Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pearls is derived from the starch of tubers of cassava. In Lagos , Nigeria, you’d usually find them in sold in very dried dehydrated clusters. It’s usually an off white colour. 

Tapioca Pearls.

It consists of almost pure carbs and contains very little proteins, fibre or nutrients.

Tapioca is gluten free.

When it is cooked it becomes translucent gelatinous. It makes for a great breakfast meal. 

Recently I learnt that Tapioca is a staple for people of the Brazilian quarters of Lagos (Read about the origins of Lagos here), the indigenous people. While preparing for the Wake keep of a dear friend’s mum, she mentioned that since her mum was from Lagos and Lagos Island to be precise, her funeral rites wouldn’t be complete without serving Tapioca to guests at some point. So they made coolers of Tapioca and guests lined up to get some at the Wake Service. 

Tapioca Parfait (Tapioca, Chia Seeds, Pawpaw cubes, Avocado, Coconut Flakes)
Tapioca topped with coconut milk and Watermelon slices
Tapioca Parfait for a friend and I. That was our lunch



Tapioca topped with whipped cream





Recipe(Serves 3 or 4)

  •  1 full cup of dried tapioca
  •  1 small coconut (You can use 2 or 3 tbsp dessicated coconut and 1/2 cup canned coconut milk instead)
  •  Sugar (or Honey, Date syrup , sweetener )

Procedure 

  •  Rinse and soak Tapioca in 5parts water to 2 part tapioca overnight. You’ll be surprised at how much it would soak up all the water and double.

  • The next day strain your tapioca being careful not to get the sands in it too.
  • Break the coconut and for added coconut flavour save the water.
  •  Grate the coconut with the large holes in your grater. 
  • Divide into 2 parts. Extract the milk from one part using some warm water and sieve. 
  •  Put the extracted milk in a pot and warm on medium heat. 
  • Add the other half of the grated coconut, add sugar and bring almost to boil, then add tapioca.
  • Keep stirring till it thickens like ogi or custard, you’ll notice, the tapioca become more translucent. 
Pictorial. l-r Soaked Tapioca Pearls, Coconut milk, dessicated coconut, cooked tapioca
  • Then turn off the heat,

Serving idea.

You can top it with evaportaed milk or coconut  milk or cream, and serve with whatever you like e.g Akara, Pound Cake, fruits or serve as a parfait.

Tapioca Parfait. One of the jars has crushed cornflakes in it, can you tell which it is? (Tapioca, Chia Seeds,chopped Pawpaw,chopped Avocado, dehydrated coconut flakes, *crushed cornflakes)

Tapioca topped with whipped cream

This bowl looks really pretty.

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.

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Isi Ewu made with Palm oil

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Isi Ewu made with Palm Nut Cream

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  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.

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Isi Ewu made with Palm oil

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