Oil less Efo Riro

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My current diet plan has taught me something which I’ve always known, there are no shortcuts to weight loss. Whatever fancy pill or detox drink you are on, it would be in vain without eating clean and some exercise. Beyond the weight loss,  maintenance and healthy living is very important.
My husband always gives me the side eye when I speak of weight loss, he thinks I have no business with weight loss. I think otherwise, knowing how I loved being 65 kg pre- pregnancies. Now at 73 kg (5 ft 7 inches) I aim to leave the 70 ‘ s zone. I’ve succeeded many times and I fall hard on my face again and I start again. I’ve found what works for me, exercise! Unfortunately this is the first time in 5 yrs I’ve not been to the gym in 6 months, business has been BUSY!

 
So I got a detox pack with includes some shakes and herbal potions, just for a quick fix. However after  seeing that I’d over shot my calorie target times 5, I knew it was time to start again. Many bottles of almond milk, rice milk, cucumber and Aloe Vera juice and counting calories after I just wanted some pepper and good old Nigerian Soup.

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The recipe and Procedure is same as normal Efo Riro, but without any oil.

Recipe

•    Efo Tete (1 bowl rinsed and shredded, bowl in this case is a 3 litre bowl)

•    Coarsely blended pepper mix containing 10 Atarodo (scotch bonnet / habenero) ,1 Tatashe  (capsicum or bell pepper or jalapeño ), 1 Tomato

•    1 large Onion chopped

•    Assorted Meats and Fish

•    1 tbsp Iru (locust beans)

•    1 tbsp Powdered Crayfish

•    1 soft curly Ponmo (chopped)

•    Salt

Procedure
–     Pick, Wash, Slice and blanch vegetable in warm water.

–    Wash, season and parboil the meats, don’t add too much water.

–    Coarsely blend pepper and onions.

–    Add blended pepper to cooked meat with iru and Stock fish and crayfish.
*DO NOT COVER THE POT.  The intention here is to allow all the water evaporate.

–    Season with salt and bouillon cubes, if needed.

–    Allow pepper to cook, you’d know it is ready when all the water is completely reduced and you can see the pepper start to simmer.

–    Now add the sliced and slightly blanced vegetables, stir the pot carefully from the bottom to top, till the pepper is well mixed with the vegetable.
Turn the heat down and allow vegetables to cook for about 5 mins, because you want to retain the brilliant green colour and some crunch. Do not cover still.

–    Once ready, turn off heat and wait about 10 minutes before you put a lid on your pot.

Pair with any other food you like .

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Jam filled Puff – Puff

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Move over Doughnuts,  Puff – Puff filled with Jam is in the building.

This is what happens when me and my only brother ChocBoy enter into the kitchen. He wanted Chocolate filled Puff – Puff,  I didn’t have chocolate syrup so I pulled out Mango jam and injected into the puff. My days! This is the shiznit.

You guys should give it a try.
See recipe for making Puff-Puff  here .

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Procedure

When your puff puff is fried, take a clean sterile syringe without the needle , fill it with jam. *If your jam is too thick, add a little juice or hot water to make it a little light.

Pierce a side of your puff puff and inject some jam. See picture above.

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Surprise your guests, they wouldn’t believe it!

Fried Yam and Fish Rolls

I just played a “guess the dish” game, on two facebook groups. The only clue was that it is not made with flour. I laughed and nearly peed my pants when two of my Facebook buds answered Fried Eba and Okra! Jeez I must have a reputation for far fetched food experiments.
People this is just yam and fish served with pepper sauce by the side.

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Recipe

Ingredients

•    Yam

•    Fish

•    Salt

•    Bouillon Cubes

•    Pepper

•    Flour for dusting the board

•    Oil for frying.

Procedure

–    Cut yam and boil till well cooked and tender.

–    Season fish with salt, bouillon cubes and pepper, cook, debone and flake the fish and set aside.

–    When yam is done, mash till smooth in a bowl or in the pot.

–    Lightly flour a board, roll out the yam mold, trim out the edges. Spread some fish flakes along the edges and roll it over. Apply some water to the edges to seal it.
Sorry I don’t have a pictorial yet but you can see the procedure used here in making sausages

–   Heat up some oil. Not extremely hot and fry the yam till slighly crisp and a warm golden brown. Don’t let it burn as the yam would start to taste bitter.

