Beans Pottage

Its amazing how life changes you. Growing up , beans was one of my most hated meals. I hated eating many things as a child anyways, my mum still can’t believe how I’ve turned around and become a foodie, I hated beans. Then life happened and I found myself married to a beans lover, and I had to cook and of course eat it more often than I could have ever imagined.

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Beans porridge is one of the most popular plant protein dishes in Nigeria. In the University the boys hostel was known as the hub of beans  porridge. The boys didn’t seem to know how to cook anything else other than beans. Beans porridge can very easily be a one pot meal and it was easy for them to pair it with bread or garri and have a fully stomach for the whole day.

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Easy as it is to cook beans, it is quite  easy to go wrong with it too. The best type of beans to cook beans pottage with is Ewa Oloyin  (Oloyin Beans / Honey Beans) . Honey beans is naturally sweet hence it the name.  However even in the absence of honey beans, a few tips can help you make a tasty meal of beans pottage.

Recipe

Serves 6 

Ingredients

*all measurements are made with standard measures.

  •      3 1/2 cups Beans

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  •      2 Medium sized onions
  •      1/2 or 3/4 cup of jalepeno blended pepper OR you can use 1 or 2 tablespoon (s) of Cayenne pepper
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Blended jalepeno (sombo/bawa/long tatashe) with onion
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Cayenne pepper
  •      1/2 cup Palm oilimage      
  • 4 tbsp ground crayfish
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Ground dried Crayfish
  •    *1 Bonga Fish (optional ) you can use it shredded or blended to a powder.

    •       2 Cubes bouillon cubes
    •      Salt to taste.

    Procedure

    –     Pick beans for dirt,  rinse beans throughly.

    * It is said that the amount of pesticides applied to beans for storage is really high, in fact some western countries recently placed a ban on importation of beans from Nigeria due to the high presence of pesticides. This has also been linked to the cause of heartburn and flatulence  after consuming beans. Beyond washing beans throughly, you can slightly parboil the beans and discard the water, or soak the beans in boiling hot water for at least five minutes, discard the water, rinse and proceed to cook.

    –     In a clean pot or pressure pot, cook the beans with water and  one chopped onion.  

    *I strongly recommend that every one owns a pressure pot even if it is just for cooking beans. With a pressure pot, the beans is tender in about 15 minutes. If you are using a regular pot, you have to cook for between 30 – 45 minutes to get the beans to be tender enough

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    The beans is tender and it is beginning to split

    –      When the beans is tender, add, palm oil, crayfish, blended or Cayenne pepper, salt, * bonga fish  bouillon cubes (I use knorr more recently Adobo Seasoning )

    –       Cook all together for about 20 minutes or until all the elements are well incorporated in the beans and the beans pottage has thickened. Turn off the heat and serve

    –      Enjoy with dodo (fried plantain ) Garri (roasted cassava granules ) , yam, Bread or just by itself .

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    Rice Pudding

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    On the last day of our vacation in August, we arrived Virginia very early in the morning very tired – after an exciting week in Florida- and very hungry too. Le hubs cousin -who had been longing to host us-  treated us to a breakfast buffet at a nice Indian restaurant. The food was really good, and for dessert I had rice pudding. I’ve been longing to make my own rice pudding since then. Few weeks ago I did even though I’ve been too lazy to blog.

    Looking at the pictures now, I can taste the coconut milk in the rice pudding, the Sorrel and date syrup and the orange slices at the side.

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    Recipe

    Ingredients

    Serves 8

    •       4 cups cooked jasmine  rice (I used basmati as I didn’t have any jasmine rice at home) 

    •      4 cups coconut milk

    •      1 Cup condensed Milk

    •      2 Eggs

    •      1 tsp grated nutmeg

    •       1/4 tsp Cinnamon

    •      1 tsp cloves

    •        1 tbsp Vanilla extract

    •      1/4 cup sugar (optional)

    •      1/4 tsp salt

    •      1 tbsp lemon juice  (optional)

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    Procedure

    –      In a pot, add 3 cups of hot water to pre- cooked rice, cook on medium heat, add, cloves , nutmeg. * Jasmine rice is preferred because it gets mushy when it is cooked and has great texture.  I had to mash up my rice a bit because is used Basmati rice.

