Pap (Ogi/Akamu/ Koko/ Agidi)

3 grain Ogi spiced with Cloves and Ginger

This fermented cereal pudding has different names in different cultures, some of the most popular names in Nigeria include Ogi , Akamu, Koko, Agidi. Popular across west Africa and in some Arab cultures.

The consistency of pap is like that of custard or a curd sometimes lighter.

Making your pap from Scratch

You need Grains. Corn, Millet, Sorghum which are the most popular grains used or whatever grain catches your fancy. I like to use at least three grains, like my mum taught me). You can use one or a combination of two or more.

These are my favourite grains to combine to make Pap
  • First you rinse your grains to get rid of impurities.
  • Next you soak the grains with water that is twice as much as the grains. Typically you soak for three days to allow it ferment. * You can control how fermented the soaked grains are by changing the soaking water daily.
  • The grains are then washed and sent to a mill to be ground to a fine paste. Some people like to grind with spices like ginger, cloves etc, I prefer to add spices when cooking.
  • Next it is passed through a fine sieve, usually a muslin or cheese cloth to remove the chaff so as to have smooth paste. The chaff is mostly then used to feed animals.
  • The sieved product is left to rest and the paste settles and sets at the bottom of the water.
  • (Optional)To further extract water from the settled paste, you will pour into a cotton cloth bag, tie firmly and place a heavy item (traditionally they use rocks or logs) to strain the water out. * I usually skip this step.
Pap from three different grains.
My favourite way to make Pap.

Storage

You can store in a refrigerator. Growing up, we left it in an open bucket with water on top of the pap, then we changed the water every two days until the Ogi was finished.

Cooking Pap

Pap is one of the easiest things to cook. But you how the simplest things can shame the best cooks, yeah pap has and continues to shame the best of cooks.

Cooked pap is suppose to have a smooth consistency but it can easily end up a lumpy mess.

I like to cook my pap on fire. I feel the best way to explain my method is by doing a short video.

Procedure

  • Take some raw pap paste, mix with double the amount of water to loosen the paste and give a watery consistency. If you like Spices you can add some powdered spices to it.
  • In a pot heat up some water roughly same amount of your raw mixture.
  • Bring to boil, turn the heat down and pour in the raw mixture.
  • Stir slowly in circular motions and consistently until it starts to thicken. Keep the same pace stirring, if it looks to thick, loosen it up with more water.
  • Leave it to cook on fire for an additional 3 minutes then serve.

You can serve with milk, sugar, honey and have with your favourite accompaniment.

Fonio Porridge

Since pantry surfing and discovering the pack of Fonio I had previously forgotten, I have been having fun with it.

Fonio is so easy to cook, I found online a Bambara saying “Fonio never embarrasses the cook”. And I intend to cook it in so many ways and hope the saying works for me too.

To make Fonio/Acha porridge you need

  • ½ cup Fonio/Acha
  • 1½ cup water
  • Sugar (optional)
  • a pinch of salt
  • Bring water to boil
  • Add Fonio
  • Turn heat down
  • Stir till translucent, add sugar

Serve warm.

There are so many ways you can serve your Fonio/Acha porridge.

It makes for a great power up breakfast.

Acarajé (Akara with stuffing)

Tola had asked me to blog about Acarajé. Tola shared with me a beautiful part of her family history and how her grandfather had escaped slavery in Brazil and returned to Abeokuta. As such her dad who is now in his 80’s recalled that this is how Akara was made in his family while growing up in Abeokuta.

Acarajé is the Portuguese pronunciation for Akara. Made same was as our Akara/Kossai but fried with palm oil. When fried, the Acarajé balls are sliced in the middle and filled with stuffing called Vatapá. Vatapá is a shrimp paste that contains cashew nuts, peanuts, coconut milk, palm oil, vegetables and it pretty much varies from one cook to the other.

Though I was hesitant at first, because I’m not a sucker for Akara fried with palm oil, and I wasn’t sure i would enjoy the shrimp paste with cashews and peanuts, I decided to give it a try, because that is what foodies do anyways! Expectedly I didn’t enjoy the cashew and peanut shrimp paste, so I tried another without it and I really liked it.

