Egusi Soup

Yesterday i got my favorite type of fufu, from Oja Odan in Ogun state. So i ditched the traditional Sunday Pounded yam or Fried rice and we had fufu instead, and egusi of cause to go with it.

Recipe

  • 2 cups Egusi (Melon Seeds)
  • Assorted Meats (Cowleg, Goat meat, ponmo, offals)
  • Assorted Fish (Stock fish, Smoked fish)
  • Smoked Fish
  • Ground crayfish
  • 2 cups Thinly sliced Ugu leaves
  • Peppers (4 Scotch Bonnet + 5 Jalapeño/Bawa/Sombo/ long tatashe)
  • 1 Onion
  • Meat Stock (from cooking the meats)
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp Iru (locust beans)
  • 2 cooking spoons Palm oil

Procedure

This is one of the methods i use in preparing egusi.

  • Cook your meats, season with bouillon cubes, salt, ( i like to cook with smoked catfish head for a richer flavour). Cook till tender and well done.
  • While cooking your meats, Rinse your Ugu leaves to get rid of dirt, then slice thinly.Blend your melon seeds with pepper, onion and water. Blend to a smooth consistency.
  • Heat up your palm oil till it reaches smoking point, pour in your blended melon and fry for about 10 mins, don’t let it burn.
  • Now add the rich stock from your meats and allow to cook till the fried melon paste and the stock are well incorporated.
  • Next add crayfish powder,Iru. Taste for seasoning, may not have need to re-season your soup, if your stock is rich in flavour.
  • Cook with lid off to allow the water to reduce faster in the soup.
  • Once the water content has reduced to at least a quarter of what it initially was, add your assorted meats stock fish and other condiments like those listed in the recipe.
  • Cook till the water has reduced completely and the soup won’t run off the back of the soup in a watery manner.
  • Now add your Vegetable, and stir in gently with a ladle. Reduce the heat to the minimum and turn it off after cooking with the vegetables for 3 minutes.
  • Serve with any swallow of your choice.

Edikang Ikong

So i woke up to tend my vegetable garden, which i had left unattended for a about two weeks or a lil more. I wear many hat’s like many people and the month of April right to the first two weeks of May was very busy. First i got NAFDAC approval for my products FDVie Juice yaaay! Then we were vendors at the GTB Food and Drink fair , then renovation of the production facility , plus daily life!

So my garden was overgrown with Waterleaf! I remember my first attempt at planting waterleaf with seeds, i waited many months it didn’t yield until my staff told me to propagate using stems instead. Now the plant is in every pot in the garden, just dispersing its seeds. That means I’d be having a lot of waterleaf soups.

Freshly harvested waterleaf from my container garden

So after pulling out a lot of waterleaf yesterday, i made Edikang ikong

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 800g washed and choppedWaterleaf
  • 500g washed and chopped Ugu leaves
  • Assorted Meats
  • 1 cooking spoon blended pepper mix (Scotch bonnet -ata rodo/Bawa)
  • 3/4 cup palm oil
  • Stockfish
  • Smoked Fish
  • 1 tbsp blended crayfish
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • In a pot, season your meats with salt and bouillon cubes (to your taste) *Don’t* season with onion. Add water and cook till the meat is soft and tender. I usually cook my meats with smoked fish heads for rich flavour

  • When your meat is cooked and the water is properly reduced, add your blended pepper mix and palm oil.

  • Taste to see if it requires additional seasoning, if it does add some more. Add, stock fish, smoked fish, crayfish and cook till the water is reduced completely.
  • When the water is completely reduced and you can see the palmoil glistening on the meats, add chopped water leaves.

  • (Let your washed water leaf and Ugu leaves strain in a seive to allow all the excess water get away, your chopped leaves should be near dry)

  • Stir in properly , the water leaf will wilt into the pot, let it simmer for about 3 minutes
  • Next stir in your Ugu leaves, stir it in well till it incorporates well with the waterleaf.
  • Cook with lid off , on medium heat for an additional 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with your preferred accompaniment.

Please don’t tell my Yoruba ancestors that i almost denounced Efo Riro in favour of this tasty pot of goodness that is native to the Efik people.

Oatmeal swallow

Okra Utazi Surf and Turf Peppersoup

I will file this under comfort food. Slightly spicy, light delicious, something you snuggle up in bed on a cold day to eat.

Utazi is a beautiful aromatic herb and i love the fragrance and the bitterness of it.

I wanted to make a okra peppersoup and i thought it would taste great to pair the heat of the pepper with utazi.