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–    Serve with pepper sauce, it tastes great together

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Banga Soup

Finger licking goodness, a delicacy of the Deltans of the South – South of Nigeria. Made from creamy palm nut extract and brought to life by mix of exotic spices, and fresh water fish banga  soup is one King of a soup.

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One of my aunts had a Nanny, Mama Onome who would make a big batch of banga  soup and store in the fridge for us to eat. The woman made it look so easy to make, my first time making it especially since I was make the palm nut extract myself I realised how much work it was. You don’t have to make the palm nut extract, buy the canned ones. The rest is a breeze. See how good it looks, It tastes great too

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Recipe

Ingredients

•   3 Cups Palm Nuts

•   1.5 kg  Fresh Fish e.g Tilapia or Croaker (I used frozen Cod fish).

•   1 Oburunbebe Stick

•    I tbsp Scotch Bonnet  (less or more depending on how much heat you can take)

•    1 tsp Banga Spice (this a mixture of the exotic spices that make banga soup what it is, I won’t even attempt to spell the spices cause I would get it wrong)

•    Smoked Prawns

•    1 Cup properly washed and cleaned periwinkle in shell

•    Smoked Catfish

•    *Fresh Prawns (optional)

•    Stock Fish

•    1 tbsp dried crushed Bitterleaf  or Obeletientien   Leaves.

•    Salt and Bouillon Cubes to taste

Procedure

To make Palm nut extract.

▪Boil Palm nuts till the skin is tender and pliable.

▪In a mortar pound till the skin falls off from the kernel.

▪Add about 3 cups of  warm water and rinse the pulp, using a mesh seive,  strain the liquid and collect in a pot.

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To make Soup

–    Place Palm nut extract on heat , add the oburunbebe stick and allow it to heat up.

–    Add Blended pepper, stock fish, smoked fish, smoked prawns, banga spice, salt and seasoning. Bring it to boil.

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–    Add  Fresh fish and let it cook till done. Don’t use a spoon to stir the pot just shake it. Turn the heat down. Add washed periwinkles, fresh prawns if you are using any. Then add the crushed dried leaves, I used Obeletientien

* I learnt a tip when Dunni was in my kitchen not to over cook Banga after all the spices have been added as it tends to taste over salted.

•   You know your soup is ready when some oil starts to float at the top.

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Delicious like kilode!

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Starch and Banga Soup. Totally delish!

 

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Ofe Nsala

I’ve had this recipe sitting in my draft for a while now. Asides being plagued with a bad phone, I have been very preoccupied. I’m not from the south eastern part of Nigeria but more often that not, people ask me if I’m igbo, probably due to my fair skin. I love soups from the south east of Nigeria, that doesn’t mean I’d give up my love for Ewedu  and Gbegiri any time soon. Nsala soup asides being great with starchy accompaniments, it is spicy and perfect for a cold rainy day or as a remedy for a flu.

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Recipe
I’ve always used the recipe from AllNigeriaRecipes com.  So here it goes

Ingredients

•   Cat Fish: 4 one-inch thick pieces

•   Fresh or dry Utazi Leaves

•    Thickener: RawWhite Yam / Yam Powder / Potato Puree or Achi

•   Scotch Bonnet (Ata Rodo/  Habanero peppers)

•   Salt (to taste)

•   Crayfish (a handful for 4 cuts of fish)

•   1 bouillon  cube

•   Ogiri Okpei

Procedure

–   Wash properly and  cut the catfish into 1 inch thick cylindrical discs and remove the intestines. Place in bowl and pour very hot water on the fish. This process of pouring hot water on the fish toughens the
skin of the fish so that the pieces do not disintegrate while cooking the soup. Leave for about 2 minutes and wash the fish with cold water. You should also wash off any slimy
substance on the outer skin of the fish at this time.

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–    Boil a few cubes of raw white yam. When soft, pound with a mortar and pestle till a smooth
paste is formed, then set aside. You can substitute white yam with yam powder or potato
puree for the thickening.

