Homemade Nigerian Roasted Peanuts/Groundnuts

Roasted Peanut or Groundnut as it is called in Nigeria is a very popular snack. I remember hawkers carrying roasted groundnut, dankwa and pop corn in glass cases on their heads, they would use a fork to tap the case and make a rhythmic noise to attract people in the area to come and buy.

Roasted groundnut is also a popular accompaniment to roasted plantain  (Boli  or Bole as it is called) , garri (cassava flakes) soaked in water e.t.c.

It is quite easy to make. This is how I make mine.

Recipe
Raw Groundnuts 
Salt to season

Garri, or Cooking Salt, or Very fine Sand to roast. 

Procedure
– Soak groundnuts in hot water and salt for about 30 mins, then drain in a seive, allow to strain completely. 

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– Fine sand is the most popular thing used locally to roast groundnut. Sand retains heat and also the nuts roast quicker and finer. But I don’t care for that method at all.
My neighbour when I was growing up used salt to make her’s, but I ain’t got annapuna salt to waste. So i used garri.

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I opted to use garri

– Heat an empty pan on the fire and add garri/salt/sand, allow the garri to heat up slighty then add the peanuts.

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– Use a wooden spoon to keep stirring. Stir consistently so as allow for even cooking and to avoid burning. The peanut would start to make a crackling sound like pop corn.
Keep stirring till the sounds stop and the skin looks like it is shrivelled. You can pick one nut and peel and taste, if it still tastes raw keep stirring. Keep checking to see progress if you peel the skin of about 3 picked randomly and it comes out golden brown, it is time to take it off the heat.

– Allow it to cool in garri/salt/sand before you pour it in large perforated seive, seive to separate garri/sand/salt from the peanuts.

– If the groundnut is almost burnt or over roasted quickly take out of the garri/sand/salt as It would keep cooking even after it has been taken off the heat.

– Allow it to cool completely then peel and store in an airtight container.

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Coconut Candy! 

I promised to share this on the How to make coconut oil post. I’ve been pretty busy of late. #lifeofanentrepreneur. So like I mentioned on the Coconut oil post, nothing has to go to waste when making coconut oil, and I have to credit my friend Egbe Lola Ailemen  for opening my eyes to many other possibilities.
This is what you can do with the chaff you get after making coconut oil. I remember when I was little I picked up every “ownerless” kobo around the house to buy coconut candy from the woman who sold it four houses away. Kids and sugar!

Recipe
4 Cups Dessicated Coconut ( that is coconut chaff or some grated coconut flakes )
4 cups sugar
3 cups Water

Optional
* juice of half a slice of lemon
* 1/8 tsp salt

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Put all your ingredients in a wok or pot and allow to boil. It would boil till it starts to thicken and finally all the water dries out.

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At this point, start stirring constantly till it starts to turn brown then a rich golden brown.

While candy is boiling lay some foil or cling film or parchment paper on a baking tray or flat surface or normal tray.

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When you have gotten a rich golden brown colour, turn off the heat and pour out of the wok or pot and unto your surface. Spread it well across the surface (you can spread it thick or thin)

Use a clean sharp knife to score the candies while they are still hot, then cut it through when it becomes warm and allow to cool completely.

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*Warning! NOT SUITABLE FOR WEIGHT WATCHERS! Lol

Enjoy.

Ipekere (Plantain Chips)

How to make Ipekere

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i made these whilst the boys were watching a football match

Use unripe plantains.

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Light green plantain, my personal preference

I prefer the light green type as the plantain is easier to peel and it tastes slighty sweet.

–    Cut plantain by making four vertical slashes on the sides and lift the peel.

–    Using a potato peeler (I favour a potato peeler)or a small sharp knife slice in your preferred shape. It has to be very thin slices, you achieve this better with a potato peeler.

–    Using a deep pan, heat the oil till very hot and fry.

Try dipping the slices in individually, they stick together if it is dumped in at once, and the chips take on the shape they entered the oil in.

–    For added flavour you can fry onions and fresh ginger along side or sprinkle, cayenne pepper or ginger or onion powder on the plantain slices before you fry.

