Money saver tips for Vegetable Fried Rice ingredients

Buying in bulk and storing can save you a ton of money. Every home manager loves to shave off an extra penny here and there from home keeping expenses and this is one of them.

I was at the frozen foods section of a large supermarket chain recently and i saw the price on a bag of chopped vegetables, good lordy. There is no way i was going to parting with that amount of money on imported packaged food, that lord knows what sorts of preservatives is in it.

Fried Rice is a regular meal in my home and i have learnt to save a lot of money by buying my vegetables in bulk and storing in the freezer.

The vegetables in the picture below cost me the following from Mile 12 Market , Ketu Lagos Nigeria.

Carrots 300 naira
Green Pepper 300 naira

Red Pepper 200 naira

Runner Beans 200 naira

Green Peas 300 naira

Spring Onions 200 naira
Total cost 1500 naira.

Green Pepper 300 naira

Red Pepper 200 naira

Runner Beans 200 naira

Green Peas 300 naira

Spring Onions 200 naira
Total cost 1500 naira.

From this amount of vegetables, i will get a total of 6 -600g- bags of vegetables enough to make fried rice for my family of 5 (sometimes more) at least 6 times.

So on the average each pot of fried rice will cost just about 250 naira or less for vegetables.

Procedure.

  • Wash your vegetables properly under running water to get rid of dirt. Peel the carrots, de-seed the peppers, and chop them up separately.

  • Combine all the ingredients in the bowl, toss properly to ensure that the vegetables combine evenly.

* If you want, at this point you can bag it up and store in a freezer at this point.

  • I prefer to season the vegetables so they are ready to use when i want to cook. I season with salt, bouillon cubes,curry, thyme.

  • Toss it well to ensure that the seasoning is well incorporated. Let it sit for 30mins before bagging.

Pack into air tight, freezer bags or polythene bags and freeze till you are ready to use. I’ve stored mine for as long as 2 months in a freezer.

This also saves you a lot of cooking time.

Fried Rice (Nigerian Style)

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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

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– 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

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– Add to cooked rice and stir in with sweet corn and poached eggs

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*Remember if the rice is nearly cooked but still a bit hard, cover with foil or moinmoin leaves and the pot lid to trap steam and cook rice through.

My 6yr old son who doesn’t like to have any vegetables in his fried rice.
What i do is, just before adding the vegetables into the pot of rice, i separate his own add Shrimps and either kidney/ liver or heart. And he loves it.

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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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Tuwo Shinkafa made with a food processor

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Tuwo Shinkafa

One more reason to own a food processor
#newnigeriancookery
For the last five days or there about, I have craved tuwo Shinkafa. I got to make it this afternoon, and instead of sweating it out in front of the heat, trying to mash the rice in the pot I poured it in the food processor.

Recipe / Procedure
1. Long or medium grain rice. Some people use Jasmine rice and it gets soft very fast. Personally  I prefer ofada rice.

2. Enough water to cook the rice till really soft. I cook till as soft as my almost toothless 90 yr old grandma would like it.

3. Once the water has dried out, pour rice in food processor and blend, till all is blended and clumps together.
Note, Tuwo Shinkafa is not very smooth so it may have a slightly coarse consistency.

Enjoy with your favourite soup.
I had mine with Gbegiri and I chuckled when I realised I was eating Rice and Beans in another form.

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Tuwo Shinkafa

Yellow Rice

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Yellow but not so mellow

First time I had this rice was years ago at an aunt’s (not biological but I call her aunt anyway) house. Her  chef made it with smoked chicken, it was unforgettable. I quickly asked the chef for the ingredients but the only thing I remember thereafter was tumeric and ginger. I forgot all about that rice until I saw it today on So you think you can cook -my favourite Facebook food group-.  I knew immediately I had to make it for dinner.

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Recipe
Serves 5
2 1/2 cups Rice
2 tbsp Tumeric powder
1 tbsp Curry powder
3 medium sized fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1/8 cup olive oil
Salt
*Bouillon cubes ( not really necessary)
Green peas and parsley leaves for garnish.

Procedure
Peel ginger and garlic and blend to a paste.
Place a pot with some water on heat, and add the paste, tumeric,  olive oil, curry, salt, let it boil.
Wash rice and pour into pot once water starts to boil.
Cover and let cook till rice is done. Remember the plastic bag tip if the rice still seems hard and the water is almost dry. Add green peas when the water on top of the rice has reduced and you can only see bubbles from the underneath the top surface. This is so as not to over cook the fresh peas.

This rice is packed with a lot of heat, I served with chicken in tomato sauce.  Recipe for Tomato can be found here

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Ofada Rice Stir Fry with Roasted Chicken

Sometime ago in #fitfam land some people where tormenting me with awesome pictures Bulgar Stir fry.  And as I don’t have access to Bulgar I made up my mind I’d do it with Rice. And because I’m weight watching if I have to eat rice , it has to be Ofada Rice for me.

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Who knew Ofada Rice could look this good.

This is quite simple to make.
Recipe
Ofada Rice
Olive (or any Vegetable) oil
Salt
Seasoning cubes
Mixed Vegetables (carrots,green peas,spring onions, red/yellow/green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes)
Locust beans (mashed)
Shredded Smoked fish
Powdered Smoked prawns
Chopped onions.