    –      Add Coconut milk and condensed milk. Turn down the heat and let it simmer. Add  sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Stir well and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

    –       Break egg and whisk with vanilla extract,  add the egg to pudding and stir in properly. Let it simmer for about 1 minute and turn off the heat.

    FOR SORREL SYRUP

    •      1/8 cup dried sorrel leaves (also called zobo leaves)

    •      1 cup sugar

    •      1 cup sugar

    •      *Chopped pitted dates or raisins

    Boil the sorrel leaves in water, once boiled, remove the leaves from the water, add sugar and leave to boil till the water reduces to a thin syrup,  add chopped dates or raisins and turn off the heat.

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    Serve warm or cold.

    Isi Ewu

    Busy as Lagos is, it has an interesting night life. After the stress of the hustle and bustle of the day, people seem to find a way to unwind after. Hence you’d find a lot of out door cool spots and night bars scattered across the metropolis of Lagos. The city is a sort of melting pot for people of different ethnicities and culture across Nigeria, thus you’d find the influence of different  cultures in the cuisine.
    Popular amongst them is Isi Ewu, Nkwobi, Point and Kill Pepper, Asun, Suya which feature prominently on the menus of most outdoor (indoor too) night bars and cool spots. There seems to be a sort of marriage with alcohol and spicy food, which might be responsible for there popularity.

    I’d be sharing the recipe for Nkwobi and Isi Ewu in this post. The recipe for both is the same but for the meats used.
    Nkwobi  – Cow Leg

    Isi Ewu –  Goat head (i have often used just smoked goats meat instead of the head.)

    I have often used the recipe I found on allnigerianrecipes.com, but I have a few tips. There is an on going argument as to how safe it is to consume Kaun ( potash) or the local potash. I figured that the idea behind adding Kaun is to get the palm oil to alter in colour,  cuddle and thicken, pretty much like palm nut cream. Right? So I went for palm nut cream instead and it worked, turned out really great.

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    Isi Ewu made with Palm oil

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    Isi Ewu made with Palm Nut Cream

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      Recipe

    Ingredients 

    •      Goat head/ Goat head /  Cow foot (cut into sizeable pieces, I used 12)

    •     50 grams Stock Fish

    •      20cl (200ml) Palm Oil or Palm nut Cream.

    •       *1 tablespoon powdered edible potash (Akanwu/Kaun/Keun)

    •1 teaspoon ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)

    •      2 tablespoons ground crayfish

    •      Yellow Scotch Bonnet / Habanero peppers (to your taste)

    •     1 medium onion

    •      2 big stock cubes

    •      Salt (to taste)

    •      Ugba

    To garnish

    •      1 medium onion

    •      10 Utazi leaves

    Procedure

    –       Wash and season your meat along with stock fish, and cook.

    –        Add the bouillon  cubes (crushed) and the chunks of onion.

    –       Add a small quantity of water and start cooking at medium heat till well cooked. Add just enough water to prevent burning as you cook. There should not be any stock (water) in the pot when the meat is done. If the meat is tough, I’d recommend you cook with a pressure pot or just cook for longer.

    –       While the meat is cooking, pour the palm oil or crean into a clean dry pot.

    *      If you are using palm nut cream, skip the next 3 steps.

    –       Mix Potash with some water to dissolve and seive.  Pour in the potash mixture (sieved) into the oil.

    –      Stir with a wooden spatula as you pour the potash. You’ll notice the palm oil begin to curdle and turn yellow.

    –      Keep stiring till all the oil has turned yellow.

    –      If you are using Palm nut cream ensure there is no water contained in the cream.  To achieve this you can  either use the canned ones or, after extracting your cream from the palm nuts, set it aside for the cream to collect at the top or put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the cream to set.

    –      Heat up the cream for about 5 minutes and proceed to the next step.

    –      Add the ground crayfish, pepper and ehu seeds. Stir very well till they are all incorporated.

    –      Add the well done meat and Ugba to the palm oil paste and stir very well with the wooden spatula.

    –       Leave it on heat till the Soup is piping hot, stirring all the time to make sure it does not burn.

    –       To prepare the garnish, cut the onions into rings and cut the utazi into long thin slices.

    I served it traditional style  in a wooden mortar
    Add the thin slices of utazi and onion rings on top for the full effects.

    Normally Nkwobi or Isi Ewu is served alone accompanied with alcohol or soft drinks but for some reason I enjoy pairing it with white rice.

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    Isi Ewu made with Palm oil

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