Recipe

Ingredients

  • 250g Cod Fish (You can use any fish of your choice)
  • 2 Large carbs
  • 2 snails
  • 1/2 cup small shrimps
  • 2 tsp of peppersoup spice
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 5 Medium sized Okra
  • 2 green scotch bonnet
  • 2 yellow scotch bonnet
  • 5 Utazi leaves
  • 1 (4cups) litre water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Achi powder (optional)

Instructions

  • Clean and cut your fish into sizes you like. Clean up the rest of your seafood and the snails.
  • Clean your okra, peppers and utazi
  • Cut the okra and the peppers into slices

  • Cut your Utazi into thin slices.

  • Put your fish and snail in a pot, add the pepper soup spice, cayenne pepper, salt, bouillon cubes, with two cups of water. Add half of your pepper slices
  • Cook with lid on, on medium heat till the fish is cooked. Give the snail at least 5 mins headstart before you add the fish.
  • When the fish and snail is cooked add the rest water, bring to a simmer. If you are using achi, add it now.
  • Add your crabs, and the okra. Cook for 3 mins then add the shrimps, utazi and rest peppers. Cook for an additional 3 mins and take it off the heat.

Now serve and tuck in!!!!

Look how gorgeous

Ofe Oha

Oha soup is native to the South Eastern Nigeria. Oha (also spelt and pronounced as Ora) is a delicate vegetable and has a very unique flavour.

The first time I tasted Oha (Ora) soup was in 2009 in the restaurant of the High Court of the FCT. I had gone to court early that day and by lunch time I was famished, especially after sitting through all the proceedings, I was in the mood for something more exciting. Food is exciting, that is why I don’t miss practice.

So back to my story, they had Oha on the menu, I had no idea what it was but I was willing to try. I was hooked!
I remember when I had my son in 2011, I came down with a bad flu, adjusting to my new life as a mum was stressful. My husband’s aunt made me a bowl of spicy Oha Soup. That was the only food I could ingest, it worked like a charm and my appetite came back. I love Oha Soup.

Recipe
Credit; Allnigerianrecipes.com

Ingredients

• Oha leaves a handful

• Cocoyam – 8 small corms or Alternatively 1 1/2 tablespoon of ground Achi

• Red Palm Oil – 2 cooking spoons

• Assorted Beef meats

• Assorted dry Fish

• Fresh peppers (scotch bonnet / habenero /ata rodo) – i like the flavour of fresh Cameroon/Nsukka pepper so i use it. It’s yellow scotch bonnet-.

• Salt to taste

• Crayfish (powdered)

• Bouillon Cubes

• 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (for the traditional taste but optional)

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Procedure

  • Grind pepper and set aside.

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  • Wash and boil the cocoyam corms till soft.
  • Remove the peels and in a blender , blend to a smooth paste you can also use a mortar and pestle , that is the more traditional approach.

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Blended cocoyam.

  • Wash oha leaves. Using your fingers, cut the Ora (Oha) leaves into tiny pieces. It is said that this technique is to prevent the vegetable from becoming darker in colour which happens when you cut the ora leaves with a knife. I’ve tried cutting oha with a knife and it didn’t turn dark, but then i cut and used immediately. I’d say whatever rocks your boat. Set it aside.
  • Season and boil the meats, when then are tender add stock fish and dry fish.
  • Add the pepper, ogiri Igbo and ground crayfish and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cocoyam paste in small lumps and then the palm oil. If using achi, just stir it in, starting with 1 tbsp first. Achi is a thicken and it sometimes has a slightly slippery consistency.

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Ogiri

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  • Cover the pot and leave to cook on high heat till all the cocoyam lumps have dissolved. You can add more water if you feel that the soup is too thick. * Remove smoked catfish Ifyou are using any at this point to prevent disintegration
  • Add the oha (ora) leaves and leave to cook for about 3 – 5 minutes with the lid off.

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Serve with your favourite starchy side dish.

Imoyo Alatasuesue (Spicy Imoyo Stew)

Imoyo is a light watery fish stew. I’m hoping it did the stew enough justice while taking the pictures and editing it, i know i had to work on optics. So I’m wondering if it looks light and fluid enough in the pictures.

Well Imoyo is light and more runny than your regular rice stew, or beef stew.

I like my Imoyo stew to be a little spicy because i find that pepper helps to improve the flavour of fresh fish. I also like to cook my Imoyo with a combination of vegetable oil and palm oil, just because i like that.

