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!