The Biafran War and The Act Of Survival

Working on this post was one of the most emotional things I have ever had to do and I am not a very emotional person per say. I love to build relationships and I am usually attached to the people close to me…oh I digress.
The Biafran war was a civil war fought between the Nigerian soldiers and the Igbo(eastern) soldiers led by Odimegwu Ojukwu in order to prevent the secession of Biafra from Nigeria. This war lasted from the year 1967-1970…And this is me not wanting to go into the whole sad tale. Although we can pretend that Biafra never happened, it’s just story for another day.

Odimegwu Ojukwu in Nigerian military uniform.

During the war, there was severe starvation due to food supply being cut off to the eastern states. People became hungry, children became very malnourished and parents had to find a solution to their dilemma. Hunger became a usual affair…from the 9 year old clutching on to an empty corned beef can to the starving child holding on to nothing but an empty plate with the mother struggling to breastfeed her child; even with very little breast milk being produced. Those were the dark times…

image gotten from africafederation.net

image gotten from africafederation.net

My father was a prisoner of war. He was imprisoned by the Biafran soldiers as a result of an accusation made against him. My father was accused of supplying the Nigerian soldiers oil/fuel. Come to think of it, my late father had always worked in the oil and gas industry. Before his passing, he was a Petrochemical engr. As a matter of fact, he had a master’s degree in Petrchemical engineering. And folks when I say oil and gas, I don’t mean the non existent ones that them Yoruba demons deceive girls with…I kid 😜

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Valentine Special…Aphrodisiacs and Peppered Snails

February 14th! It’s that time of the year again and love is in the air (tongue out, back in cheek). Not only is it Valentine’s, but it’s also my second bloggoversary. Yep! This means my blog – Nigerianlazychef.com is two years old.

I am so so grateful for this path – one which chose me, and continues to choose me, one meal at a time. So, for as long as I am able to eat, I will continue to cook, write and talk about food in the “funnest” way possible. To be repeatedly recognised by CNN, Ventures Africa and people from all walks of life is an added privilege that always leaves me…erm…can you tell that I am short of words? Yes, I am.

Okay… *cuts the lone violin strings churning sob stories and…*

Fast forward to my main purpose for today…Aphrodisiacs, peppered snails and erm congo shining!

An aphrodisiac is any food, drink, or even a fruit that stimulates sexual desire or libido in men or women.

It’s almost a taboo amongst Africans to talk about sex and libidos; even more so when one tries to converse about “shining the congo,” aka the very act of intercourse.

There’s this belief that bedroom issues or talk, must remain in the bedroom and between married couples.

But all is fair in love and food so…on this post, I’ll be touching lightly on some staples in the typical African pantry that can help stimulate sexual excitement.

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Food. A Blessing Or A Curse(Taboo)

I have been trying to figure out what to write for the new year. I’m surprised at how well I paced myself for this post.

It was supposed to be a recipe, but I decided to start on a high note.

First things first, Happy New year my people! Thank you for last year and the year before. I wouldn’t be here if you guys weren’t reading my posts or here with me. I’m hoping for a smoother ride this year with tremendously new things to bring us success this year.

Last year, I was still trying to find myself, in the sense that I was learning how to pace myself and do things according to the order of importance.

To kick off this year, I want to write about taboos.

I have been very fascinated about different foods and how they affect us especially when it comes to our tradition.

What are taboos? Taboos are pretty much a set of rules; religious or traditional; forbidding a certain group of people or a person’s association with anything.

Hence a food taboo is a practice in which certain foods cannot or may not be eaten. It could be for religious, traditional or for health purposes.

I am African. Nigerian to be precise. I come from the Igbo speaking tribe of Nigeria :)…The Igbo people are known to be “conk” traditionalists. We have so much culture and as much as it just drives me crazy at how rigid and restrictive our cultures can be, it can be one of the most beautiful things to ever experience. I guess sometimes, it’s just relative 🙂

I find culinary taboos interesting and I find it exasperating that a lot of us are not culturally aware. We don’t pay attention to tradition anymore. I found out two years ago that History as a subject was banned from Nigerian schools for reasons I cannot really explain.

When you ban history from schools, how else are the Nigerian students supposed to learn and know simple things like taboos? Our ancestors have all gone to the great beyond and the remaining preservers of our culture have all passed on, so how are we supposed to learn these things if the lines of history have now been banned from being taught in Nigerian schools?

Back to the subject of taboos.

