Easy Spicy Roasted Fish…

Who makes fish during the Christmas season? Anyone!

Let me start by telling you why I’m thankful for this Christmas and how I got a fish bone stuck in my throat. I made a pot of delicious Ogbono soup with dry fish and some Shaki (tripe) and chicken for my Ajebutters and I. Usually, I debone any kind of dry fish before using; except I’m dumping them whole into my soup. Anyway, I deboned my fish, or I thought I did and threw them into the bubbling pot of soup. While eating, a little bone got stuck in my throat. I made more Eba and swallowed it, the bone refused to come out. I ate some bread, peanut butter, drank diluted Vinegar and ate some rough corn bread and the bone refused to shift. I then realized the bone was lodged in the left side of my throat. What type of bone goes and lodges at the left side of your throat if it’s not the ones sent by your enemies :P(I kid). When I started coughing out blood, I knew I had to stop praying fall down and die(Nigerians would understand 🙂 ) and run to the nearest Emergency room. On getting to the ER, they quickly took a photo of my throat and had me sit and wait on the results. At this point, I couldn’t really swallow and my life began to flash before my eyes. I was beginning to wonder, if I would die from swallowing a fish bone. This life!

Moments later, a Physician’s assistant called me into one of the rooms and said to me “So you said you have a bone in your throat.” I was astonished at the statement and managed to reply her with the pain in my throat, ‘I’m not saying I do. There is one in my throat and I cannot swallow.” She decided to get a light and a tongue depressor to check my throat manually and viola! She saw the bone. She went ahead to locally anaesthetize my throat and went in with a pair of tiny forceps and viola! One wicked looking tiny bone came out with the forceps. Abeg follow me thank God.

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Very Easy Spaghetti Jollof

If there are any recipes that I will forever love, it is my recipes for Palm oil jollof and Jollof spaghetti. I have one recipe here for Jollof spaghetti, but I want to share a very easy recipe without the coconut milk. There are some recipes that I can tweak as much as I want, but this pasta recipe remains the same with improvements.

Growing up, Jollof spaghetti was one of the first dishes I cooked. I used to cook it with all kinds of protein; from dry fish to liver to shaki. Yes Shaki 🙂 And for this recipe, I kind of recreated my recipe with a little improvement on the sauce and technique. I used to make my Jollof pasta differently. I fried my sauce with little or no seasoning and I literally cooked it like Jollof rice. As I got older, I realized I was doing the whole recipe wrong.  while keeping my originality intact, I began to experiment with spices and seasonings and I’m glad to say, this recipe is my baby.

The dry fish added to this recipe is totally optional, but to get the smoky pasta taste, you have got to roast your tomato mix. Hay god! The smokiness of the roasted veggies and the hint of basil. Fada! I cannot explain it. Then if you want to be like me with the dry fish, Eureka!

With the roasting of my tomato, peppers, garlic and onions, it was a delicious mistake that happened. I was making some stew and I wanted to roast my peppers and tomatoes. I have a smoky Jollof rice recipe where I roasted my ingredients and it was fabulous! Anyway, I washed and cut my tomatoes and peppers and onions, I crushed my garlic and tossed in the habanero. I seasoned them with a little oil and salt; then I roasted them in a pan in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I blended everything and just cooked the blend in some oil and made some stew. I had some of the blended ingredients left over, so I made some pasta and viola!

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Easy Goat Meat Stew

There’s always the holidays to make certain dishes that we don’t always get to have during the rest of the year. But these days, it’s not always so.

During the holidays, my father(God rest his soul) always had a goat and chickens butchered for us and the rest of his extended family. Apart from the goat meat and offal pepper soup, there was always the goat meat stew. This stew was always prepared by my mother and my father’s sister (may God rest her soul).

It was made with fresh tomatoes and red rot pepper. During those times, the kitchen was at the back of my father’s house and all I did was watch from the window of my mother’s bedroom until I was old enough to help in the kitchen. Helping in the kitchen was never my strongest point. I was made to crush the tomatoes and peppers with the mortar and a pestle. Tedious? Absolutely! And it made the cooking process take a whole day.

If there’s one invention I’m utter mostly grateful for, it’s the blender. Imagine just whipping the tomatoes and pepper into a puree and pouring them straight into your oil.

Growing up Nigerian was adventurous. We had to be creative in the kitchen when we had no appliances or power to get the appliances to work. We used the grinding stone to crush peppers, beans, tomatoes, onions…everything. And if you were lucky, your parents helped with an easier way out by paying the local mill to help puree or grind these ingredients. I remember paying 10Naira to blend tomatoes for stew while in the city. But in my father’s country home, the market place was very far, so we had no other option than the mortar and the pestle.

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Stewed Peas…Red Red(stewed beans)

I’m not a fan of beans, but when it comes to red red I am head on!

Stewed beans is a traditional West African recipe, but I’m introducing the Ghanaian style with a twist. The reason I like this recipe is because of it’s character. The mix of onion, tomatoes and peppers in organic African palm oil orgasmic. I could not explain the mix of flavors. It was so good that it put me to sleep.

