Fries (Dundu, Dodo, Odunkun) with Pepper Stewed Snails

I gave this a little oomph by sprinkling Basil salt on the fries. To make Basil salt, I grabbed some Basil (clove basil which we call patminger or curry leaf in Nigeria) from my garden. I threw it into the dry mill blender with my some Himalayan pink salt and blended together. Now you can use any salt you have at home. And I tossed the fries in the herby salt blend. My crew loved it.

Add fried Akara to this platter and you have the quintessential Lagos street fries combo. Dundu, (Fried Yam) Dodo( Fried Plantain) and Odunkun (Fried Sweet potatoes). 

Peppered Snail recipe is on the blog

This is my first blog post for 2020. I’ve tried to see if I can bring blogging back, but my hands are full. It’s Covid Season and the virus is ravaging the world. To do our part to flatten the curve and heal the world we are social distancing an staying at home.

And as a wife and mum with a little more time on my hands, having partially shut down business, I find I have more time in the kitchen. Scratch that, staying indoors that be nerve wracking so cooking and gardening have been my escape.

Wherever you are in the world. Please stay safe, wash your hands obsessively with soap and water. Use alcohol based hands sanitizer and wipes if you don’t have access to water. Don’t touch your face. Avoid unnecessary contact with wild animals. And if there is a stay home order in your country, please abide and stay indoors.

Eat, Pray and Love.

I would have invited, everybody come and eat, there is enough dundu, dodo, odunkun, pepper stewed snails, sprinkled with basil salt to go round.

But we are social distancing.

Groundnut Soup (Omisagwe)

Since I learnt to make Groundnut soup, I can make it in my sleep.

When i have a flu, i make it extra spicy

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 Cups raw (unpeeled, dehusked) groundnut
  • 2 tsp Uziza Seeds
  • 2 Dried Cameroon Peppers
  • *Goat meat (personal preference)
  • Stock fish
  • Smoked Fish
  • 1/8 cup of smoked prawns
  • 2 tbsp powdered smoked prawns
  • 2 tbsp powdered stock fish flakes
  • 2 smoked catfish (shredded)
  • Salt
  • Seasoning cubes
  • 1/4 cup periwinkle
  • 1 cooking spoon palm oil (or less)
  • 2 cooking spoons blended fresh scotch bonnet ( Ata rodo )
  • Efirin ( African sweet Basil / Scent leaf )

Procedure

  • Boil meat with some water, salt and season, add powdered smoked prawns and powdered stock fish flakes.

  • While the meat is cooking, in a dry pan or wok slighty toast the groundnut, Uziza and Cameroon pepper till you can smell the aroma coming out. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

  • While the groundnuts cool, slice the efirin leaves.

Handpicked Efinrin from my backyard garden

  • In the dry mill of your blender, blend the groundnut, Uziza and Cameroon pepper to a very smooth powder. The texture of the blended groundnuts should not be grainy. (Blend the groundnut with skin on)

  • Check the meat to see if it is soft then add the stock fish pieces and the whole smoked prawns.
  • Then add the pepper and palm oil. Allow to cook till the palm oil blends in.

  • Then add the periwinkle, shredded smoked fish.
  • Taste if you need to re-season, I doubt though.
  • Next add the blended groundnut and stir it in, the soup starts to thicken add water if becomes too thick. Turn down the heat.

  • Leave for about 5 minutes and add the efirin leaves. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on so as not to overcook the efirin.

Pair with your favorite accompaniment.

Serve with your favorite accompaniment. I found that asides morsels (swallow) it pairs well with rice, fried Plantain, yam as well. You should try it.

P.S
If you ever take a trip down to “Flusville” ensure you take a detour to Hot n Spicy Land! It helps you feel a lot better. 😂🤣😂🤣😁

Egusi Soup

Yesterday i got my favorite type of fufu, from Oja Odan in Ogun state. So i ditched the traditional Sunday Pounded yam or Fried rice and we had fufu instead, and egusi of cause to go with it.

Recipe

  • 2 cups Egusi (Melon Seeds)
  • Assorted Meats (Cowleg, Goat meat, ponmo, offals)
  • Assorted Fish (Stock fish, Smoked fish)
  • Smoked Fish
  • Ground crayfish
  • 2 cups Thinly sliced Ugu leaves
  • Peppers (4 Scotch Bonnet + 5 Jalapeño/Bawa/Sombo/ long tatashe)
  • 1 Onion
  • Meat Stock (from cooking the meats)
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp Iru (locust beans)
  • 2 cooking spoons Palm oil

Procedure

This is one of the methods i use in preparing egusi.

