Ofe Onugbu

In recent times I’ve done very little “cooking”, most meals have consisted of quick fixes, take outs or otherwise cooked by someone else. I had a rough start this year. Thankfully it’s been rough for the right reasons, Growth in my  business Fontaine De Vie. Shortage of man power,  break down of some machinery welcomed the growth, it was a gruelling time because we just had to meet up. I went from a production staff strength of 5  to 1 coupled with no domestic staff to help with the home front, I found myself borrowing more hours  from the next day  only to fall short. It’s amazing how my health didn’t fail in all of this. I made it through and  I’m grateful  for the lessons I learnt during the phase.  Challenges are made to strengthen  you, it won’t break you if you don’t let it. 
Ofe Onugbu recipe is the same as that of Oha, only difference is the leaves, Oha and Onugbu (Bitter Leaf). I’m a yoruba girl who loves to cook eastern and south eastern soups, a little more pepper than the traditional requirement and I’m good!

Ingredients

•     Onugbu leaves (Bitter Leaf) a handful

    Thickeners 

•    Cocoyam – 8 small corms

Or

•    Achi (2 Tablespoons *powdered)

Or

•    Ofor  ( 2 Tablespoons *powdered)

•    Red Palm Oil – 2 cooking spoons

•    Assorted Beef meats

•    Assorted dry  Fish

•    Fresh peppers (scotch bonnet / habenero /ata rodo)

•    Salt to taste

•    Crayfish (powdered)

•   Bouillon Cubes

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

Procedure

–    Grind pepper and set aside.

image
Blended Pepper

Achi on the left, Ofor the right, ground mixture of both in front

*If using Cocoyam

–    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.

image
Mashed Cocoyam using a blender

–   Personally I buy, bitter leaves that have been washed in the market. However when I get home I pour boiling hot water over the bitter leaves and leave it steep for about a minute and strain, a friend advised I use salt to just wash it a little more instead of using hot water,  to get rid of more of the bitterness. Now you may prefer to buy your own Bitter Leaf fresh , and wash from the scratch, I think it is tedious, but hey whatever rocks your boat. Set it aside.

–   Season and  boil the meats, when then are tender add stock fish and dry fish.

image

–    Add the pepper, ogiri Igbo and ground crayfish and cook for 10 minutes. Now add either Achi/Ofor powder mix or the cocoyam paste in small lumps then the palm oil

See Pictures below.

image
Ogiri

image

image
image

–    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 if you are using any at this point to prevent disintegration

–    Add the washed Onugbu (bitter) leaves and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.

* Ever since the Igbo woman who sells  me spices adviced I use a combination of Achi and Ofor instead of Cocoyam, I have come to fall in love with it. The smoothness, the consistency, the taste, is so different from what I get with cocoyam.  I love it.

Serve with your favourite starchy side dish. E.g Eba, Amala, Pounded Yam,  even Rice.

Isi Ewu

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 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.

I’d be sharing the recipe for Nkwobi and Isi Ewu in this post. The recipe for both is the same but for the meats used.
Nkwobi  – Cow Leg

Isi Ewu –  Goat head (i have often used just smoked goats meat instead of the head.)

I have often used the recipe I found on allnigerianrecipes.com, but I have a few tips. There is an on going argument as to how safe it is to consume Kaun ( potash) or the local potash. I figured that the idea behind adding Kaun is to get the palm oil to alter in colour,  cuddle and thicken, pretty much like palm nut cream. Right? So I went for palm nut cream instead and it worked, turned out really great.

image
Isi Ewu made with Palm oil

image

image
Isi Ewu made with Palm Nut Cream

image

  Recipe

Ingredients 

•      Goat head/ Goat head /  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)

•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 meat 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.

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

image
Isi Ewu made with Palm oil

image

image

image

Peppered Meats.

Hello blogsville, it has been a while since I put up a new post. Please blame on the vacation months and the back to school scurry. I also took a bit of time to get by my kitchen mojo, life as a wife/mom/entrepreneur/ foodie.

For some reason I’ve been reliving some memories of secondary school.  I think it started when Le hubs called, that he was craving fried turkey. He was only less than 10 minutes  from home and I’m not one to stock frozen turkey at home. So I sent an assistant to dash to a store nearby and get me a kilo.