Recipe

  • 1 litre blended pepper mix [Tomatoes/Tatashe (Red capsicum)/Ata rodo (red Scotch Bonnet)/Onion] {I use a ratio of 8:2:4 for the pepper mix and you can tweak the pepper quantity depending on how spicy you like it}
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Palm oil
  • 2kg Fresh Obokun (Blue Catfish) – you can use your own fish of choice.
  • Salt
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Stock (optional)

Procedure

  • Clean and salt your raw fish and set it aside while prepping for your stew. Doing this will allow the fish to be seasoned through before adding to your stew. Just salt is okay, no over the top marinate so as not to lose the flavour of the fish and even the flavour of the stew
  • Chop the small onion and set aside.
  • Set a clean dry pot on medium heat and heat up palm oil. As it heats up add the onions and allow it to fry till it sizzles, (you may take it out if you leave it till it crisps) . Add the vegetable oil and let it get hot.
  • Pour in the blended pepper mix. Season with salt and bouillon cubes (i will use 2 cubes)
  • Bring the stew to a boil, the oil and the stew will mix. If you have stock, add it now.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 20 mins with the lid of the pot on. If you cook with lid off, you’d lose steam and water will vaporize from the stew. Remember its a runny stew.
  • Now add your fresh fish, turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 mins with the lid on. Please taste your stew before you add the fish because, when you add raw fish (especially if it isn’t frozen) it can easily disintegrate in the pot.
  • Don’t stir, just shake the pot using it’s handles.
  • *It’s okay to add a little water if you find that your soup is starting to thicken.

Once cooked, turn the heat off. Imoyo gives definition to “Omi Obe “. It pairs well with Ewedu soup, okra soup, and can be eaten as a broth too.

Nkwobi

Nkwobi is a happy hour meal.

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/happy hour 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. Personally I’ve found spicy food to be my alcohol antidote, once i start to feel light headed i hit it with something extra spicy.

Recipe

Ingredients

• 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) – you won’t need this if you are using palm nut cream-

•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 cow foot 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. I prefer to use a pressure cooker to cook the cow foot as it can be tough.

– 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 is served alone accompanied with alcohol or soft drinks but for some reason I also enjoy pairing it with white rice.

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Seafood Ogbono

SEAFOOD OGBONO

I’m in love with seafood and that is no secret. Making this was inspired by making Seafood Okra.

Recipe
1. Ogbono Seeds (a 170g milk tin size)
2. Uziza leaves (a handful of thinly sliced leaves)
3. Assorted Fresh Seafood (shrimps/crabs/prawns/fish)
4. Smoked catfish and stockfish
5. 1/8 cup dried crayfish
6. 1/2 tsp Uziza seeds
7. 5 dried Cameron Pepper
8. Cayenne pepper ( ground dried chilli pepper )
9. 1 tbsp palm oil
10. 1 tbsp ogiri
11. Salt
12. Seasoning cubes

Procedure

I used a slightly different method to cook this. I cooked the Ogbono separately before adding it to a lot of cooked seafood

To cook the Ogbono

  • Grind Ogbono Seeds with crayfish.
  • Blend Cameroon pepper and Uziza seeds together.
  • Rinse Uziza and Ugu leaves .
  • Put a clean dry pot on heat and add palm oil, next add the ground Ogbono and stir till all lumps are dissolved now add your meat stock, if you don’t have meat stock add water. The soup starts to thicken and get stretchy.
  • Now add ground Uziza seeds and Cameroon pepper, and a little cayenne pepper for extra heat -if you can take it-
  • Now add your dissolved -dissolve with water- ogiri, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes now add the Uziza leaves and turn off heat after 3 mins.

Preparing the seafood

  • In another larger pot, cook the seafood starting with the fish, cooked with water, onions, seasoning cubes, salt, shredded stockfish, bonga fish.
  • When the fish is almost done, add the Carbs and cook for 3 mins, then add the Prawns.

At this point pour cooked Ogbono into the pot of Seafood and shake it together to mix.

I stirred very carefully with a wooden ladle , cooked for 5 mins and lastly I added the periwinkle. Cooked for 1 1/2 mins and turned off the heat.

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Ofe Assorted! (An Exotic Soup)

Filing this under food therapies. I’ve called this soup Ofe Assorted because that is what it is, I’ve used the basic principle for cooking soups like Oha, Onugbu, Ofe owerri to make this soup, using 3 of my favourite vegetables together. I have also resisted the temptation of calling this soup Ofe Owerri as I have no intention of offering the “Guardians of ancient recipes”, as that is tantamount to offending the gods of the land.

I have stayed a safe distance from entering right smack into the controversy of what vegetable goes into Ofe Owerri. I understand the importance of preserving ancient recipes, if you must tweak it, by all means mention that you put a spin on it but don’t say that is gospel.

I’m a Yoruba girl raised in Ibadan and I know that something as simple as a Ewedu soup has to be made as simple as it is yo stay true to it. Just Ewedu, iru water, salt ,seasoning and if you want to add potash to soften it. Addition of Egusi , fish and all what else is a spin on it, don’t sell it as the original recipe.

