Egusi Soup

Yesterday i got my favorite type of fufu, from Oja Odan in Ogun state. So i ditched the traditional Sunday Pounded yam or Fried rice and we had fufu instead, and egusi of cause to go with it.

Recipe

  • 2 cups Egusi (Melon Seeds)
  • Assorted Meats (Cowleg, Goat meat, ponmo, offals)
  • Assorted Fish (Stock fish, Smoked fish)
  • Smoked Fish
  • Ground crayfish
  • 2 cups Thinly sliced Ugu leaves
  • Peppers (4 Scotch Bonnet + 5 Jalapeño/Bawa/Sombo/ long tatashe)
  • 1 Onion
  • Meat Stock (from cooking the meats)
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp Iru (locust beans)
  • 2 cooking spoons Palm oil

Procedure

This is one of the methods i use in preparing egusi.

  • Cook your meats, season with bouillon cubes, salt, ( i like to cook with smoked catfish head for a richer flavour). Cook till tender and well done.
  • While cooking your meats, Rinse your Ugu leaves to get rid of dirt, then slice thinly.Blend your melon seeds with pepper, onion and water. Blend to a smooth consistency.
  • Heat up your palm oil till it reaches smoking point, pour in your blended melon and fry for about 10 mins, don’t let it burn.
  • Now add the rich stock from your meats and allow to cook till the fried melon paste and the stock are well incorporated.
  • Next add crayfish powder,Iru. Taste for seasoning, may not have need to re-season your soup, if your stock is rich in flavour.
  • Cook with lid off to allow the water to reduce faster in the soup.
  • Once the water content has reduced to at least a quarter of what it initially was, add your assorted meats stock fish and other condiments like those listed in the recipe.
  • Cook till the water has reduced completely and the soup won’t run off the back of the soup in a watery manner.
  • Now add your Vegetable, and stir in gently with a ladle. Reduce the heat to the minimum and turn it off after cooking with the vegetables for 3 minutes.
  • Serve with any swallow of your choice.

Money saver tips for Vegetable Fried Rice ingredients

Buying in bulk and storing can save you a ton of money. Every home manager loves to shave off an extra penny here and there from home keeping expenses and this is one of them.

I was at the frozen foods section of a large supermarket chain recently and i saw the price on a bag of chopped vegetables, good lordy. There is no way i was going to parting with that amount of money on imported packaged food, that lord knows what sorts of preservatives is in it.

Fried Rice is a regular meal in my home and i have learnt to save a lot of money by buying my vegetables in bulk and storing in the freezer.

The vegetables in the picture below cost me the following from Mile 12 Market , Ketu Lagos Nigeria.

Carrots 300 naira
Green Pepper 300 naira

Red Pepper 200 naira

Runner Beans 200 naira

Green Peas 300 naira

Spring Onions 200 naira
Total cost 1500 naira.

Green Pepper 300 naira

Red Pepper 200 naira

Runner Beans 200 naira

Green Peas 300 naira

Spring Onions 200 naira
Total cost 1500 naira.

From this amount of vegetables, i will get a total of 6 -600g- bags of vegetables enough to make fried rice for my family of 5 (sometimes more) at least 6 times.

So on the average each pot of fried rice will cost just about 250 naira or less for vegetables.

Procedure.

  • Wash your vegetables properly under running water to get rid of dirt. Peel the carrots, de-seed the peppers, and chop them up separately.

  • Combine all the ingredients in the bowl, toss properly to ensure that the vegetables combine evenly.

* If you want, at this point you can bag it up and store in a freezer at this point.

  • I prefer to season the vegetables so they are ready to use when i want to cook. I season with salt, bouillon cubes,curry, thyme.

  • Toss it well to ensure that the seasoning is well incorporated. Let it sit for 30mins before bagging.

Pack into air tight, freezer bags or polythene bags and freeze till you are ready to use. I’ve stored mine for as long as 2 months in a freezer.

This also saves you a lot of cooking time.

Edikang Ikong

So i woke up to tend my vegetable garden, which i had left unattended for a about two weeks or a lil more. I wear many hat’s like many people and the month of April right to the first two weeks of May was very busy. First i got NAFDAC approval for my products FDVie Juice yaaay! Then we were vendors at the GTB Food and Drink fair , then renovation of the production facility , plus daily life!

So my garden was overgrown with Waterleaf! I remember my first attempt at planting waterleaf with seeds, i waited many months it didn’t yield until my staff told me to propagate using stems instead. Now the plant is in every pot in the garden, just dispersing its seeds. That means I’d be having a lot of waterleaf soups.