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–    Wash and pound/blend the utazi leaves, the chilli pepper and the crayfish and set aside.
Utazi is bitter in taste and only used for flavouring so one or two leaves should be enough especially when using the fresh leaves.

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–    Place the catfish in a pot and pour enough water to cover the fish. Add the seasoning and
cook till done. Feel free to add dry fish to this soup recipe.

–   When the catfish is almost done, add the crayfish, pepper and utazi leaves blend. Also add
the yam paste in small lumps and salt to taste.

–   Cover the pot and allow the contents to cook at high heat till all the yam paste have
dissolved.While cooking, if you think that the yam paste will make the soup too thick, you
can remove some that are yet to dissolve.

Your Ofe Nsala is ready to eat alone or with a starchy accompaniment e.g Eba,  Semo,  Pounded yam e.t.c

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Fried Rice (Nigerian Style)

image As a teenager fried rice was one dish I held down with confidence. I had no doubts I would be cooking Fried rice for my SSCE food and nutrition practical as well as Efo riro,  I knew the invigilators would be hooked. I didn’t want a repeat of the near disaster that happened during my GCE practicals. I had grated my right thumb on the grater whilst grating coconut for my coconut cake, I nearly ended in the ER and my barbecue grill that left me with half of my turkey half cooked. I got a C4 in GCE  and got a B2 in SSCE. I knew my fried rice game was tight!  So what makes my Fried rice game tight? This is it.

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Recipe

Ingredients

•    2 1/2 cups  long grain rice

•    1 cup Meat stock

•    1/4 cup vegetable oil

•    3 scotch bonnet

•    A couple of garlic cloves

•    2 thumb sized ginger

•    1 bay leaf

•    1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

•    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.

•    3 Small green pepper

•    2 medium sized red bell peppers

•    1/2 cup blanched green peas

•    1/2 cup sweet corn

•    4  large Carrots

•    Some spring onions

•    Gizzard

•    Hotdogs

•    Poached Eggs

•    Salt

•    Bouillon Cubes

Procedure

–    Chop, peppers, carrots, spring onions and set aside best to set it aside in a fridge
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–    Chop gizzard, hot dog and set aside.

–    Wash rice with water till the water is clear and strain in a seive

–   In a pot, heat up the oil and fry scotch bonnet, bay leaf, chopped ginger and garlic till it burns in the oil, then  take it out
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–    Pour rice into hot oil and stir till it starts to brown up image

–    Add stock, 500 ml water or a little more, curry, thyme, salt , bouillon cubes. Turn the heat down

–    In a wok or pan, using about 1 tsp of vegetable oil, stir fry the vegetable mix, and meats, till vegetables are slightly tender image image

–     Add to  cooked rice and stir in with sweet corn and poached eggs image
*Remember if the rice is nearly cooked but still a bit hard, cover with a plastic bag and the pot lid to trap steam and cook rice through. image An old photo below

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*Stir with wooden spoon or ladle

 

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Jollof Rice (Nigerian Style)

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Last year the social media space was agog with the #jollofgate saga, thanks to the jollof rice recipe by Jamie Oliver,  which many West Africans (esp Nigerians) thought was a sacrilege. I read the most hilarious comments about food ever. People take their food seriously I tell you.  I sided with Jamie on the recipe because he was spot on with the basic ingredients and he had stated that it was his TWIST to jollof rice. I have had the privilege / misfortune to have jollof rice from other West African regions asides Nigeria and Ghana, and I would say never again! Most people who called for his head on a platter mostly had problems with the plating of the food. In support of #JollofGate I made this jollof rice which had mushrooms, broccoli, purple cabbage…. and the ingredients included paprika,  cinnamon,  turmeric and a host more. 

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Now the dust is completely settled I’m doing a post on Jollof rice , no fuss, no gimmicks!
Recipe

Ingredients

* all measurements in the post refer to standard measuring cups and spoons.