I attended “The International School, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. ” (Set of 2002) It’s called ISI for short.
You see in ISI , break time was a bit of a funfair. We had the stalls, close to the basketball court and we would all troop out of our classes to observe the rituals of break time. The girls would sashay in groups pretending not to see the guys stealing glances at them. At each stall it was sometimes a bit of an “unconscious” show of spending prowess. My favorite stall was Iyawo’s stall, she was the wife to the school Tanker driver, the woman seemed to pop an new baby every year. She was pleasant and had most of the sweet treats I used to buy. Now there was the Meat Pie Stall, all they sold I think was meat pies and doughnuts, and there was the Fan Ice Vendor under the Almond tree by the Basketball court who sold all the Fan Ice products; yoghurt,  fan orange, ice cream. … now there was this woman who was there only through my early JSS days who used to sell peppered bite – sized  meats. That meat was to die for , deep fried, with the right amount if hot habernero pepper and onions. 
Below is my attempt to react her peppered meats. (See Recipe below the turkey pictures)

image

image

image

Then they was Mrs Alabi,  who was the biology teacher’s wife,  she didn’t have a stand at the stalls but she ran business from their apartment which was above the boys dormitory. Her husband was the House Master for the boys dormitory. Mrs Alabi sold fried turkey and Zobo drink. Her fried turkey was quite high end, so if your parents were not rich or your break money was not above 100 naira a day, you can’t afford to buy Mrs Alabi’s turkey.
There was something that gave Mrs Alabi’s peppered turkey a different taste . I tried severally then to re – create it back at home then using only a mixture of salt and Cayenne Pepper. It just didn’t taste right.

So you can imagine how lucky I felt two days ago when I struck the proverbial gold. A little bit of Yaji and I had my own version of Mrs Alabi’s turkey.

image

Below is the recipe for the two.

Mrs Alabi’s Turkey

Recipe.

•      1 Kg of Turkey

•      2 wraps of double Knorr Chicken Cubes  (or any chicken bouillon cubes you prefer)

•      1 tsp of Cayenne pepper (ground dried pepper/ata gigun)

•      1/2 tsp Salt

•      1 medium sized onion.

•      *optional curry powder and dried thyme

•      Vegetable oil for frying

•      1 tbsp Yaji  (aka Suya Spice) for sprinkling

Procedure

–      Marinate the turkey in salt, pepper, onions and all the other spices for at least 30 minutes.

–      Parboil the turkey in the marinate for a few minutes ensuring not to over cook the turkey as turkey tends to cook very quickly.

–      Once the turkey is cooked , fry the turkey till golden brown.

–      Take out of the oil and strain on a paper towel .

–       Healthier option would be to grill the turkey after marinating.

–      Then sprinkle the Yaji all over the turkey.

Enjoy with a chilled drink.

image

Recipe for Peppered Meats.

•      250 grams bite sized beef bits

•      1 cup blitzed pepper mix (tomatoes, red bell pepper, red habernero ) depending on your heat tolerance,  you can decide to either use more or less habernero)

•      1 medium onion. (Chopped )

•      2 (beef)Bouillon Cubes

•      Salt  to taste.

•      * Cayenne pepper.

•      *optional , Curry powder, dried thyme less than a teaspoon of each.

•      Vegetable oil to fry

Procedure

–      Cook your meat with chopped onions, salt, bouillon cubes, a bit of Cayenne pepper, curry and thyme of you choose.

image

–      When the meat is cooked and tender, strain it from the meat stock and fry.

image

image

–      In the meat stock, add the pepper mix and taste if it requires additional seasoning.

–      Set your fried meat aside until the  pepper is properly cooked, add a tsp of the oil used in frying the meat, add the fried beef and stir it in completely.
Garnish with chopped onions and pepper.

–      Enjoy with a chilled drink.

image

Thai inspired Nigerian Fried Rice

When your nigerian fried rice game is tight, you have no fear of trying a few tweaks and tricks.

image

For my last fried rice,  I was inspired by the use of Lemon grass and Coconut in Thai dishes, so I cooked something I’ve cooked severally before but I haven’t blogged about.

For my Nigerian Fried Rice Recipe please click on this link HERE

If you want to recreate this, this is what you need to know

image

1.    I replaced vegetable oil with coconut oil

2.    I cooked the rice with Lemon Grass blades, to infuse it with lemon grass flavour

3.    As I do with my fried rice,  I fried, bay leaf ginger and garlic in the oil till it burned and I removed it before adding the rice.