Growing up, I didn’t like beans. It was one of those meals I chose to sleep and forget. My mother made my siblings and I eat beans under the guise that it would make us tall. As mommy I believed everything she said. When people tell me that they love beans, my reaction is always “and so?” Like “why?” why would anyone eat or even have beans as their favorite food? Is the world that sad? Until I had red red.

While growing up, I never really understood why it took so long for beans to cook; until I started cooking it on my own. There were times I would cook honey beans and for more than an hour I would sit and watch the beans cook. Only for half to be soft and the other half not even close to well done. I asked my mother and she said it had something to do with seasoning the beans before cooking. She said, adding salt or any type of seasoning during the preparation of beans makes it harder to get soft. Superstitious?  I have no idea! But I’m going with no seasonings. At least my beans is always well done now 🙂

I cannot explain how it feels to prepare and eat this dish. Apart from the Nigerian beans pottage, this is the only way I really like beans. and with plantains, this recipe is every every everything!

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Stir Fried Palm oil Rice…

 

My friend and blogger colleague 9jafoodie asked a question to her Instagram followers and the question was “what has your vote as the ultimate Nigerian dish?” And my answer was Palm oil rice.

Palm oil rice is even more delicious than Jollof rice. I know, I know; to you it may sound crazy to say that. But with Palm oil rice, the time frame for cooking is way easier than the regular Jollof rice.

This recipe, though Palm oil worthy, is a little different from the everyday Palm oil rice. It is a little similar to the Nigerian fried rice and it just fascinates me how similar but different our recipes are.

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Wikid Paprika Shrimp!

This recipe is worth sharing because it’s wikidly spicy and delicious!

The first time I tried this recipe, I was tired from a long day. I had my Ajebutter1 make me sautéed shrimp. She peeled and deveined the shrimp while I gave her an ingredient/spice list to prepare the shrimp. After she was done mixing the spices, I had her add smoked paprika and eureka! We ate every piece of shrimp; including the tails 🙂

The next day I had the same Paprika shrimp tossed in some noodles and I found food ecstasy. I simply ate and fell asleep from satisfaction. It was just like having a good cookie 🙂

The size of shrimp also matters. For this recipe, the larger the shrimp the better. I had to use the small ones this time as that’s what I had available at home.

For my readers in Nigeria, the large prawns should work well. I still mix up the differences between the shrimp and prawns. I know shrimps have claws on two of their legs and prawns have claws on three. But who goes looking for these things? I just see whatever looks like a shrimp or a prawn and get excited! 🙂

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10 Minutes With Victor Ehikhamenor…The Subtle Foodie

The ever smiling Victor Ehikamenor, a native of Edo State Nigeria is one artist that makes the Federal republic of Nigeria proud.

I first met Victor on Facebook through my friend Ruona and one thing that drew me to Victor was his writing; then I later got to know that he was an artist too. Victor describes his art as a figurative abstraction; using iconography. See big grammar on top o 🙂

There are days I would see a picture of his art work and though I may not understand it, for some reason it always feels so refreshing. They say the secret to a successful career is in genuinely enjoying what you do. Watching Victor as he relishes and enjoys his art is one that gives me joy. and as he draws, he stays smiling and stays drawing.

Victor can make a squeezed piece of paper have so many diverse meanings. His pencil on his paper seems to always make another sweet dream come true.

Two heads cannot wear one crown…by Victor Ehikamenor

Apart from the fact that he is an excellent artist, he is also a foodie and a fantastic food photographer. Knowing him as an artist helps me understand the story behind each photo. It’s like knowing how a person thinks and being able to kind of know their moods at a given time without them explaining.

A regular person would see a pretty plate of Ayamase sauce with rice and fried plantain above. But knowing Victor, this Ayamase came served from the gods for eternal satisfaction from hunger; just like Manna from the heavens. And these little things are just what fascinates me about him. Victor cannot just be ordinary.

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Seafood Ayamase…

Some months ago, I was instructed by my Doctor to eat more seafood. It kind of made me foodie sad because I love goat meat and suya; especially suya. How on earth am I supposed to eat in this life without the satisfaction of eating suya. Don’t you know that he who brings suya, brings life? Have you ever had suya and soaked garri?

I decided to eat more sea food and vegetables. Not easy, but better for me.

On this weekend, I craved Ayamase so bad, but with ponmo(cow skin) and offals. I knew there was going to be no Offals in my sauce because of my Doctor’s instruction; so I went for seafood and this is one recipe everyone has to enjoy.

After making Ayamase with seafood, I don’t think I will ever make it with Offals again. Even though them fried Offals are bae.

There is something about the taste of seafood and fish soaked and dripping with Ayamase sauce. Biting into the soft crab leg was so deliciously satisfying. And the eggs, all you have to do is boil them and using a tooth pick, poke tiny holes in them before dipping them into the sauce. The eggs soak in the sauce and the flavor is divine. For someone like me who isn’t crazy about eggs, this is probably the only way for me to honestly enjoy them.

My favorite part about cooking Ayamase is tasting the sweetness of the Iru. The Iru makes not only for a sweet smelling pot, but for one that tastes so good and reminds you of your mother’s home cooking.

