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