Fluke spice mix

Mustard seeds, cinnamon, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper, dried mint

I oscillate between cooking with seasoning cubes that contain MSG (monosodium glutamate) and not cooking at all with them for long periods. To be honest I do not care for arguments for or against using MSG, it’s a sink hole I’m unwilling to explore.

I like cooking with spices, herbs, roots… because

  • Layering flavours is almost a lost art because of the quick fix appeal of seasoning cubes.
  • There’s an abundance of nutrients and health benefits to be derived from them
  • I try to be deliberate about what I put in my body. There is already an over exposure to chemicals we encounter on a daily basis, so if I can at least reduce one exposure I try to cut out what is processed.
  • MSG is naturally occuring in many foods and I can enjoy it in its natural occurring form instead.
Blended fluke spice mix. I wish you could smell it!

This spice mix is so good and I’m so miffed that I didn’t measure this out when I made. I just eyeballed some spices I use regularly, and blended them together, adjusting accordingly.

Turns out so good, I hope I can make it as good the next time. I’d do it over sometime soon and hope I nail it or even do better.

Ingredients

  • Mustard seeds
  • Cinnamon,
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds (not too much as it can turn the mix bitter)
  • Black pepper
  • Dried mint

I’ve used this to cook my meats, gave me a really nice rich stock, cooked stew, jollof, fried rice with it

Habits are hard to break maybe some day my cooking is 100% MSG free. If you are interested in exploring MSG free cooking there are a couple of Nigerian advocates teaching natural alternatives to MSG cooking, chief amongst them is Lagos HouseWife, check her social media pages out

Hot and Spicy Beef with Skin on

“Asun”, spicy grilled goat meat was the inspiration for this. And since I didn’t have any goat meat in the freezer, I used beef with the skin on. Beef with skin on is called “Agemawo” in Yoruba. And Agemawo meat is in two forms. The hair of the cow can be removed either by burning off the hair in a whole cow after killing it or using hot water and a scraper to scrape off the hair. These different methods result in different skin texture on Agemawo meat when the beef is cut with the skin.

The roasted version results in softer beef which tends to cook faster and may have a smokey flavour. The downside is that because some butchers sometimes use kerosene to ignite the fire on the cow, the kerosene, seeps into the skin and the taste is retained on the meat. I can’t abide that so I err on the side of caution and buy the one removed with hot water. The hot water Agemawo is a little tougher to cook, the skin takes time to cook and you cook the meat for longer. So I use a pressure pot and in 12 – 15 mins my meat is done.

Hot spicy beef with skin on straight out of the oven.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1kg bite-sized beef with skin
  • 2½ cups blitzed pepper mix ( red bell pepper, red habanero, add tomatoes to tone the heat down) depending on your heat tolerance,  you can decide to either use more or less habanero)
  • 2 large onion. (Chop one to boil beef, slice the other for garnish)
  • Salt to taste.
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger (alternative ginger powder)
  • 1 tsp chopped turmeric (alternative turmeric powder)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper.
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • * ½ Garlic powder optional
  • Bay leaf
  • *Curry powder, dried thyme
  • 1 cooking spoon vegetable oil
*asterisked items are optional

Procedure

  • Cook your meat with chopped onions, salt, ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, curry and thyme if you choose. Cook till tender.
  • While your meat is cooking, in a wok on medium heat,(I used an earthenware dish), simmer the blitzed pepper mix with oil. Let it cook down till its liquid is well reduced.
  • When the meat is cooked, add the meat stock to the pepper. Taste it and if necessary adjust seasoning accordingly and cook it down for the liquids to reduce

In the next step, you can do either of these two things.

  • You can flash fry the meats and then stir them into the cooked pepper.

Or

  • Stir in the meats into the cooked pepper, transfer into an oven preheated to 350°c for 20-25 mins.
  • After removing from the oven stir the meats in well.

I used option 2.

Garnished with some chopped onions and any green herbs like basil, parsley, spring onions etc.

Serve with a cold refreshing drink, because this can be hot depending on how much heat is in your pepper mix, you need something cool and refreshing.

You need something cool and refreshing like this FDVie Watermelon/Pineapple Juice