I speak no more. Recipe below..

Seafood Ayamase…
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Serves: 12

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs seafood(crabs, shrimp, lobster, mussels, fish, oysters)
  • 4½ cups green pepper and habanero (ata-rodo) blend (blend 8 green peppers, 8 habaneros and boil until thickened into a paste)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsps. Iru (locust beans)
  • 1 tbsp. crayfish powder
  • 1-1½ cups meat stock or water
  • 1 cup bleached palm oil
  • 4 boiled eggs(poke with a tooth pick)
  • bouillon
  • salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Pour palm oil into a cooking pot with a tight lid. Heat the palm oil on low for about 10 minutes or more. You should have like a rum colored oil once bleached.
  2. Remove the pot and set aside until slightly cooled. Chop in the onion and fry until translucent. Add the Iru and fry until fragrant; then add the pepper blend and let it come to a slight boil until the oil floats to the top. add the eggs and the meat stock and cook until the oil floats to the top. Add the seafood and cook for another 4minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the oil (if it seems overwhelming) while you let the sea food sit and soak in the sauce. Enjoy.

 

10 Minutes With Adekunle Gold. Orente!

The stylish Adekunle Gold! The one and only Orente Master! If you have ever heard the Nigerian song “Pick up” and liked it; then you automatically like Adekunle Gold. Yes, it’s by force 😛 . He is not just a foodie, but he is one musician Nigerians have watched grow. At first when I sent him an email, I thought he would blow me off, but dude responded and promptly too.

2016/2017 has been a successful year for Adekunle Gold. My best friend and I first noticed Adekunle Gold on Simisola’s page on Instagram years ago. A few years later I heard the song “Pick up.” I went on Instagram and I became love struck with this guy’s voice; then I asked my friend “was this guy not Simi’s bruh/bae that year?” Beautiful!

Not only is he known for his acts of savagery/clap back on Twitter, but he is down to earth and never forgets his roots.

 

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10 minutes With Chris U Aguocha Esq…(Magical Jollof Rice and Plantain)

In the Western world, Nigerian Chefs are working hard to show case Nigerian food. Not only that, there are caterers and Nigerian restaurant owners catering to the needs of Nigerians who aren’t able to cook our local foods in their homes or people who just want to enjoy a good Nigerian meal without the prep and stress work.

I had the opportunity of talking to a good friend about the subject matter. And if there is anyone to talk to about Nigerian food in the USA, it is the avid foodie Mr. Chris Aguocha. Esq. Sometimes, it’s just better to look through the eyes of the Nigerian consumer when it comes to our food. Consumers who attend a lot of Nigerian parties and often visit Nigerian restaurants are even more important. These consumers help the Chefs tell their stories.

The thing is that, we have to do more than being mediocre when it comes to presenting our foods. and the running of our restaurants. When it comes to the Nigerian consumer, we must be open to try new things and when it comes to the Chefs we must understand how to sell our delicacies and in the right environment. I remember posting a photo of an already prepped canned stew/Jollof sauce base on social media a while ago and I asked a question wanting to know if Nigerians would buy the sauce to use as a short cut to making their stews and Jollof base. We all know how much prep work goes into even the simplest of Nigerian foods. The answers I got were very discouraging. Although it came from Chefs who would rather make theirs, we have to understand that our attitude to our Nigerian food reflects to others who judge these behavior in their decision making on whether to try Nigerian food or not. I’m not saying that making your own sauce is mediocre, I’m saying we must show support to our own who try to make these easy short cuts for us. Our attitude to our food works a great deal for or against us.

Just as the Westerners are comfortable eating and making Asian and Indian foods; even in their homes, it should even be easier for them to explore with Nigerian food. The way the Nigerian Chefs and consumers tell our stories through our food is ultimately important. I would love to see mainstream American food bloggers write about Nigerian food; and not only that, I would love to see them make some…

Mr. Chris, a friend is also a practicing Lawyer in the United States. He owns a law firm at oaulaw.com . A well known lawyer and Nigerian socialite with a foundation in Nigeria, he graduated from Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria with a Bachelor of Laws LL.B. (Honors), 1992 and with a Masters in international law and Juris Doctorate from Hofstra University NewYork; with Law licenses from NewYork, Conneticut, and District of Columbia. And in the interview below, we talked mildy about the growth of Nigerian food in the US food industry.

I have had in depth conversations about Nigerian food with Mr. Chris and his passion to see Nigerian Chefs promote Nigerian food; even as one who doesn’t cook much is very obvious.

Apart from being a foodie, Mr. Chris is a dear friend who has helped me tell my stories through my writing.

I have met people in my life, people who have been there and encouraged/helped me heal and his friendship is significant to me. When I’m comfortable discussing my passion with you, it means you are special to me. And when it comes to my passion, Mr. Chris is 100% in and I think it’s because it has something to do with food(tongue out). Who no like better thing? Here’s to friendship 🙂

So, if you want to know more about this awesome dude and his opinion about Nigerian food in the USA, continue reading below 🙂

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