Freshly harvested waterleaf from my container garden

So after pulling out a lot of waterleaf yesterday, i made Edikang ikong

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 800g washed and choppedWaterleaf
  • 500g washed and chopped Ugu leaves
  • Assorted Meats
  • 1 cooking spoon blended pepper mix (Scotch bonnet -ata rodo/Bawa)
  • 3/4 cup palm oil
  • Stockfish
  • Smoked Fish
  • 1 tbsp blended crayfish
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • In a pot, season your meats with salt and bouillon cubes (to your taste) *Don’t* season with onion. Add water and cook till the meat is soft and tender. I usually cook my meats with smoked fish heads for rich flavour

  • When your meat is cooked and the water is properly reduced, add your blended pepper mix and palm oil.

  • Taste to see if it requires additional seasoning, if it does add some more. Add, stock fish, smoked fish, crayfish and cook till the water is reduced completely.
  • When the water is completely reduced and you can see the palmoil glistening on the meats, add chopped water leaves.

  • (Let your washed water leaf and Ugu leaves strain in a seive to allow all the excess water get away, your chopped leaves should be near dry)

  • Stir in properly , the water leaf will wilt into the pot, let it simmer for about 3 minutes
  • Next stir in your Ugu leaves, stir it in well till it incorporates well with the waterleaf.
  • Cook with lid off , on medium heat for an additional 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with your preferred accompaniment.

Please don’t tell my Yoruba ancestors that i almost denounced Efo Riro in favour of this tasty pot of goodness that is native to the Efik people.

Oatmeal swallow

Ojojo (Wateryam Fritters)

Ijebu omo alare e we so! Shout out to Ijebu people all over the world.

This is a tribute to Ijebu cuisine. When you think food native to the peoples of the vast Ijebu kingdom, you think, Ifokore, Ojojo , Ebiripo , Ijebu Garri etc.

Ojojo is wateryam fritters and its native to the Ijebu people of the south west of Nigeria. It can be eaten anytime of the day as a meal or a snack. As a meal it’s popularly either served with Eko/Agidi (roughly translated as white corn jello) or Garri Ijebu.


Recipe

(Serves 2 or 3)

Ingredients

  • 3 slices Wateryam (grated it comes to 1 cup and half)
  • 1 tbsp of roughly chopped pepper mix (1 Ata rodo (Scotch bonnet), 1 Bawa/long tatashe/Sombo , Onion (about a quarter of a medium onion)
  • 1/2 of a bouillon cube (i used Knorr
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Slice and peel water yam.

  • Using a grater, choose the smallest perforation to grate the yam to a paste. To avoid nicking off your fingers while grating, you can use the grating disc of your food processor. The one with the smallest holes. This would give you about 1 cup and half of wateryam paste.
Food processor disc and Grater
Grated wateryam
  • Add your roughly chopped pepper mix, your salt and seasoning .
  • Mix till when incorporated.

  • Heat your oil up till very hot.

Hot oil Tip
Since we don’t use thermometers in cooking here, i learnt to know when oil is hot enough for frying from Sister Som, my friend’s sister. She taught me to put a drop of water in oil while bringing up the heat. As the oil heats up , it would start to make popping sounds to get rid of the water. When the sounds stops, you know your oil is hot enough.

  • Scoop the paste using a spoon or your hands into the oil.
  • Fry on medium heat till its golden ans crisp on both sides.

Traditionally, Ojojo is served with Eko or Garri Ijebu. I tried this with Ghanaian Shitto and its amazeballs.

Ojojo with Eko and shitto

Homemade Fries: How to make great fries from scratch.

You can shave a few pennies off your shopping budget if you make your own fries at home for your self.

Say goodbye to store bought brands and stock up on your DIY (do it yourself) brand.

Blanching your potatoes before frying would give you really great golden potatoes. Blanching them and freezing for later use is just as great.


Ingredients

  • Medium sized Irish Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • *Salt Optional

Procedure

  • You need potatoes of course

  • Wash and peel the potatoes using a knife or a potato peeler, and keep them in bowl of room temperature water, to prevent oxidation.

  • Using a knife or a potato slicer (a potato slicer is preferable because it keeps the slices consistent), cut the potato into strips.
Potato slicer

Cut potato strips.
  • Cover the potato strips in water, and if you’d like salt them and leave soaked for 30mins
Potato covered in salt water
  • Strain the water from the potato using a seive
  • Heat up some oil in a pan. Enough oil to for deep frying. Heat it up till its really hot.

