Can you tell I’m enjoying cooking in my new set of earthenware pots. If you read the blog post before this one, you’d know what an adventure it was.
I have two other posts on Ogbono on the blog on Ogbono but both are with vegetable. My son loves Ogbono but both him and his dad love their Ogbono without vegetables. So I find myself compromising a lot and cooking without vegetables for them. Still very flavorsome. And goes with any swallow.
Though the seeds of the Bush Mango ( common names wild mango, African mango, bush mango, dika, odika, modika, Òro, andok or ogbono) are more popularly called “Ogbono”, the yorubas call it “Apon”.
I’ve always described Ogbono soup as “draw soup” which is the local lingo for soups with this kind of viscosity, like Okra soup. I just learnt the more apt word is “mucilaginous”. A mouthful right, but less offensive than slimy.
Ogbono is one of those soups that the flavour greatly improves when it has been left untouched overnight. I typically don't pack mine into the freezer for storage until the next day.
- Ogbono Seeds (a 170g milk tin size)
- Assorted Meats (tripe/ponmo/meat)
- Assorted Fish (smoked catfish / stockfish)
- ⅛ cup crayfish
- ½ tsp Uziza seeds
- ½ tbsp Cameron Pepper
- Cayenne pepper ( ground dried chilli pepper )
- 1 tbsp palm oil
- 1 tsp ogiri
- Season and cook your meats with the head of the smoked catfish, and some stockfish. This gives you a very rich stock. Cook meats till tender and reserve the stock.
- Rinse stock fish with hot water, if a little tough soak in salted warm water. Shred catfish is you desire. Don’t discard the extra heads, save it for you cooking meats for added flavour.
- Toast uziza seeds slightly in pan with the Ogbono seeds, till they pop slightly
- Grind Ogbono and uziza seeds with crayfish.
- Put a clean dry pot on medium 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 viscous.
- Now add ground cayenne and cameroon pepper. These peppers pack heat so use only as much as you can handle.
- Taste the soup, if you used stock you may not need to add any more seasoning if not add some.
- Dissolve ogiri with water and add to cooking soup.
- Add meats and fish and allow to cook for about 15 minutes with lid off.
- If the soup is too viscous, add some water to thin it out.
- Let it simmer for 3 minutes then turn the heat off.
Enjoy with your favourite accompaniment.
I took my kid sister on a little shopping adventure. Recently my son remarked that he was getting metallic smells and tastes from the stew I made. I’ve used the same set of pots for 11 years now so I couldn’t tell if indeed it changed the taste of my stew. When I reached for my earthen pots, I didn’t find them, that’s when remembered my last nanny had accidentally broken one, and I had converted the other that had a leak to a planter.
So off I went to the market with my kid sister. I didn’t tell her where I was going because she would have freaked. The section of the market that sells Earthen wares, also doubles as market for local and traditional medicine products as well as “voodoo” paraphernalia. My sister was petrified, live tortoise, pigeons, chameleons, lizards, snails, cats…
Dead and mummified civet cat, porcupines, all sorts of birds, cat heads, horse head, large alligator heads
Fresh and dry bundles of herbs, seeds, metals, stones, cowries…
In this market there are undocumented traditions and herbal recipes, guarded by the the sellers and keepers. Handed down only by word of mouth, scoffed at by the “uninitiated”.
Before you use an earthenware pot for the first time, you have to "Season" it. Check online for seasoning procedures.
I seasoned my pots yesterday before cooking in it today. In my opinion the best earthen pots in Nigeria come from somewhere in Delta state, and my next set of purchases will be from there.
Now to the recipe.
Mackerel Fish is called any of the following in open markets in Nigeria, Titus, Alaran, Scumbia
- 1 kg Deboned shredded Smoked Mackerel
- 8 cups of pepper mix roughly blended (that is about 2 litres). Use your preferred ratio of Tomatoes + Bawa + Rodo
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- A generous amount of Iru woro (Locust Beans)
- 2 cups or more palm oil (to be honest I eyeballed this part, I poured till I thought it was sufficient
- Ground crayfish
- Ground smoked fish
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Ginger powder
- ½ tbsp Garlic powder
- Salt to taste
- Set a clean dry pot on medium heat. Pour palm oil, cover the pot with lid and let it bleach lightly.
- Turn heat down, take of lid and add chopped onions and Iru.
- Stir fry till onions are tender and start to slightly caramelise at the edges.
- Add blitzed pepper mix and fry with lid off for 7-10 mins on medium heat.
- Cook with lid on for an additional 10 mins.
- Add seasonings, ground crayfish, ground smoked fish, black pepper, ginger powder, garlic powder, salt. Taste and adjust seasoning where necessary
- Allow the water from the peppers to reduce down completely before adding deboned shredded mackerel.
- Simmer all together and take off the heat when it is ready.
Serve with White Rice (cook your white rice with about a tbsp of coconut oil, you will love it), boiled yam, boiled or fried plantain, white bread…