  • Cook your meats, season with bouillon cubes, salt, ( i like to cook with smoked catfish head for a richer flavour). Cook till tender and well done.
  • While cooking your meats, Rinse your Ugu leaves to get rid of dirt, then slice thinly.Blend your melon seeds with pepper, onion and water. Blend to a smooth consistency.
  • Heat up your palm oil till it reaches smoking point, pour in your blended melon and fry for about 10 mins, don’t let it burn.
  • Now add the rich stock from your meats and allow to cook till the fried melon paste and the stock are well incorporated.
  • Next add crayfish powder,Iru. Taste for seasoning, may not have need to re-season your soup, if your stock is rich in flavour.
  • Cook with lid off to allow the water to reduce faster in the soup.
  • Once the water content has reduced to at least a quarter of what it initially was, add your assorted meats stock fish and other condiments like those listed in the recipe.
  • Cook till the water has reduced completely and the soup won’t run off the back of the soup in a watery manner.
  • Now add your Vegetable, and stir in gently with a ladle. Reduce the heat to the minimum and turn it off after cooking with the vegetables for 3 minutes.
  • Serve with any swallow of your choice.

Edikang Ikong

So i woke up to tend my vegetable garden, which i had left unattended for a about two weeks or a lil more. I wear many hat’s like many people and the month of April right to the first two weeks of May was very busy. First i got NAFDAC approval for my products FDVie Juice yaaay! Then we were vendors at the GTB Food and Drink fair , then renovation of the production facility , plus daily life!

So my garden was overgrown with Waterleaf! I remember my first attempt at planting waterleaf with seeds, i waited many months it didn’t yield until my staff told me to propagate using stems instead. Now the plant is in every pot in the garden, just dispersing its seeds. That means I’d be having a lot of waterleaf soups.

Freshly harvested waterleaf from my container garden

So after pulling out a lot of waterleaf yesterday, i made Edikang ikong

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 800g washed and choppedWaterleaf
  • 500g washed and chopped Ugu leaves
  • Assorted Meats
  • 1 cooking spoon blended pepper mix (Scotch bonnet -ata rodo/Bawa)
  • 3/4 cup palm oil
  • Stockfish
  • Smoked Fish
  • 1 tbsp blended crayfish
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • In a pot, season your meats with salt and bouillon cubes (to your taste) *Don’t* season with onion. Add water and cook till the meat is soft and tender. I usually cook my meats with smoked fish heads for rich flavour

  • When your meat is cooked and the water is properly reduced, add your blended pepper mix and palm oil.

  • Taste to see if it requires additional seasoning, if it does add some more. Add, stock fish, smoked fish, crayfish and cook till the water is reduced completely.
  • When the water is completely reduced and you can see the palmoil glistening on the meats, add chopped water leaves.

  • (Let your washed water leaf and Ugu leaves strain in a seive to allow all the excess water get away, your chopped leaves should be near dry)

  • Stir in properly , the water leaf will wilt into the pot, let it simmer for about 3 minutes
  • Next stir in your Ugu leaves, stir it in well till it incorporates well with the waterleaf.
  • Cook with lid off , on medium heat for an additional 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with your preferred accompaniment.

Please don’t tell my Yoruba ancestors that i almost denounced Efo Riro in favour of this tasty pot of goodness that is native to the Efik people.

Oatmeal swallow

Ojojo (Wateryam Fritters)

Ijebu omo alare e we so! Shout out to Ijebu people all over the world.

This is a tribute to Ijebu cuisine. When you think food native to the peoples of the vast Ijebu kingdom, you think, Ifokore, Ojojo , Ebiripo , Ijebu Garri etc.

Ojojo is wateryam fritters and its native to the Ijebu people of the south west of Nigeria. It can be eaten anytime of the day as a meal or a snack. As a meal it’s popularly either served with Eko/Agidi (roughly translated as white corn jello) or Garri Ijebu.


Recipe

(Serves 2 or 3)

Ingredients

  • 3 slices Wateryam (grated it comes to 1 cup and half)
  • 1 tbsp of roughly chopped pepper mix (1 Ata rodo (Scotch bonnet), 1 Bawa/long tatashe/Sombo , Onion (about a quarter of a medium onion)
  • 1/2 of a bouillon cube (i used Knorr
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Slice and peel water yam.