•   2 1/2 Long grain Rice

•    2 cups pre cooked pepper mix (tomatoes + jalapeños + scotch bonnet, ratio 5:1:1)

•    1/4 Tomato Paste

•    1 Cup Chicken or Beef Stock

•    2 bay Leaf

•    1 1/2 Tablespoons Curry powder

•    1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme

•    Salt to taste

•    2 or more Bouillon Cubes (These days I use MSG free seasonings )

•    1/2 Cup Vegetable oil

•    2 Onions

•     *4 cloves of garlic (optional)

•     Chopped mixed vegetables  (optional)

•    Plum or Cherry tomatoes

My tips for great jollof rice,

 1. A rich beef or chicken stock,

 2. Good Tomato base (Ground tomatoes+peppers+Onions & Tomato Paste)


Below I’d share how I make my beef stock and the ratio for my Tomato base. 

I doubled the ingredients in recipe here so I had 4 cups of freshly blended pepper, 1/2 Cup tomato paste. Cook the mix till it done.


This is how I make my rich beef or chicken stock. 

Celery + Carrot + Onions (Mirepoix in french). I always have smoked fish (see my mum has a fish farm and they roast a lot fish for sale) most times I save the head of the fish so as to use in cooking my meats. Most times I add only salt to this other times I may just add seasoning .  These days I’m embracing MSG free seasonings so I favour Adobo Seasoning. 

Add a little water (when my meat is fresh I mostly don’t add water except it is necessary, when it is frozen I add water to help it thaw faster) 

Cook your meats till tender and strain the stock from the meat.


Procedure

–  Wash Rice with clean water until the water is clear and set aside.

–    In a clean pot, heat up vegetable oil, chop one onion and fry with bay leaf till the onions are slightly tender and add the pepper mix , tomato paste, stock, curry, thyme, taste after adding stock before you add the bouillon cubes, and salt, so as not to over season or salt it.

–    Allow the pepper to fry  a little then add 750 ml of water and pour in the rice

Curry powder, dried thyme, garlic, tomato stock with bay leaf.

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–    Cook till the rice is tender. If the rice seems to be slightly hard and most of the water has evaporated, turn down the heat, and cover the rice with a *plastic  bag* moinmoin leaves or banana leaves, and cover with pot lid, this would trap the heat and cook the rice  through without leaving you with soggy rice.

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There is a potential health risk to using a plastic bag to cover your cooking rice. Heat interferes with the chemical components in the plastic bag to cause a reaction with your food. Please use leaves instead.
It is safer and healthier to use leaves to trap the steam in your rice instead of using plastic.


* Jollof rice may burn whilst cooking , it is perfectly okay, I know people who live for the burnt bits. 

* You have to use a wooden spoon or ladle to stir the rice in thoroughly so the colouration can be even 

–     Slice onions and plum tomatoes (i used cherry tomatoes) and stir into cooked rice when it is done. 

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I used plum tomatoes when I made this.

–    If you are adding chopped  vegetables stir it in now.

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Jollof rice is not complete without fried  plantain. At most Nigerian parties,  it is served along  with fried rice and moinmoin.

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Coconut Milk Biscuits

image It’s funny how I file all my baking therapies in the “Not Really A Baker” category. Well I love to cook and sometimes it involves baking and I’m game, but so that people won’t start asking me questions I have no real answer I have to make the a disclaimer. I spent 3 days dreaming up this recipe and when I was done, four happy little feet were ready to devour it almost without giving me the chance to take pictures. Very milky, coconutty  and yummy. image
Recipe

Ingredients

•    1 Cup Self Raising Flour

•    1/2 Dessicated Coconut

•    1 Cup Coconut Milk

•    1/2 Cup  Caster Sugar

•    1/4  tsp Salt   

•    2 Eggs

Procedure

–    In a bowl mix flour, dessicated coconut, salt and ser aside.

–    Break eggs and separate egg yolks from whites.

–    Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk the egg white till stiff peaks and set aside.

–    At high speed,  whisk egg yolk with caster sugar till it is pale yellow and it and nearly double in size.

–    Using a spatula,  mix gently the egg yolks into the flour mix, then add coconut milk , mix well but gently and then fold in egg white.

–    Line a baking tray with parchment paper or spray non stick cooking spray on the pan or light grease the pan with oil.

–    Pick your preferred icing tip, fill a piping bag and pipe you desired shape on the pan. (I used the 6B open star nozzle )

–   Bake in an oven preheated to 250°c for about 20 mins or it till it is mellow golden brown.

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