people prefer to blend it after chopping, so it is not visible for those who do not like to see it in the meal. Do the same to the garlic cloves. Blend the tomatoes to a fine paste. Dice the red and green pepper into tiny pieces, keep the seeds.

Step 2: Boil the garden egg until a bit tender. Skin the bulbs and mash up until soft and pasty. Blend the locust beans to a fine paste. Boil the meat pieces to be used as 'Extras'.

Step 3: Put the pot on the burner. Make sure that you make the stew out in the open or when no one is around that might choke from the heat. Heat up the selected pot until there is a lot of heat emanating from inside. Add the oil (enough to make an 'Ijesha' stew - which means at the end of the cooking, there should still be oil enough to drain on top of the stew), and wait for it to heat up as well. When there is more vapour coming out of the pot, add salt.

Step 4: Add the onion, locust beans and garlic paste. Stir, and add the tomato puree. Stir

Step 5: Add the diced pepper and stir, then add the garden egg paste. The garden egg will absorb most of the oil. Add your seasoning. Stir.

Step 5: Taste the stew. By now it should be full of the customary seeds, and at the same time peppery and delicious.

Step 6: Add the pieces of stock fish, ponmo, diced beef, shaki, 'roundabout' and other stuff you want the eaters to crunch their teeth on. Stir

Serve with rice, on beans, and enjoy!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Jollof Rice, v1.0

Since there are many different versions of Jollof Rice, I named it version 1.0!

Rice - four or five cups (for a serving of 3 adults)
Vegetable Oil - about 4l, which is two tablespoonfuls
Sliced Onions.
Sliced Tomatoes.
Shredded pepper.
Tomato puree, three tablespoon scoops.
A tablespoon scoop of butter/margarine.
Two Knou cubes (you can use any seasoning of your choice).

Step 1: Pour the oil into the selected pot. Add the butter. When the combination is hot, sprinkle a little salt and add some sliced onions.

Step 2: Add the shredded pepper and stir for a few seconds. Add the tomato puree. Stir.

Step 3: Add the seasoning and stir until fried. Add the jug of hot water and stir to ensure that the combination evens out smoothly. Wait a few minutes for the combination to heat up, stirring constantly.

Step 4: Wash the starch out of the rice (simple effective procedure to eliminate the perboiling step. Add salt to the dry unwashed rice, and add three tablespoonfuls of water.Rub the salt into the rice for three minutes. Rinse away the starch.

Step 5: Add the rice to the combination. Cover the pot and wait for the rice to get soft. Always check constantly - remember you used hot water to speed up the cooking time. If the rice isn't soft and all the water is gone (which is preferable to having too much water, as you cannot sieve it out), add little quantity of water.

Step 6: When the rice is almost done, add the sliced tomatoes, and remaining slice onions to steam and cover the pot.

Step 7: After three minutes (or less, depending on how crunchy and fresh you want the tomatoes and onions to be), stir the rice to ensure that no part is lacking in the condiment.

Serve with Chicken or Fish...Enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Right now i am wondering how this happened - how I could forget about rice, a staple food in my country for this long! Rice is a daily item on everyone's menu in Nigeria, and we have so many recipes, and even so many different ways of cooking the same dish, you'll be amazed- i was once told that there are seven different ways of cooking jollof rice! Seven! I know only two!
There are some dishes that are common - jollof rice, fried rice, rice and stew, etc, while there are some that are unique - coconut rice, green rice, etc. There is also our very own native rice - ofada rice, which is the first choice at parties these days.
Let's begin the rice journey!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Nigeria is known for the strong aroma from our cooking, and every child that grew up in the country can actually tell which soup is cooking just from the smell. Its not that there is any strong spice like garlic that has a distinctive smell anyone can name, its more like a scent composition - the combination of several ingredients produces a distinctive smell.
All parts of the country have their special soup. The Calabar people and some Ibos will even tell you that there is a difference between a 'soup' and a 'stew'. And the method of cooking differs with every community that you meet.
I shall keep saying it, we are really rich!
This is a call out to everyone - send your soup recipes NOW! Eery soup that is truly Nigerian will do!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Name: Yamarita

I am currently working on a project with a bank, and like all banks, they love to do things with style. We are given tea and coffee in the morning, then our orders are collected for lunch. It was after the second day that I discovered Yamarita.

Yamarita is a variation of yam that is very simple to prepare, and can be eaten with any sauce. Here is a quick recipe that I was able to procure from a chef:

African Yam - 0.5kg (for a serving of 3 adults)
Palm oil - about 2ml, which is one tablespoonful
Salt to taste
Three medium sized eggs
Chopped onions
Fresh, tomatoes, chopped.
Fresh pepper, chopped.
tomato puree, small quantity.

Step 1: Peel the yam tuber. Cut it up into giant chip sizes (like potato chips for a giant).

Step 2: Rinse the pieces twice and put in a pot. Pour water and boil until tender.

Step 3: When tender, drain in a cullender, and blot away any drops from the pieces.

Step 4: Get a bowl and break the eggs into it, and whip them up untl frothy.

Step 5: Add a bit of salt to the whipped egg, and place in a wider bowl. Now dip each chip of the yam in the egg mixture and roll it until it is covered completely by the egg mixture.

Step 6: Place a frying pan on low heat and add vegetable oil. Fry the yam chips, turning them when the egg is fried solid, and ensuring that it does not burn.

Step 7: Remove the fried yam pieces from the oil.

Step 8: Mix the tomato puree, chopped onions, chopped pepper, chopped tomatoes in a bowl.

Step 9: Use a spoon to gather any wayward bits of fried egg that might remain in the hot oil. Add the tomato mixture to the oil, and stir fry until tender.

Step 10: Add salt to taste. Add powder pepper to taste as well.

Serving: Place the fried yam chips in a platter. Place the tomato sauce in a bowl.