All steps and Procedure remain and you can read all about it in the original Fried Rice post.

image

image

Igbindodo ; A dish of Snails and Plantain

image

In my earlier post about Gizdodo,  I had described Gizdodo as the marriage between Gizzard and dodo made in plantain heaven!  If you love snails half as much as I do, then you’d love this Igbindodo.
Igbin being the Yoruba word for snails. Dodo is fried plantain in Yoruba too

image

image

Recipe

•    1 Kg well cleaned Snails

•    6 Ripe Plantains

•    2 Large Onions

•    4 Tomatoes

•    Jalapeño peppers ( Bawa / Sombo / long tatashe ) As many as you want depending on how much heat you can handle. I used more than 10 pieces

•    2  large sweet bell peppers (i used Green and Red)

•    1 1/2 cups chopped Carrots

 

•    Scotch Bonnet  (Ata rodo) as many as you want

•   * 1 cup meat stock (optional)

•    2 Bouillon Cubes (knorr beef cubes in this instance)

•    Salt to taste

•    Vegetable oil ( to fry )

Procedure

–    Dice, marinate Snails with cayenne pepper  (ground dried pepper ), salt and bouillon cubes for at least 30 mins, and fry till done.

–     While your snails are marinating, prep you other ingredients. Coarsely blended your tomatoes, onion and peppers. You can use as little or as much of any of these ingredients. What we want to get is at least 2 1/2 cups of the coarsely blended pepper. Chop you bell peppers.

–     Dice up your plantains and fry till golden brown and set aside. (I like to fry my plantain first and use the same oil to fry the snails )

–     Using some the oil you fried the snail in, in a pot or wok add the pepper blend, add 1 cup of *meat Stock,  taste for seasoning, if necessary season a little more. Cook with lid off, till the water is reduced, add the fried snail allow to cook till the water is completely reduced and the pepper starts to fry in the oil, turn the heat down a notch, then carrots, giving it a 5 minute head start before adding chopped bell peppers.

–     Turn the heat down stir the fried plantain and stir in using a wooden or plastic spoon/ladle  so as not to mash up the plantain.

–     Stir in well and turn off the heat. Serve warm.

image

image

Mango Syllabub

image

Nothing major, just another way a mango junkie is expressing her love for mango

image

Recipe

Ingredients

•    Condensed milk

•    *Coconut milk

•    Mango Juice/Smoothie

•    Heavy Whipping Cream

•    Lemon  juice

•    *Rum

•    Vanilla extract

Note:
*optional items

Procedure

Spoon them into cup in this order

Bottom layer
Condensed milk and Coconut milk mix

Middle Layer
Mango Juice / Smoothie

Top Layer

Whipping Cream topped with a wild berry!
Add a dash of lemon or some *rum to the heavy cream while whipping. Add some vanilla extract.  Let it rest in a fridge for about 30 minutes be putting on the mango.

Leave in the freezer for 30 mins – 1 hr to set. That’s all, simple dessert

image

image

PaniPopo; Coconut Bread Buns

image

This bread is so dear, I tell ya. Bless the south Pacific Islands for gifting the world this bread. Not even sure where the bread is original to, Samoa, Hawai  or the Rhodes Islands. I really don’t care. I love it. I discovered this bread a little over a year ago, after Phisayo Ade shared the recipe. Ever since I’ve been hooked.

image

Recipe

Ingredients

•   1 cup milk

•   1/3 cup white sugar

•   1/3 cup butter

•   1 tablespoon active dry yeast

•    4 cups all-purpose flour

•   1/2 teaspoon salt

•    2 eggs

•    2 tablespoons coconut oil

•   1 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk

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 milk, sugar and melted butter and oil.

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

–   Mix in the eggs, oil and the yeast, and butter 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 8 – 12 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place them into the greased pan side by side.

image

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

–   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .

–   Pour Coconut milk over the risen bread buns. And sprinkle some granulated sugar over the top of the bread

image

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

image

Enjoy with your favourite soup,  tea or just butter. Tastes great when it is till warm.

image image

Soft fluffy and very delicious.

