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

Seafood Ogbono

SEAFOOD OGBONO

I’m in love with seafood and that is no secret. Making this was inspired by making Seafood Okra.

Recipe
1. Ogbono Seeds (a 170g milk tin size)
2. Uziza leaves (a handful of thinly sliced leaves)
3. Assorted Fresh Seafood (shrimps/crabs/prawns/fish)
4. Smoked catfish and stockfish
5. 1/8 cup dried crayfish
6. 1/2 tsp Uziza seeds
7. 5 dried Cameron Pepper
8. Cayenne pepper ( ground dried chilli pepper )
9. 1 tbsp palm oil
10. 1 tbsp ogiri
11. Salt
12. Seasoning cubes

Procedure

I used a slightly different method to cook this. I cooked the Ogbono separately before adding it to a lot of cooked seafood

To cook the Ogbono

  • Grind Ogbono Seeds with crayfish.
  • Blend Cameroon pepper and Uziza seeds together.
  • Rinse Uziza and Ugu leaves .
  • Put a clean dry pot on heat and add palm oil, next add the ground Ogbono and stir till all lumps are dissolved now add your meat stock, if you don’t have meat stock add water. The soup starts to thicken and get stretchy.
  • Now add ground Uziza seeds and Cameroon pepper, and a little cayenne pepper for extra heat -if you can take it-
  • Now add your dissolved -dissolve with water- ogiri, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes now add the Uziza leaves and turn off heat after 3 mins.

Preparing the seafood

  • In another larger pot, cook the seafood starting with the fish, cooked with water, onions, seasoning cubes, salt, shredded stockfish, bonga fish.
  • When the fish is almost done, add the Carbs and cook for 3 mins, then add the Prawns.

At this point pour cooked Ogbono into the pot of Seafood and shake it together to mix.

I stirred very carefully with a wooden ladle , cooked for 5 mins and lastly I added the periwinkle. Cooked for 1 1/2 mins and turned off the heat.

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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.

Garden Egg Sauce

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.  


Recipe 
●    10 Garden Eggs

●   9 Tomatoes 

●   5 Jalapeño peppers ( Bawa / Sombo / long tatashe ) 

●   3 Scotch Bonnet ( Ata rodo ) 

●    1 large Onion 

●    De-boned , shredded mackerel fish

●    1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

●    2 Bouillon Cubes 

●   Salt (to taste)

Core ingredients

Procedure 
–    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 


Douse the boiled garden egg in cold water so it is easier to peep the skin off.

–    Mash up the  softened garden egg

Mashed garden eggs with skin on

–    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.

*the grilled garden eggs tastes good too.

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.

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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.

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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.

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–    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.

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Ogiri

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–    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.

Egusi Soup; With a burst of flavours.

A picture they say, says a thousands words, unfortunately it does not express the fragrance or taste. If it did, you’d know how I feel about this plate of Egusi Soup. It tastes and smells good to the last drop!

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I wish we explored our local spices and flavours a little more then we would give up the excessive salt and MSG  we put in our food. I made this Egusi without palm oil, however,  I replaced palm oil with Palm nut cream, I used a generous about of Ehu ( Calabash Nutmeg), Ogiri and Uziza leaves.

Recipe

Ingredients

•    2 cups blended Egusi (Melon Seeds)

•    Assorted Meats (Snail, Cowleg, Goat meat)

•    Assorted Fish (Stock fish, Smoked fish)

•   1 tbsp Ground crayfish

•    3 cups shredded Ugu  (flute pumpkin leaves)

•    1 Cup Shredded Uziza leaves

•    2 1/2 Cups Blended Pepper Mix (Tomatoes + Scotch Bonnet + Jalapeño/Bawa/Sombo/ long tatashe)

•    1 Large Onion

•   3 Umilo/Ulima Seed (blended with a dry mill or coffee blender,  in the absence of those pound it in a mortar

• 1 Ehu Seed (blend with the Ulima)

•    Meat Stock

•    2 Bouillon cubes

•    Salt to taste

•    1 wrap Ogiri

•    1  cup of concentrated Palm nut cream. If you’d be making yours use about 500g of  Palm nuts (Banga/Akwu). That should yield about 3 cups of palm nut extract.

Procedure

–   Wash, season with salt and bouillon cubes your assorted meats, cook with onion till tender, add assorted fish if using any and add blended pepper, cook till the pepper doesn’t taste raw.

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–    Add blended Ehu and Ulima seeds, crayfish and Ogiri. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

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–   Add your blended Egusi into the soup, it would soak up all the water.  Dilute the palm nut concentrate if you are using the tinned type and add to the egusi in the pot.  Stir till all is incorporated. At this point taste if it requires additional seasoning with salt or bouillon cubes. Adjust to your taste buds, do not over power.

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–      Allow the egusi to cook for 10 mins, then  stir in the two washed and shredded vegetables. Once the vegetables have gone in cook only for an additional 5 minutes, with the lid off, so as not to over cook and to let excess water escape. The heat of the soup is enough to finish it off after that. Serve with your choice of side dish.

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Afang Soup

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Anytime I see Afang Soup, it brings back fond memories of my first year in University. Brief story. I was allocated to Obafemi Awolowo Hall at the University of Ibadan, how I got there is a story for another. My roommates in F49 made my year really memorable. Unfortunately I have lost touch completely with all the ladies whom I know sadly by only their first names, I can’t recall the last names. Chinasa, Olatunde and the hardly ever around Motunrayo.

Anyway, Chinasa was engaged to  wonderful Calabar man called Victor. He loved to cook and his soups were the truth. Each time he came to school to visit his woman , he never came empty handed, he also came with a pot or two. My first ever encounter with Afang soup was from Victor. He brought his lady a pot of Afang one time she fell ill and the rest of us also descended on it like locust and devoured it. That was the day I fell in love with Afang!

image Recipe

Ingredients

 •    1 kg Water leaf  (chopped)

•    200g  Okazi  (shredded)

•    Assorted Meats ( tripe, cow foot, ponmo, Beef, etc)

•    Assorted Dried and smoked Fish (Cod fish/Panla/Oporoko, Smoked Catfish)

•    *1 cup Periwinkle  (removed from shell) optional

•    2 tbsp Fresh Blended pepper  (preferably scotch bonnet i.e Ata Rodo, I used Cameroon Pepper)

•   1 tbsp Blended Crayfish

•    Bouillon Cubes

•    Salt

•    1/2  Cup Palm Oil

Procedure

–    Boil your meats with bouillon cubes and salt to taste. As the meat gets tender, add the smoked catfish, and  stock fish.

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–   While the meat cooks, pound or use a blender to blitz the shredded Okazi.

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–    Add the  roughly blended pepper

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–   Now add the crayfish and then palm oil image image

–    Allow to cook for about 5 mins and add chopped water leaves.

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–     Leave the pot uncovered  and allow to cook for 5 mins  then add the blitzed Okazi

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–    Stir in the Okazi. Once the Okazi goes in the water in the vegetable thickens a bit.

–    To avoid having watery soup, boil your meats with little or no water, because waterleaf already has high water content.

Enjoy with a starchy accompaniment. In this case 2 tone Eba.

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