  • Using a grater, choose the smallest perforation to grate the yam to a paste. To avoid nicking off your fingers while grating, you can use the grating disc of your food processor. The one with the smallest holes. This would give you about 1 cup and half of wateryam paste.

Food processor disc and Grater

Grated wateryam

  • Add your roughly chopped pepper mix, your salt and seasoning .
  • Mix till when incorporated.

  • Heat your oil up till very hot.

Hot oil Tip
Since we don’t use thermometers in cooking here, i learnt to know when oil is hot enough for frying from Sister Som, my friend’s sister. She taught me to put a drop of water in oil while bringing up the heat. As the oil heats up , it would start to make popping sounds to get rid of the water. When the sounds stops, you know your oil is hot enough.

  • Scoop the paste using a spoon or your hands into the oil.
  • Fry on medium heat till its golden ans crisp on both sides.

Traditionally, Ojojo is served with Eko or Garri Ijebu. I tried this with Ghanaian Shitto and its amazeballs.

Ojojo with Eko and shitto

Tea Time; Let’s Have Homemade Herbal Tea

Did you know you can make your own tea using a blend of your favorite herbs and spices?

I do that all the time and i want to share one of my mixes with you.

The beauty of this is that, this is made with locally grown spices readily available in the market, especially from the Hausa spice vendors.

Tea is a beverage so popular it’s one of the most consumed in the world. It’s an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured tea leaves. Mostly had for breakfast, however in some cultures, tea is had at any time of the day.

In Nigeria tea is most popular as tea bags, and because of our British colonial past, we have our tea with a handsome helping of milk and sugar.

I really like using Zobo leaves to make tea, not only because it makes such a beautiful colour of tea, it’s also very aromatic and zingy.


Health benefits of this herbal tea.

Herbal teas are good detoxifiers. So is this tea. All the ingredients play a key role in metabolism, detoxification of xenobiotic and flushing toxins out of the body

It Aids in digestion, Treats nausea & headache, Prevents respiratory disorders, Aids in breast feeding, Helps in weight loss, Helps allergies , Improves skin health, Improves kidney health.

Increases Immunity;
The presence of vitamin C in sorrel is pretty impressive.
Vitamin C also referred to as ascorbic acid, increases the production of white blood cells and stimulates the immune system, which is the first line of protection against pathogens and other free radicals present in the body, hence helping to prevent cancer.


Ingredients

  • Dried Zobo leaves (Hibiscus Sabdariffa, Roselle, Red Sorrel, or Jamaican Sorrell.
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Dried Mint leaves
  • Cinnamon

Procedure

Blitz them all together in the dry mill of your blender, a food processor or coffee grinder. I don’t have a measurement for this. Just eye ball it and go with your gut.

To make a brew

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of the tea a cup of boiling water. Allow it to infuse. You can use a tea infuser or strain using a seive.

Sweeten with honey or any non-nutritive/zero calorie sweetener e.g Stevia or Truvia.

You can enjoy hot or cold. Do not add milk to this tea because the acidity in the zobo it will cuddle the milk.

Imoyo Alatasuesue (Spicy Imoyo Stew)

Imoyo is a light watery fish stew. I’m hoping it did the stew enough justice while taking the pictures and editing it, i know i had to work on optics. So I’m wondering if it looks light and fluid enough in the pictures.

Well Imoyo is light and more runny than your regular rice stew, or beef stew.

I like my Imoyo stew to be a little spicy because i find that pepper helps to improve the flavour of fresh fish. I also like to cook my Imoyo with a combination of vegetable oil and palm oil, just because i like that.

Recipe

  • 1 litre blended pepper mix [Tomatoes/Tatashe (Red capsicum)/Ata rodo (red Scotch Bonnet)/Onion] {I use a ratio of 8:2:4 for the pepper mix and you can tweak the pepper quantity depending on how spicy you like it}
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Palm oil
  • 2kg Fresh Obokun (Blue Catfish) – you can use your own fish of choice.
  • Salt
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Stock (optional)

Procedure

  • Clean and salt your raw fish and set it aside while prepping for your stew. Doing this will allow the fish to be seasoned through before adding to your stew. Just salt is okay, no over the top marinate so as not to lose the flavour of the fish and even the flavour of the stew
  • Chop the small onion and set aside.
  • Set a clean dry pot on medium heat and heat up palm oil. As it heats up add the onions and allow it to fry till it sizzles, (you may take it out if you leave it till it crisps) . Add the vegetable oil and let it get hot.
  • Pour in the blended pepper mix. Season with salt and bouillon cubes (i will use 2 cubes)
  • Bring the stew to a boil, the oil and the stew will mix. If you have stock, add it now.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 20 mins with the lid of the pot on. If you cook with lid off, you’d lose steam and water will vaporize from the stew. Remember its a runny stew.
  • Now add your fresh fish, turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 mins with the lid on. Please taste your stew before you add the fish because, when you add raw fish (especially if it isn’t frozen) it can easily disintegrate in the pot.
  • Don’t stir, just shake the pot using it’s handles.
  • *It’s okay to add a little water if you find that your soup is starting to thicken.