–    Fry chips till golden brown, take out and strain in a seive lined with a paper towel.  If you didnt add any spices before frying, toss with some salt and pepper or salt and ginger or any other desired spice. 

–    If the oil is well strained you can keep in an airtight container for as long as 3-8 days. For large batches I fry lightly brown and after frying and straining I lay in an oven pan and allow it to dry a little bit in the oven. It is more crispy and crunchy and the shelf life is longer.

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Ipekere with my favorite 5 Chillies Jam

SECRET TO GREAT AKARA BALLS.

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Good ol’ Akara
We all have several different methods for making the ultimate akara balls but this is my own personal tip.
Believe it or not as simple as it is to make Akara it has the power to disgrace even the best cooks if you break certain rules.

RULE 1.
Never add too much water in grinding
I remember when I was young when we wanted to grind peeled beans for Akara my mum sent us to the Mill with 2 separate bowls. One to collect the milled beans and the other for the water, so as not to add too much water to the beans.
NEVER let your beans paste be runny it would be impossible to redeem the akara as it would definitely turn out flat.

RULE 2.
Incorporate enough air
I have found that the chief key to achieving puffy fluffy akara balls is in the mixing. Mixing well allows enough air to be incorporated into the paste.
If you have a hand mixer or stand mixer your life has been made easy. Just use the whisk attachment and mix it for 10 – 15 minutes at medium speed or mix till the paste doubles in size.
If the paste is too watery from the start, incorporating too much air is a recipe for soggy, very oily akara, it would rise fair enough, but it will become like a sponge that has soaked  oil.
If you don’t have any of the above get ready to work those arms. Mix till fluffy.

 

*Personal tip
I don’t blend my onions or pepper with my beans. I roughly blend it separately and add salt and seasoning.
When the beans paste is fluffy add the roughly blended and seasoned pepper. What I do is that like with sponge cake I fold the pepper mix in three additions so as not to allow the paste deflate.

 

RULE 3.
Fry in a deep pan.
I have found that using deep pans instead of shallow pans give better result. So i always use a deep pan to fry my akara balls. Deep frying helps your balls to come out better.

*Please Note :
The oil must be HOT! This is a trick I learnt years ago. Put a very tiny drop of water in oil when you put it on fire. As the oil heats up it starts to make a little noise, you’ll know your oil is hot when the oil stops sounding.

I have tried several methods in the past including adding eggs to the paste and I have decide to stick to this method and it has never failed me.
Give this a try and give me feed back.
Enjoy.

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TIPS FOR COOKING CATFISH

TIP 1

To prevent your catfish from disintegrating in your pot of soup. After cutting and gutting your catfish, wash properly to get rid of slime. Boil some water and pour over the fish to cover the fish. The fish would immediately firm up. Leave in hot water for about 2 minutes and pour cold water and rinse. The hot water would allow whatever slime is left on the body to congeal so you can easily rinse it off.  Then put catfish into your soup or stew 5 – 15 minutes before you take it off the heat.

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Blue Catfish ( Eja Obokun) in Light Pepper stew

TIP 2

After cutting and gutting your fresh catfish, wash properly to get rid of the slime. Salt and put in the freezer for at least a day or overnight. The freezing firms the fish up. Add to you nearly cooked pot of soup or stew.

Tip 3

Fried Catfish!!

Personally I think this is the best way to eat fresh catfish. Nothing beats the taste of fried catfish, whether in soups or stews or as a side dish or main dish or garnish, fried catfish holds its own any day. This is how I make mine. Fresh Catfish Vegetable oil Flour (all purpose is best but, I use any I find in the house) Salt Seasoning and spices of your choice. Wash your fresh catfish thoroughly to get rid of the slime, I wash under a running tap, some people use salt or lime. I use only water from the tap till I feel no slime. Then season with your favourite spices and salt. For this I used cayenne pepper (ground dried pepper/ ata gigun ) some orange juice, one single knorr cube and salt.  I marinated it for a little over an hour in the fridge -it doesn’t have to be in the fridge- To fry Heat oil till really hot , pour in some flour -about a handful- , stir the flour into the oil so it doesn’t curdle up, after about 10 secs put in the marinated catfish and fry to your desired crisp. You can turn the sides of the catfish after each side has fried for about 1 min. *if you are frying a large batch the flour might change colour. If it gets darker than golden brown, decant the oil and take out the burnt flour, you can return the oil to the heat and add fresh flour to fry the next batch.  Voila! enjoy your Eja Aro/Point and Kill/Catfish