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Oha leaves
  • 1 cup shredded Uziza leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded Utazi leaves
  • 1 litre Stock
  • 3 tbsp fresh pepper blend
  • 1/2 Cup Palm oil
  • Assorted Meats (cooked)
  • 3 tbsp ground crayfish
  • 1/2 cup mini snails
  • 1/2 cup periwinkle in shell
  • 1/2 cup shredded Stockfish
  • 1/2 cup shredded Bonga fish
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked Eja Osan
  • 2 Bouillon cubes (I used knorr)
  • 1 tsp Ogiri (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dried Achi
  • Salt (to taste)

Procedure

  • Cook your assorted meats till they are tender and you have about 1 litre of rich stock. To improve the flavour of your stock for this soup add some Stockfish or smoked fish head while cooking your meats.
  • Add your fresh pepper blend and palm oil, ground crayfish and cook for about 10mins.
  • Next add your smoked fish, stockfish, snails and periwinkle , cook for about 5 – 7 mins.
  • Add your achi , stirring it in carefully . Cook on medium heat for about 3 mins.
  • Add your vegetables, giving the Utazi and Uziza a 2 minutes head start before the Oha.
  • Turn the heat off after cooking it for about 5 mins.

  • Enjoy!!!!

Aganyin Sauce (Ewa Aganyin Sauce)

On the streets of Lagos, Ewa Aganyin and Agege bread is known as the breakfast of champions.

Ewa Aganyin has Beninoise/Togolese roots, it’s a beans pottage meal whose star really is the Aganyin Sauce!

The beans usually cooked to a very soft mush, sometimes mashed to a grainy paste. I prefer Honey beans (Ewa Oloyin) because it is naturally sweet, commercial hawkers have been known to add a bit of sugar for a little sweetness.

This post is about Aganyin Sauce! A real star

Aganyin Sauce

RECIPE

  • 1 1/2 cups sun dried Tatashe (Capsicum / Paprika)
  • 1 cup Sun dried red jalapeño/cayenne peppers (Bawa / Sombo)
  • 10 pieces of fresh bawa (red jalapeno/ cayenne peppers)
  • 2 or 3 medium sized onions
  • 2 tbsp Ground Crayfish (for added flavour you can blend your crayfish with some dried smoked bonga fish)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Seasoning cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups palm oil

Procedure

  • Soak your dried peppers in hot water for about 30 mins to rehydrate and get rid of dirt.
  • Chop one of the onions. Now blend the soaked peppers with fresh pepper.
  • Bleach palm oil -you do this by heating the palm oil past smoke point, please be sure to leave the lid on when you do this so as not to hurt yourself as well as trap most of the smoke in the pot- Turn off the heat and allow the palm oil to cool a bit.
  • Once it is slightly cooled, turn the heat back on and pour the chopped Onions.
  • Allow the onions to fry slightly before pouring in the blended pepper.
  • Now add ground crayfish, salt and seasoning cubes.
  • On medium heat fry till the pepper till the water has reduced completely and you hear a slight sizzle. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn and the pepper cooks evenly.

Yum! Yum!!!

Black Soup  

Bubbling hot Black Soup in an earthen pot

Black Soup is a rich herby soup with a delicate balance of aromatic flavours if well cooked. 

Recipe 

  • 1 1/2 cup blended Bitterleaf (before blending it must have been washed till it is no longer bitter, it would have a little bitter sweet taste 
  • Efinrin leaves 
  • Utazi Leaves 

*combine in this propositions 1 part Efinrin to 1/2 part Utazi Leaves and blend together. You would need 1 Cup of a mixture of this blend to cook with 

  • 2 cups Palmnut Cream (Banga)
  • 1/2 cup blended pepper /onion/crayfish mix (you can use more if you like)
  • Smoked and dried fish variety (obokun,stockfisk, bongafish)
  • Boiled meats (beef or goat meat, cowfoot, shaki, ponmo…)
  • Rich stock 
  • Salt to taste
  • Bouillon cubes. 

Basic Ingredients: (Back-Front, Left-Right) Smoked Eja Obokun (blue catfish), blended washed bitterleaf, blended Utazi and Efirin leaves, blended fresh pepper and dried crayfish, boiled meats of choice, palm nut cream.

Procedure

  • In a pot heat up your stock and add your cooked meats, bring it to a boil and add your palm nut cream and pepper mix.
  • Cook for about 10 – 15 mins.
  • Add the smoked fish and cook. If you pre-soaked the smoked fish you may not cook longer than 3- 5mins, if it is not pre soaked cooked the fish in the soup for about 10mins.
  • Add your blended vegetables to the broth on medium heat and cook. 
  • Taste and add your desired amount of salt and seasoning 
  • Cook with lid off and let the water reduce, be careful also not to over cook the vegetables. Personally I try not to cook vegetables longer than 5-7 minutes. 

Procedure in pictures

Serve with your side of choice. Enjoy

I find the earthen ware gives it a very local appeal.