Once cooked, turn the heat off. Imoyo gives definition to “Omi Obe “. It pairs well with Ewedu soup, okra soup, and can be eaten as a broth too.

Nkwobi

Nkwobi is a happy hour meal.

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/happy hour 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. Personally I’ve found spicy food to be my alcohol antidote, once i start to feel light headed i hit it with something extra spicy.

Recipe

Ingredients

• 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) – you won’t need this if you are using palm nut cream-

•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 cow foot 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. I prefer to use a pressure cooker to cook the cow foot as it can be tough.

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

.

Black Soup  

Bubbling hot Black Soup in an earthen pot

Black Soup is a rich herby soup with a delicate balance of aromatic flavours if well cooked. 

Recipe 

  • 1 1/2 cup blended Bitterleaf (before blending it must have been washed till it is no longer bitter, it would have a little bitter sweet taste 
  • Efinrin leaves 
  • Utazi Leaves 

*combine in this propositions 1 part Efinrin to 1/2 part Utazi Leaves and blend together. You would need 1 Cup of a mixture of this blend to cook with 

  • 2 cups Palmnut Cream (Banga)
  • 1/2 cup blended pepper /onion/crayfish mix (you can use more if you like)
  • Smoked and dried fish variety (obokun,stockfisk, bongafish)
  • Boiled meats (beef or goat meat, cowfoot, shaki, ponmo…)
  • Rich stock 
  • Salt to taste
  • Bouillon cubes. 

Basic Ingredients: (Back-Front, Left-Right) Smoked Eja Obokun (blue catfish), blended washed bitterleaf, blended Utazi and Efirin leaves, blended fresh pepper and dried crayfish, boiled meats of choice, palm nut cream.

Procedure

  • In a pot heat up your stock and add your cooked meats, bring it to a boil and add your palm nut cream and pepper mix.
  • Cook for about 10 – 15 mins.
  • Add the smoked fish and cook. If you pre-soaked the smoked fish you may not cook longer than 3- 5mins, if it is not pre soaked cooked the fish in the soup for about 10mins.
  • Add your blended vegetables to the broth on medium heat and cook. 
  • Taste and add your desired amount of salt and seasoning 
  • Cook with lid off and let the water reduce, be careful also not to over cook the vegetables. Personally I try not to cook vegetables longer than 5-7 minutes. 

Procedure in pictures

Serve with your side of choice. Enjoy

I find the earthen ware gives it a very local appeal.

Plantain Veggie Sauce

This was inspired by a post I saw last night on “So You Think You Can Cook”. The poster didn’t have enough time to share her recipe but I created this from visual inspiration .

Trust me when I say this is so delicious. You can eat it alone or pair with Rice 

Recipe 

  • 3 Large Ripe Plantain
  • 2 cups of meat stock 
  • 300g  sliced Vegetables (I used Ugu+Efirin+Efo tete/green)
  • 3 cups of blended pepper mix (tomatoes/scotch bonnet/ habanero (rodo)/tatashe(capsicum)/ onion)
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil (for the sauce, you’d need more for trying the plantain. 
  • 3 cups chopped lighty fried meats (I used goat meat)
  • Shredded Fish (Smoked cod fish, dried sardines (bonga fish), about 1cup or more)
  • Bouillon cubes (2 or more depending on your tatse
  • Salt to taste 

Procedure 

  • Chop up your plantains and deep fry till it’s almost turning brown and set aside.
  • You should have pre-fried your meats.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of oil in a pot, allow it to heat up, once hot pour the pepper mix , fry slightly and pour in the stock. If you are using bonga fish, rinse well and add to the pepper from the start. Cook for 5 mins and add the fried meats. On medium heat, cook the stew till the water has completely reduced add your bouillon cubes and salt. Cook with lid on.
  • Once the water has completely reduced, add smoked fish, and vegetable. Cook for about 5 minutes with the lid off.
  • Stir in the fried plantains and let it simmer for about 2 mins and turn the heat off.