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Fried Catfih

TIP 4

Pan Seared Catfish VERY VERY SIMPLE to make For this I used Catfish Fillet (I fillet it myself ) 1/2 tsp Alligator Pepper (Ata re) 1 dried Cameron pepper (also called Ghana Pepper by the market vendors) Salt 1/4 tsp Olive oil  In a small mortar or coffee grinder, crush/blend the alligator pepper and Cameroon pepper. Mix with the right amount of salt you intend to use. Make slashes on one side of the fish fillet. Place fillet on a flat surface and rub the spice mix on both sides. Set aside for at least 30mins (I placed mine in the fridge ). When ready to cook, heat up a non-stick pan, once it is hot , take off the heat and use a pastry brush to rub olive oil on the pan, return to the heat and put in the fish. Turn the heat down completely and allow each side to cook for at least 3 mins or until the side is browned before you flip it. Sear both sides. The taste and aroma is awesome. *Note you can use any spice you chose if you don’t have alligator pepper or Cameroon pepper. Enjoy

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Pan Seared Catfish rubbed with alligator peppers.

Tips for making Soft Crunchy ChinChin

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Chinchin is a very popular and one of the easiest to make snack in Nigeria. I do not know of its origin.
But I have come to find that some of the easiest things to make are also the easiest to make a mess of.
Many people have been struck by the “curse” of hard chinchin, even after following a recipe to the letter. It’s easy to blame the recipe, the ingredients, tweak it without much difference.
This pictorial post should guide you.

Let’s Start with a basic  recipe first

Basic Chinchin Recipe
5 cups flour
150g Margarine (you can add more if you want really soft chinchin)
100g – 150g Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon or grated nutmeg 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk (you may mix powdered milk with water)

In a bowl combine all dry ingredients

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Next lightly work in the margarine into the flour with your fingers till till it looks like breadcrumbs

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Make well in the center and add wet ingredients. Mix all together till it all binds the mixture must not be sticky. This is where you apply the golden rule!

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GOLDEN RULE.
DO NOT KNEAD (OR OVER WORK ) YOUR FLOUR !!!

Most of the flour available in Nigerian markets have a high gluten level and when you knead you activate the gluten and this would make your chinchin turn out hard instead of soft and crunchy.

*Quick note about gluten
Gluten is responsible for elasticity of dough, which is perceived as chewiness. The difference between bread, quickbread (muffins/scones), and cake is largely due to the difference in gluten formation, with cake having the lowest amount and bread having the highest

See how to handle your dough

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Make into a ball and let your chinchin rest on a counter top or fridge for at leat 30 mins before you cut.

Divide into small balls
On a flour dusted board roll out the dough, using a cookie cutter, cut into your preferred lengths or shapes. Continuously dust the board so the dough doesn’t stick to it.
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Deep fry in moderately hot vegetable oil until golden brown

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Quick Tip
If you live outside Nigeria where the flour is sold in labeled packs, I’d recommend Cake Flour for your chinchin,  if you don’t have cake flour, use you All Purpose Flour but do not over work it. Stay away from Bread Flour if you want to make chinchin.

How to make Peanut Butter

Welcome to another one of my how-to series.
Today I’d be showing you very easy ways to make your own peanut butter. I promise you, you’d dump the store bought brands once you know how to do this. Making peanut butter is as simple as ABC. In fact I have never bought a jar of peanut butter with my money.

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This is what you need to know.
Ingredient
Roasted Peanut -we call it groundnut-

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Optional ingredients
Honey
Cayenne pepper
(I didn’t use any of these optional ingredients.)
Ehu Seeds (Calabash Nutmeg) if you are looking for traditional tasting peanut butter like the one Igbo people serve with garden egg.