Recipe

Acarajé

  • 2 cups Beans (i used honey Beans)
  •  2 scotch bonnet -atarodo-
  • 3 small jalapeños -bawa/sombo/long tatashe-
  • 1 small onion)
  • Salt (to taste )
  • 1 tbsp powdered crayfish
  • *Seasoning (optional, if using, just add to taste)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 750ml Palm oil (Red oil) for frying

Procedure

See Tips for Making Great Akara Balls here.
  • Soak beans and peel the skins off the beans till your beans is white to reveal the white inside.
  • In a blender, blend the beans till smooth. (*Don’t blend with too much water, 1 cup of water should be enough, blend the beans in small parts. If you are taking it out to a public mill, take a separate bowl  to collect the water*)
  •  Now mix the paste till it is very fluffy. You can use a ladle, an egg whisk or a mixer to mix the paste.  Mixing is to incorporate as much air as possible into the paste. The paste should double or nearly double.
  • Add salt and seasoning and
  • Using a deep pan or wok, heat the oil up and deep fry the akara, scooping several tablespoons in at a time.
  • Cook each side for not less than 2 mins and flip the sides.
  • Once your akara is done, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the akara into a dish lined with paper towel or a sieve
See more on my Collection of 4 types of street akara
Fried balls

Vatapá

My adaptation.
  • 250g shrimps
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes and red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped spring onions
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (to bind the paste, alternatively use some flour)
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Blend shrimp with coconut milk to a paste.
  • In a pot on medium heat, cook the shrimp blend till it comes to a boil
  • Add breadcrumbs, seasoning and some of your chopped vegetables, cook for 3-5 minutes and turn the heat off.
  • Save some vegetables to stir in.

Slice your fried bean balls in the middle and fill with the paste.

Enjoy.

Acarajé, Ogi, Coconut milk and some leftover Vatapá

Sweet Coconut Bread

Baking bread can be so addictive. I’ve lost count of how many times of bread I’ve baked bread this lockdown period. From Agege Bread to bread buns and rolls, I’d even be making Focaccia tomorrow and artisan bread soon.

As a matter of fact, I’ve started wearing my fit watch whenever I knead bread and I set it to exercise mode. Kneading bread is legit exercise.

I like sweet breads, and this is one sweet bread I like, I love how the aroma of the coconut mingles with that of the bread as it bakes. I like Panipopo bread more, but this one is easier to make😁.

Last year I was in Jos and Blackcurrants were in season, so I bought a whole lot of them. When I got back I made a lot of Blackcurrant Jam with these. Yum! It’s Mango season and of course i will be making Mango Jam, so I’m eating up the Blackcurrant Jam to make room for Mango 😁😁

So here goes

Recipe

Ingredients

•   3 Cups all purpose flour

•   1/4 cup white sugar

•   1/4 cup Coconut oil

•    1 1/2 cups Coconut milk

•   3/4 tbsp active dry yeast

•   1/2 tsp salt

Procedure

–   First activate your yeast, by adding yeast and about a pinch of sugar to 1/8 cup warm water. The water should be about 110° – 115°. Leave it to sit for about 10 minutes. The yeast would being to froth if it is active. If it doesn’t froth,  it is not active.

–   Combine the coconut milk, sugar and oil.

–   In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt.

–   Mix in the, oil and the yeast, and milk mixture.

–   Mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

–   Turn dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

–   Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn once to coat.

–   Cover and let stand in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour or more .

–   Punch down dough and divide into 3 – 4 equal pieces. Shape the pieces and place them into the greased pan side by side.

–   Let dough rise for 45 – 40 mins minutes, or until almost double.

–   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .

– Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until rolls are golden brown.

Sweet Coconut Bread. Straight out of the oven. The top crust is dry and crackling because it wasn’t glazed with egg wash or butter. And I wanted it just like that.

Enjoy with your favourite soup,  tea or spreads.

I love eating warm bread.

I love looking at the crust inside the bread. Just look at that crust! Yum!
Sweet Coconut bread slices, spread with homemade black currant jam.

Homemade Agege Bread

Homemade Agege Bread

I find it interesting that since I started blogging in 2015, I don’t have a recipe on the blog for Agege bread. Weird right. I have for PaniPopo bread rolls which I absolutely love,you should check the recipe out.

An egbon of mine DM’ed me a few days ago to send her the recipe for Agege bread, that is when I realised I didn’t have it here on the blog. Waawu. I found a picture from 2014 on the Facebook page though.

I’ve dusted my recipe book, typed out the recipe and added a few tips I learnt in the last one year. Like my recipe book contains some bread improvers that I’ve never gelled with, so removed those. Using Vitamin C is a tip I learnt and I’ve explained what it’s used for in the recipe.

