My sister came into the kitchen this morning as I was preparing to make garden egg sauce and she said, “Sis, isn’t this that sauce we hated as kids”. I told her, “Believe me, I now eat many of the things I hated as a child, so why not this one too”.
Today probably is the first time I would eat Garden Egg sauce in probably 16 years. My husband on the other hand likes Garden Egg Sauce and for the 6 years we have been married, he has asked me several times to make it. My memories of garden egg sauce kept me from making it, well today I did and I loved it, so going forward I’d make new delicious memories of my own and share with my children.
– Wash and take off the stalks on the garden eggs. Then boil till the garden eggs are tender, and the skin can peel easily. Peeling the skin is optional
– Mash up the softened garden egg
– While boiling the garden eggs, blend your tomatoes and pepper. Chop onions
– Heat up vegetable oil in a pan, and add the onions. Fry the onions lightly and add blended tomatoes and pepper.
– Add your seasonings, if you have stock, add a cup.
– When the pepper is cooked and the water has reduced completely, add the garden egg and the fish. Cook for an additional 7 – 10 minutes with the lid on.
Garden Egg Sauce is most popularly served with boiled yam, you can pair it with anything you want. Serve warm.
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!
• 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (for the traditional taste but optional)
– Grind pepper and set aside.
*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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.
• Goat head/ Goat head / Cow foot (cut into sizeable pieces, I used 12)
• Yellow Scotch Bonnet / Habanero peppers (to your taste)
• 1 medium onion
• 2 big stock cubes
• Salt (to taste)
• 1 medium onion
• 10 Utazi leaves
– 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.