Procedure
Get out the dry mill of your blender.
If you are not sure about the freshness of your peanuts turn it into a dry frying pan and stir fry on low heat for about 3-5mins. To avoid rancidity. Do not burn .

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Allow to cool if you did the re-heating

Then pour into your dry mill and blend on medium speed. In 15 seconds  most of your nuts would be crushed and it would have released it’s oil.

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Use a spatula to scrap the sides and stir slighty.

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If you wish to add honey or pepper, this would be the time to add it.

Then blend again at high speed for about 45 secs or as long as it would take to get it to a smooth slightly runny paste.

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Store in a air tight container

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Voila there your have your own peanut butter.

How to make Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the world’s healthiest cooking oils. This is a pictorial on how to make yours.

STEP 1.

First step is to break coconut and take out the flesh from the shell and rinse
First step is to break coconut and take out the flesh from the shell and rinse

STEP 2.

Grate / Blend / Grind your coconut flesh. If you grate it you might need to add some water. If you blend or grind it you'd definitely use water to blend you may or may not need more water
Grate / Blend / Grind your coconut flesh. If you grate it you might need to add some water.
If you blend or grind it you’d definitely use water to blend you may or may not need more water

STEP 3.

Get a clothe seive (or cheese cloth depending on your location) the type used to seive ogi.
Get a clothe seive (or cheese cloth depending on your location) the type used to seive ogi.

STEP 4.

Using a cloth seive strain the Milk from the chaff. Then allow it to sit covered for a few hours. You might put it in the fridge too. This would allow the water settle to the bottom and the cream float to the top and you can use a scoop spoon to scoop it out
Using a cloth seive strain the Milk from the chaff. Then allow it to sit covered for a few hours. You might put it in the fridge too. This would allow the water settle to the bottom and the cream float to the top and you can use a scoop spoon to scoop it out
This is the coconut chaff. It doesn't have to go to waste you may spread in a tray till it dries or oven dry it and store in an airtight container. Then it becomes your desiccated coconut, if you blend the desiccated coconut it becomes coconut flour which you can use in cakes, candies, biscuits etc. I would be posting pictures of my coconut candy in a fresh post shortly
This is the coconut chaff. It doesn’t have to go to waste you may spread in a tray till it dries or oven dry it and store in an airtight container. Then it becomes your desiccated coconut, if you blend the desiccated coconut it becomes coconut flour which you can use in cakes, candies, biscuits etc. I would be posting pictures of my coconut candy in a fresh post shortly

Recipe for coconut candy can be found here

STEP 5.

This is what the coconut cream would look like, floating on top of the bowl. I kept this in the fridge so it congealed.
This is what the coconut cream would look like, floating on top of the bowl. I kept this in the fridge so it congealed.

STEP 6.

Molds of congealed cream in a pot. Now cook.  I prefer to use a coal pot for this because of the boil time and fuel it consumes. This is because I make large quantities. You can however use your gas or electric stoves
Molds of congealed cream in a pot. Now cook. I prefer to use a coal pot for this because of the boil time and fuel it consumes. This is because I make large quantities. You can however use your gas or electric stoves
Water left at the bottom of the bowl. I didn't use too much water to extract the milk. You can use this to cook coconut rice or any of your favorite sauce.
Water left at the bottom of the bowl. I didn’t use too much water to extract the milk. You can use this to cook coconut rice or any of your favorite sauce.

STEP 7.

After heating up the cream for a while the moisture escapes, the cream starts to curdle and the oil separates. Once most of cream has curdled and the water has dried out -curdled milk may turn brown and start to fry- out turn off the heat and scoop out your oil. You may use you seive cloth here again to squeeze out whatever oil in left in the curdled milk.
After heating up the cream for a while the moisture escapes, the cream starts to curdle and the oil separates. Once most of cream has curdled and the water has dried out -curdled milk may turn brown and start to fry- out turn off the heat and scoop out your oil. You may use you seive cloth here again to squeeze out whatever oil in left in the curdled milk.
Coconut Oil smells so goood.
Coconut Oil smells so goood.

There you got it! Your pure unadulterated, coconut oil.