Recipe

  • 6 cups all purpose flour (you’d need some more to powder the rolling board, about a cup at least).
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you can half this, I’m a sweet tooth)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1  cup milk
  • 100g – 150g margarine (Can be substituted with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil)
  • 2 large egg (one for dough, one for egg washing)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ascorbic acid ( I crushed 5 tables of white vitamin C to get this). Vitamin C acts as dough improver. It accelerates the rising of the dough and extends the shelf life.

Procedure

  • Sift flour in a large bowl, add sugar, salt, and vitamin c and whisk together. Add the margarine and rub into into the flour till it forms crumbs
  • *Check that your yeast is active. Sometime you buy packet yeast and you may not know it has been exposed and is now not as potent. To do this, add a 1/4 tsp sugar to your yeast, add 3 tbsp of warm water. Leave it for about 3 minutes. The yeast is expected to froth if it is still active, if it doesn’t froth like the foamy top on beer after leaving it for longer than 10 minutes, the yeast is not active
  • In another bowl, mix wet ingredients, one egg, milk water and whisk together
  • Make a hole in the centre of the dry ingredients and add yeast, the mixed wet ingredients to make a dough.You can use a mixer or mix by hand.
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Or keep mixing in your mixer until dough is stretchy and elastic. The key to making great Agege bread is in the kneading. Kneading will activate the gluten that will make the bread stretchy
  • Roll the dough up. Grease a bowl and place the dough in it. Cover and put in a warm place to rise until it doubled. I usually turn the oven on briefly to warm it up and turn off. Then I place the dough inside to rise, takes about an hour for the first rise.
  • When it has risen, deflate the dough and place on a floured surface knead the dough very well, this will knock out all the air from the first rising and will make the dough fluffier and more elastic
  • Divide it into two, roll the dough up to form a loaf and place in a greased baking pan. For this, I placed both rolls, side by side in the same pan
  • Cover with damp kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise the second time.
  • When it has risen, turn the oven on and set to 350 degrees. If your oven doesn’t come with a temperature gauge set the heat to about three notches below the highest.
  • Whisk the extra egg you set aside together. Using a brush, Egg wash the top of the risen dough before you place the dough into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes. About 15 minutes into the bake, you can pull the bread out to give it one more egg wash. If you don’t want the top crust too dark, don’t egg wash.
  • Alternatives to egg wash. You can brush with milk or margarine.
  • You can pass a skewer through the bread to know if it is ready or tap the top to hear a hollow sound.
  • Once it is ready, take it out of the oven, remove from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool.
Cooling on a wire rack , the top crust is a little dark because I double egg washed.
Look at the inside of the bread! Recognise the familiar Agege bread draw! Yum!
A slice of warm Agege bread

I can think of so many ways you can enjoy bread. How do you like yours?

Fries (Dundu, Dodo, Odunkun) with Pepper Stewed Snails

I gave this a little oomph by sprinkling Basil salt on the fries. To make Basil salt, I grabbed some Basil (clove basil which we call patminger or curry leaf in Nigeria) from my garden. I threw it into the dry mill blender with my some Himalayan pink salt and blended together. Now you can use any salt you have at home. And I tossed the fries in the herby salt blend. My crew loved it.

Add fried Akara to this platter and you have the quintessential Lagos street fries combo. Dundu, (Fried Yam) Dodo( Fried Plantain) and Odunkun (Fried Sweet potatoes). 

Peppered Snail recipe is on the blog

This is my first blog post for 2020. I’ve tried to see if I can bring blogging back, but my hands are full. It’s Covid Season and the virus is ravaging the world. To do our part to flatten the curve and heal the world we are social distancing an staying at home.

And as a wife and mum with a little more time on my hands, having partially shut down business, I find I have more time in the kitchen. Scratch that, staying indoors that be nerve wracking so cooking and gardening have been my escape.

Wherever you are in the world. Please stay safe, wash your hands obsessively with soap and water. Use alcohol based hands sanitizer and wipes if you don’t have access to water. Don’t touch your face. Avoid unnecessary contact with wild animals. And if there is a stay home order in your country, please abide and stay indoors.

Eat, Pray and Love.

I would have invited, everybody come and eat, there is enough dundu, dodo, odunkun, pepper stewed snails, sprinkled with basil salt to go round.

But we are social distancing.
Here is something more rustic and street like! Fried Barracuda, Cocoyam,Sweet Potato, Dodo, Yam, Yaji Spice