Cook Ofada Rice rice with a little salt and set aside.
In a wok, heat up about a tbsp of olive, add onions and mashed locust beans, stir till the onion is tender. Then add shredded Smoked fish, keep stiring, then add the mixed vegetables, season with salt, seasoning cubes and powdered smoked prawns. When the vegetables are slightly  tender add the rice and stir into the vegetables.

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Look how the brown on the rice nicely contrasts with all the vibrant colours of the vegetables! You said a healthy meal should be boring

Ofada Concoction Rice

I made this meal on one of those days when I craved for Concoction rice -that life saving meal back in Uni days- it tasted so good.

Recipe
2 cups Ofada Rice
2Red and 5Green scotch bonnet (Ata rodo)roughly blended
*4 Green chill pepper (optional) roughly blended
1/2 cup Chopped onions
1 small Smoked Catfish (shredded)
2tbsp Powdered Crayfish
1 heaped tbsp Iru (locust beans)
5 leaves Efirin (African sweet Basil/ Scent leaf)
2 tbsp Oil (i used coconut oil you may use palm oil or vegetable oil)
1 Seasoning cube
Salt
Water

Wash rice thoroughly and set aside.
In a pot or wok heat oil and add chopped Onions as it starts to fry add roughly blended peppers.
Add washed rice after about a minute and add some water.
In a small mortar pound your iru, chop your efirin finely.
Add salt, crayfish, seasoning cube and iru.
When the rice is al dente add the flaked smoked fish.
Allow the rice to cook and add the efirin leaves , allow the steam from the rice to cook it then stir into the rice.
Cook rice with the lid on the pot.

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*TIP
Don’t add too much water into your rice to cook.  You can start out cooking the rice with just enough water to cook through.  If the water seems to be drying out and the rice is still a bit hard, turn down the heat and cover the top with a plastic bag and put the lid of the pot on it to trap the heat. The steam would finish cooking the rice.

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Ofada Rice with Ayamase Sauce

Ofada Rice is the name loosely used for locally cultivated unpolished rice. In some part of Nigeria it is called Abakaliki rice. Growing up we called it “Oh-my-God” rice, because it was notorious for having tiny pebbles in it that looked like rice, they were so easy to miss even if you picked the rice, it takes a trained eye to find them. You would be enjoying a mouthful and suddenly bite into a pebble, and unconsciously find yourself screaming “Oh-my- God “. The real ofada rice,  from which the name is derived is cultivated in an area in Ogun State, Nigeria, called Ofada. I consider ofada the closest thing to brown rice we have here. Ofada Rice is a party favourite and you are likely to find it served in moinmoin leaves and topped with the Sauce like this.

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Recipe (Serves 5)

•     3 cups Ofada Rice

 •     5 Green bell pepper 

•     10 Green Scotch Bonnet 

•     5 Red Bell Pepper 

•     2 tablespoons Locust Beans 

•     1 tbsp Powdered Crayfish 

•     2 Smoked Fish (shredded) 

•     1/ 2 cup Shredded Stock fish

 •     Tripe  (shaki) 

•     Offals 

•     Ponmo 

•     Beef 

•     Boiled eggs 

•     2 Onions (chopped) 

•     2 cups Palm oil Salt 

•     Seasoning cubes  (i favour Knorr beef cubes) 


Procedure 

RICE

–     Wash Rice properly to get rid of dirts and likely stones. 

–     In a pot on medium heat, add water that is double the amount of rice and slightly parboil the rice and rinse with cold water. Some people may find the earthy smell of ofada rice a little off putting, but it’s okay because all that goes away once the rice is done. 

–     Now return rice to the pot with water just enough to cover the rice, add salt to taste and cook till soft, cook with lid on. To avoid getting mushy rice, you should resist the temptation to add more water. If it tastes hard, simply turn down the heat, cover the rice with a plastic bag and then cover the pot with the lid.  The plastic bag would trap the steam and cook the rice through. Once done, turn off the heat and set aside.
  SAUCE 

While your rice is cooking, prep your ingredients for the sauce.

 –      Rinse your peppers and blend coarsely.

–      In a clean pot parboil the pepper till all the water completely reduces.

–      While boiling your pepper, wash your meats (beef, tripe,offals), season with salt, knorr, onions and cook, I usually take off the heads of my smoked catfish and boil with the meats for added flavour.

–      Soak the stock fish in warm water while the meats cook. 

–      When the meats cook chop into small bits. Save the meat stock. 

–       Bleach palm oil – you do this by heating the palm oil past smoke point, the oil may darken, please do this with the lid on so as not to hurt yourself -.

–      Turn the heat off and let the oil cool, when it has cooled, turn the heat back on and add your chopped Onions and locust beans,  fry till the fragrance of the onions and iru fills the kitchen, now add meats, shredded smoked fish, stock fish, ponmo and fry, once fried, add the blended pepper with stock , taste and if necessary season with just a little more salt. 

–      Cook till all the water in the mix evaporates and the stew starts to fry, depending on the quantity of oil you use, the oil may start to float. Some people add boiled eggs at this point and then turn off the heat.
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The marriage between this sauce and ofada rice was made in heaven, even though the sauce can be eaten with anything else, it can’t be compared with Ofada Rice!
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