Hot oil Tip

Since we mostly don’t use thermometers in cooking here, i learnt to know when oil is hot enough for frying from Sister Som, my friend’s sister. She taught me to put a drop of water in oil while bringing up the heat. As the oil heats up , it would start to make popping sounds to get rid of the water. When the sounds stops, you know your oil is hot enough.

  • Fry the potato till it’s just cooked, without allowing the skin to crisp.
  • Take it out of the oil and spread it out on tray lined with absorbent paper towel. See picture below.
Blanched fries
  • Set the tray into a freezer and freeze over night.
Frozen blanched potato fries
    • Take it out of the freezer and bag in an airtight freezer bag. If you however don’t have freezer bags, you can use airtight polythene/nylon bags.

    • Store it in a freezer till the next time you want to make some fries.

    When you are ready to make your fries, take the frozen chips out of the freezer, heat your oil till very hot, and deep fry till crisp and golden.


    Like this

    Mango Liqueur

    A simple homemade alcoholic recipe for Mango lovers


    Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 3 medium sized Mangoes
    • 750ml Dry Gin or Vodka

    Procedure

    • Wash and clean your mangoes.
    • Chop it up into sizes that fit into a bottle.

    I usually chop with skins for more flavour.

    • Use a clean sterile glass bottle.
    • Put the chopped mangoes in the bottle and pour your Gin or vodka into the bottle. Shake and cover.
    • Store the bottle in dark place for not less than 3 days to let the mango infuse. I usually let my fruit liqueur sit for 2weeks at least, for intensity of flavour.

    • Shake the bottle up regularly when it’s being stored

    Serve with ice! Enjoy

    Okra Utazi Surf and Turf Peppersoup

    I will file this under comfort food. Slightly spicy, light delicious, something you snuggle up in bed on a cold day to eat.

    Utazi is a beautiful aromatic herb and i love the fragrance and the bitterness of it.

    I wanted to make a okra peppersoup and i thought it would taste great to pair the heat of the pepper with utazi.


    Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 250g Cod Fish (You can use any fish of your choice)
    • 2 Large carbs
    • 2 snails
    • 1/2 cup small shrimps
    • 2 tsp of peppersoup spice
    • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 5 Medium sized Okra
    • 2 green scotch bonnet
    • 2 yellow scotch bonnet
    • 5 Utazi leaves
    • 1 (4cups) litre water
    • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tsp Achi powder (optional)

    Instructions

    • Clean and cut your fish into sizes you like. Clean up the rest of your seafood and the snails.
    • Clean your okra, peppers and utazi
    • Cut the okra and the peppers into slices

    • Cut your Utazi into thin slices.

    • Put your fish and snail in a pot, add the pepper soup spice, cayenne pepper, salt, bouillon cubes, with two cups of water. Add half of your pepper slices
    • Cook with lid on, on medium heat till the fish is cooked. Give the snail at least 5 mins headstart before you add the fish.
    • When the fish and snail is cooked add the rest water, bring to a simmer. If you are using achi, add it now.
    • Add your crabs, and the okra. Cook for 3 mins then add the shrimps, utazi and rest peppers. Cook for an additional 3 mins and take it off the heat.

    Now serve and tuck in!!!!

    Look how gorgeous

    Ekpang Nkukwo

    Lord knows how much i enjoy eating Ekpang Nkukwo. You see there is something about food that is made with a lot of love and attention to detail.

    As a foodie, the first time i learnt of Ekpang Nkukwo i was intent on trying it out. Growing up i couldn’t stand any meal made with water yam. I never even tried cocoyam.

    Ekpang Nkukwo is a beautiful marriage of water yam and cocoyam. It’s a pottage meal native to the Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria and some parts of Cameroon.

    Its similar to Ifokore/Ikokore of the Ijebu people which is made with only wateryam and without vegetables.

    Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 3 slices of Wateryam (after this is grated it should come to 1 cup of paste)
    • 3 medium sized Cocoyam (after this is grated, it should come to 2 cups of paste)
    • 6 Cocoyam leaves (Ugu leaves can be used instead)
    • 4 Efinrin leaves shredded. (Utazi leaves can be used instead)
    • 1 cup properly washed unshelled periwinkles
    • Assorted Meats (beef, tripe, ponmo) – (about 200g)
    • Assorted Seafood (Smoked fish, stock fish, fresh prawns, crabs)
    • 1 cooking spoon of palm oil
    • 1 table spoon of ground cayenne pepper
    • 2 cups of rich beef stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 bouillon cubes
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tbsp ground crayfish

    So I’m growing cocoyam in my garden just because of Ekpang Nkukwo. I have never been able to buy cocoyam leaves in the market, so i always have to end up bush diving. I stubbornly insist on cooking Ekpang with only cocoyam leaves.


