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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Peppered Meats.

Hello blogsville, it has been a while since I put up a new post. Please blame on the vacation months and the back to school scurry. I also took a bit of time to get by my kitchen mojo, life as a wife/mom/entrepreneur/ foodie.

For some reason I’ve been reliving some memories of secondary school.  I think it started when Le hubs called, that he was craving fried turkey. He was only less than 10 minutes  from home and I’m not one to stock frozen turkey at home. So I sent an assistant to dash to a store nearby and get me a kilo.

I attended “The International School, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. ” (Set of 2002) It’s called ISI for short.
You see in ISI , break time was a bit of a funfair. We had the stalls, close to the basketball court and we would all troop out of our classes to observe the rituals of break time. The girls would sashay in groups pretending not to see the guys stealing glances at them. At each stall it was sometimes a bit of an “unconscious” show of spending prowess. My favorite stall was Iyawo’s stall, she was the wife to the school Tanker driver, the woman seemed to pop an new baby every year. She was pleasant and had most of the sweet treats I used to buy. Now there was the Meat Pie Stall, all they sold I think was meat pies and doughnuts, and there was the Fan Ice Vendor under the Almond tree by the Basketball court who sold all the Fan Ice products; yoghurt,  fan orange, ice cream. … now there was this woman who was there only through my early JSS days who used to sell peppered bite – sized  meats. That meat was to die for , deep fried, with the right amount if hot habernero pepper and onions. 
Below is my attempt to react her peppered meats. (See Recipe below the turkey pictures)

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Then they was Mrs Alabi,  who was the biology teacher’s wife,  she didn’t have a stand at the stalls but she ran business from their apartment which was above the boys dormitory. Her husband was the House Master for the boys dormitory. Mrs Alabi sold fried turkey and Zobo drink. Her fried turkey was quite high end, so if your parents were not rich or your break money was not above 100 naira a day, you can’t afford to buy Mrs Alabi’s turkey.
There was something that gave Mrs Alabi’s peppered turkey a different taste . I tried severally then to re – create it back at home then using only a mixture of salt and Cayenne Pepper. It just didn’t taste right.

So you can imagine how lucky I felt two days ago when I struck the proverbial gold. A little bit of Yaji and I had my own version of Mrs Alabi’s turkey.

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Below is the recipe for the two.

Mrs Alabi’s Turkey

Recipe.

•      1 Kg of Turkey

•      2 wraps of double Knorr Chicken Cubes  (or any chicken bouillon cubes you prefer)

•      1 tsp of Cayenne pepper (ground dried pepper/ata gigun)

•      1/2 tsp Salt

•      1 medium sized onion.

•      *optional curry powder and dried thyme

•      Vegetable oil for frying

•      1 tbsp Yaji  (aka Suya Spice) for sprinkling

Procedure

–      Marinate the turkey in salt, pepper, onions and all the other spices for at least 30 minutes.

–      Parboil the turkey in the marinate for a few minutes ensuring not to over cook the turkey as turkey tends to cook very quickly.

–      Once the turkey is cooked , fry the turkey till golden brown.

–      Take out of the oil and strain on a paper towel .

–       Healthier option would be to grill the turkey after marinating.

–      Then sprinkle the Yaji all over the turkey.

Enjoy with a chilled drink.

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Recipe for Peppered Meats.

•      250 grams bite sized beef bits

•      1 cup blitzed pepper mix (tomatoes, red bell pepper, red habernero ) depending on your heat tolerance,  you can decide to either use more or less habernero)

•      1 medium onion. (Chopped )

•      2 (beef)Bouillon Cubes

•      Salt  to taste.

•      * Cayenne pepper.

•      *optional , Curry powder, dried thyme less than a teaspoon of each.

•      Vegetable oil to fry

Procedure

–      Cook your meat with chopped onions, salt, bouillon cubes, a bit of Cayenne pepper, curry and thyme of you choose.

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–      When the meat is cooked and tender, strain it from the meat stock and fry.

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–      In the meat stock, add the pepper mix and taste if it requires additional seasoning.

–      Set your fried meat aside until the  pepper is properly cooked, add a tsp of the oil used in frying the meat, add the fried beef and stir it in completely.
Garnish with chopped onions and pepper.

–      Enjoy with a chilled drink.

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Ponmo Alata

Spicy Ponmo.  Ponmo is a delicacy!  I don’t know what the government thought they were saying, sometime last year, they  want to  ban Ponmo! We should put this curly cow hide on a national emblem already. I know a lot of people agree that ponmo is the truth. It’s said that Ponmo has no nutritional value but that does not take away the fact that it melts in your mouth when it is well cooked or for the slightly tough ones it is crunchy. Some weeks back in the Lagos Island market, i observed people rushing to buy Peppered Ponmo,  they had been waiting for the hawker to come around and when she did they swarmed around her. My first introduction to Ponmo Alata was also in the same market years ago. I love to eat it as much as I love to cook it. Cooking it is very easy. image Recipe Ingredients •    500 g Ponmo •    1 1/2 cups coarsely blended pepper mix (tomatoes + pepper + onion) * pepper content should be a little high. I like mine really spicy so I do a ratio of 1 tomato to 5 peppers (2 scotch bonnet + 3 jalapeño ) and quarter of a medium sized onion. So people can’t handle that kind of heat. •    1/8 cup Vegetable oil •    1 small onion •    Bouillon Cubes •    Salt Procedure –    Wash the ponmo throughly, cleaning and peeling out any unnecessary stuff on it. image –    Season with salt and bouillon cubes,  add onion and boil the ponmo image –     When the ponmo is tender, take it off the heat  and set aside. Heat up some oil and add the pepper.  Add stock from cooking the ponmo. Add more seasoning if you want. image image image –    Cook with lid off till the water reduces completely and the pepper starts to fry. Stir the ponmo into the pepper sauce,  cook for an additional 3 minutes and turn off the heat. –    Allow the ponmo to stay in the pepper for at least 30 mins before serving image image