The highlight of any Ileya celebration is for me, is getting my portion of Ileya meat from my Muslim friends. Ileya is what the Yoruba speaking people of southwest Nigeria call the Islamic festival also known as Eid-ul-Adha sometimes called Sallah. The Hausa’s in Nigeria call it “Leyya“.
This day commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an offering to God to prove his faith God instead provides him with a ram to sacrifice instead of his son.
Eid-uh-Adha is celebrated in the 12th lunar month. It is mandatory for every Muslim faithful who has the means to commemorate the occasion with either a ram, cow, chicken or camel in some cultures and share with friends, family and neighbours. It is symbolic of the offering Ibrahim made to God in place of his son.
During the Ileya, you greet your Muslim friends, Barka da Sallah, Happy Eid-El-Kabir, Happy Eid,
Whilst some people turn down Ileya meat offered to them for religious reasons, I accept it delightfully. Oddly Ileya meat has a unique deliciousness to it. The most popular animal used in Nigeria to commemorate Ileya (Sallah) celebrations is a Ram. It would seem the cooks pay special attention to balancing their spices to cook Ileya meat to perfection.
Driving around Lagos today I saw a couple of houses with Rams, goats, cows tied up for the celebrations tomorrow, I also saw a couple of people making their purchase last minute.
For this post, I will refer to cooking ram. This can be adapted to cooking goat meat, cow…etc.
While in some cases you may be gifted cooked meats, most often your Muslim neighbour will share with you fresh cuts of ram meats, and you can proceed to cook it yourself.
- Ram Meat
- Curry powder
- Bay leaf
- MSG seasoning
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
The above are basic ingredients used, you can take it a step further and add your own choice of spices as listed below.
- Cayenne pepper
- Ginger (chopped)
- Garlic (chopped)
- Black pepper
- Yaji (suya) spice
- Add all your spices to the meat and leave it to marinate for 30 minutes.
- Boil the meat on medium till just tender. The meat might not need additional water, but you can add what you seem necessary.
- Ram meat is easy to overcook so you have to be careful not to overcook it.
- Once cooked, deep fry it in very hot oil, till it is a dark shade of golden brown.
You can proceed to add it to cooked stew, serve with meals as a side dish, toss it in cayenne pepper or yaji spice and enjoy with cold garri.