    Procedure

    • Wash the cocoyam leaves and cut them into segments.
    • Using the grater, choose the smallest perforation to grate the yams to a paste. To avoid nicking off your fingers while grating, you can use the grating disc of your food processor. The one with the smallest holes.
    • Mix the cocoyam and water yam paste together, add about 1/2 a cup of water to the mix to help loosen it up.
    • Using spoon, scoop the paste into the cut up leaves, and wrap
    • Line the bottom of the pot with some palm oil and periwinkle. I usually add my stock fish to the bottom of the pot too.
    • Place the rolled paste on top of the cocoyam on top of the periwinkle base you created.

    • Turn on the heat. You don’t want to cook Ekpang Nkukwo on high heat. So set the heat to between medium and low.
    • Add your crayfish , your cayenne pepper, beef stock, water, palm oil, salt and seasoning. You can also add the pre-cooked assorted meats, and smoked fish.
    • I usually check on my pot at 10 minutes intervals and shake the pot using it’s handles to lift it, so as prevent it from burning. I don’t use a ladle so as not upset the rolls.
    • I also leave adding my fresh seafood to the last 5 mins of cooking so as not over cook them.
    • Taste while cooking to know if you need to adjust the taste.
    • Add the shredded efinrin leaves or utazi leaves. Add fresh seafood, shake the pot.
    • Take it off the heat 5 mins after adding the fresh seafood. Let it rest. Stir and serve.

    Tea Time; Let’s Have Homemade Herbal Tea

    Did you know you can make your own tea using a blend of your favorite herbs and spices?

    I do that all the time and i want to share one of my mixes with you.

    The beauty of this is that, this is made with locally grown spices readily available in the market, especially from the Hausa spice vendors.

    Tea is a beverage so popular it’s one of the most consumed in the world. It’s an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured tea leaves. Mostly had for breakfast, however in some cultures, tea is had at any time of the day.

    In Nigeria tea is most popular as tea bags, and because of our British colonial past, we have our tea with a handsome helping of milk and sugar.

    I really like using Zobo leaves to make tea, not only because it makes such a beautiful colour of tea, it’s also very aromatic and zingy.


    Health benefits of this herbal tea.

    Herbal teas are good detoxifiers. So is this tea. All the ingredients play a key role in metabolism, detoxification of xenobiotic and flushing toxins out of the body

    It Aids in digestion, Treats nausea & headache, Prevents respiratory disorders, Aids in breast feeding, Helps in weight loss, Helps allergies , Improves skin health, Improves kidney health.

    Increases Immunity;
    The presence of vitamin C in sorrel is pretty impressive.
    Vitamin C also referred to as ascorbic acid, increases the production of white blood cells and stimulates the immune system, which is the first line of protection against pathogens and other free radicals present in the body, hence helping to prevent cancer.


    Ingredients

    • Dried Zobo leaves (Hibiscus Sabdariffa, Roselle, Red Sorrel, or Jamaican Sorrell.
    • Fennel Seeds
    • Dried Mint leaves
    • Cinnamon

    Procedure

    Blitz them all together in the dry mill of your blender, a food processor or coffee grinder. I don’t have a measurement for this. Just eye ball it and go with your gut.

    To make a brew

    • Add 1/2 teaspoon of the tea a cup of boiling water. Allow it to infuse. You can use a tea infuser or strain using a seive.

    Sweeten with honey or any non-nutritive/zero calorie sweetener e.g Stevia or Truvia.

    You can enjoy hot or cold. Do not add milk to this tea because the acidity in the zobo it will cuddle the milk.

    Mango Lassi

    #UnrepentantMangoAddict

    The season came early this year and I’ve been enjoying every bit of it. A facebook friend even sent me the most precious delicious tasting mangoes all the way from Benue State. Oh i had a ball!

    On the way back the Lagos from Ilorin, were my family and i spent our easter holiday, we stopped on the Ogbomoso highway to buy freshly harvested premium Ogbomoso mangoes.

    I’m even brewing some Mango liqueur, which will be read in a few weeks and I’d be blogging about it.

    Lassi (pronounced [ləsiː]) is a popular traditional yogurt-based drink from the Indian Subcontinent.[1] Lassi is a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit. (Culled from wiki)

    Recipe

    • 2 medium Mangoes (Peel and dice)
    • 1 cup unsweetened Yogurt
    • *1/2 cup Coconut Milk
    • 1 teaspoonCardamom seeds

    Instructions

    • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth puree.
    • Serve in highball glass and garnish accordingly