Creamy Surf Soup (Fisherman’s Soup)

The secret is out! I love seafood!! When Le Hubs and I were courting, he told me he believed he was allergic to seafood. The reasons he gave for believing so were quite vague. He’d eat fish and meals cooked with dried and smoked shrimps/prawns et al and he won’t react, it didn’t take long for me to realise it was just his mind because he didn’t particularly like what seafood except fish looked like. Needless to say, this right here is his favourite seafood soup, served with bread rolls. Last Night I served with Pani Poopo a Samoan Coconut Bread!

image

This is soooooooo easy to make! !

image

Recipe

Ingredients

•   1 kg  Fish (personal  preference Cod or Hake)

•   1 Kg Jumbo Prawns  (shelled and devined) •   Periwinkle *out of shell(le hubs is not a fan so I substituted with Snails)

•   Snails

•   Crabs

•   Calamari

•   1 Can Evaporated Milk

•   Seasoning Cubes

•   1/8 Cup Flour

•   20 g Butter

•   *1 tbsp vegetable oil

•   1 medium sized Onions

•   Stock (from the boiled fish)

•   4 Yellow Scotch Bonnet pepper (Milled) * You can use red but I love the heat and the flavour of this.  If you live in Nigeria, the igbo women who sell soup ingredients know it as fresh Cameroon pepper. If you live abroad you’d find yellow habenero pepper, please use only one, that pepper packs on too much heat for you to use more than 1

image

image

Procedure

–   Make sure all your sea food and snail is properly washed and cleaned.

–   Season, boil, snail and fish. Debone and flake the fish

–   Chop onions

–   Melt butter in a pot on fire, add a liitle oil to prevent the butter from burning. If using margarine you don’t need oil.

image

–   Add chopped onions and fry not to colour,  add flour to it and stir to make a white roux. (white roux is a mixture created by cooking flour and butter as a thickening agent).

image image

–   Remove roux from fire and pour hot  stock in it, making sure it does not form lumps, add more stock or water if too thick. If it forms lumps you can remove and sieve.

–   Put back on fire, allow to simmer for 10 mins when removing the scum then season  with salt, seasoning cubes, pepper and  evaporated milk

image

–   Add snail, and all your seafood, leave to simmer for about 15mins and add flaked fish. Turn off the heat. Serve hot soup with bread rolls.

image image

Almond Milk

image

Since I made Almond Milk for the first time, I fell in love with it and I’ve made it several more times. In compliance with my diet routines I have had it more frequently in the last few days.

If you are on a diet, here are some of the dietary benefits of Almond Milk

Almond milk is a beneficial addition to a diet geared toward weight loss or weight management.   Almond milk is also high in fiber.
A glass of almond milk contains nearly one gram of fiber per 8oz. serving, and fiber is important for healthy digestion.

Plain, original almond milk provides only 60 to 70 calories per cup, and it’s:

Low in protein, providing only 1 to 2 g per cup,

Low in fat 2.5 g

Has 0 g saturated fat

Only 8 g carbohydrates
(culled from thescienceofeating.com)

Recipe

Ingredients

•    Almonds (untoasted, unsalted)

•     *Dates (or Honey)to sweeten  (optional)

•    Vanilla extract 

•    Water

Procedure

–    Soak dried unsalted Almonds for 8 – 12 hours or over night.

* If you are using dates,  soak and pit the dates you need about 1/4 cup dates to 1 cup almond.

image

image

image

Rinse Almonds and blend. If you are using dates,  blend  with dates and water in a blender till smooth. Add vanilla extract.

image

Use a cheese cloth or muslin cloth to seive it and collect the milk in a clean bowl. 

You can serve chilled,

image

Make a milk shake with it…

image

It tastes delicious with cereal

image

Jam filled Puff – Puff

image

Move over Doughnuts,  Puff – Puff filled with Jam is in the building.

This is what happens when me and my only brother ChocBoy enter into the kitchen. He wanted Chocolate filled Puff – Puff,  I didn’t have chocolate syrup so I pulled out Mango jam and injected into the puff. My days! This is the shiznit.

You guys should give it a try.
See recipe for making Puff-Puff  here .

image

Procedure

When your puff puff is fried, take a clean sterile syringe without the needle , fill it with jam. *If your jam is too thick, add a little juice or hot water to make it a little light.

Pierce a side of your puff puff and inject some jam. See picture above.

image

Surprise your guests, they wouldn’t believe it!