I remember once my father brought home some turtles and had them prepared for some pepper soup. My sister was home from the university and as usual and as a foodie, she wanted some, but my father quietly told her and me “women cannot eat turtles. It’s an abomination.” He really didn’t give a reason for this abomination. Although the turtle pepper soup looked delicious, I was too scared to touch it. Besides, my daddy’s words were too precious to me :). My sister on the other hand…O chim! she sneaked a bowl of the soup and ate it with all excitement. I honestly thought she would die oh, but she didn’t…Ngwanu! Wehldone daddy! Wehldone sir!

Apart from taboos being respected by our African traditional religion, Christians have also added theirs to the mix.

Once I was told by my former house fellowship leader not to eat cat fish, I wondered why because if I ever thought of not eating cat fish, it would be because of it’s place in the food chain as a burrower and it’s slimy nature.

Well, my house fellowship leader gave his reasons to be that cat fish were caught and used for sacrifices and incisions made on them with certain juju before they were released back into the water from whence they were caught.

Another thing was snails. Someone once told me that if I ate snails, I would move slowly in life because snails moved slowly. Fadaghad!

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Nigerian Goat Meat and Offal Pepper Soup(LazyChef Christmas)

Christmas is in the air and I am made to reminisce about my days of spending Christmas in the village. To my foreign readers, the village is simply the country side where my parents were born and raised.

Christmas in the village wasn’t always mandatory, but it was one of the most exciting times when it happened. Plus my parents thought it was an authentic way to introduce my siblings and I to our culture and extended family members.

My dad almost always had a goat or some chickens killed for the Christmas celebrations. And when my uncles were around, by tradition, they shared the offals, tails, and legs of the goat/chickens amongst themselves. Each family got their share of the meat according to how old they were i.e. by seniority.

After the goat was slaughtered, my cousins and brothers would dig a small hole or using an iron basin; they would make a make shift outside barbecue grill on which the butchered meats were roasted. Sometimes, they would even cook some offal pepper soup on the grill with scent leaves to boot. It was probably the most delicious pepper soup had I ever had. Maybe because it was done with my extended family around and with love. Oh! It was also Christmas so everything tasted amazing! 🙂

For this recipe, I tried it using two different methods. I did a slow cooked version in my crock pot and I did another easy  method on the stove top. The first time I tried the crock pot method, I was getting ready to go out with my ajebutters and I really needed the soup done at a particular time, so I threw everything into the crock pot and it was too good! It had this rich dark color, the flavors were intense and the meat was very tender.

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Suya and Coca-Cola Chicken (Lazychef Christmas)

Baby it’s cold outside…so we are having deliciously sweet and spicy wings for the win!

This recipe show me pepper eh!

Who would have thought that coca cola would be great with Nigerian recipes 🙂

The first time I made this chicken I followed a recipe which I had seen online. I tweaked the recipe and went to work on it. I was delicious, but it didn’t have the saucy coating I had wanted on it. I tried it once again, but the perfectionist in me just had to get it right. I kept trying to research(I’m sure google knows me by name now lol), but it all seemed complicated, so I decided to go back to the drawing board; yet it wasn’t quite clicking.

I brooded over not having the right recipe; then my ajebutter had to have surgey ; then I had to put it off again until sometime last week. I woke up early a few days after my ajebutter’s surgery and went right back to bed; then I woke back up and went into the kitchen. In between answering emails and messages, I whipped up everything. If you asked me how I did everything and down to the photo, I couldn’t tell you. I just blacked out and my hands just kept moving…what?! The only thing I remembered doing is praying and just asking God to help me as I dun too stress this thing and in the process of stressing, I asked God several times  “Is this was what you want me doing?” It was a moment where I thought I wasn’t doing too well and almost failed myself. For days like this, I thank God.

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Sautéed Chicken Drumsticks(Lazychef Christmas)

This Christmas, I am focusing on the simple. It’s been eventful leading to the holidays and I know that it gets that way for some households as well; hence my need for simple recipes.

I seem to have more chicken on the blog this year and that is because I am trying to make up for the lack of the turkey recipe I had initially promised.

I have had this recipe for a while and I posted a version on instagram and due to people asking me for it, I decided post it for Christmas. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s chicken 🙂

Before sharing, I have to apologize as I do not have accurate measurements for this recipe. But accurate eye balling of each ingredient gives you a very delicious sautéed chicken. I promise, to do it over with measurements. My hands are just majorly full. There’s holiday ChinChin to be made, and my ajebutter is home for the entire week before holiday; hence my hands the full hands.

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AtaDinDin Fried Rice-Jollof Fried Rice(LazyChef Christmas)

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This is one of my favorite recipes this year! It’s like a redo of my Jollof fried rice recipe; only with the use of Atadindin. The  beauty of this recipe is that, you can make it with any spicy Nigerian stew. The beauty also lies in the combination of the spicy stew with basil. Ordinarily, if you have had Efirin/basil stew, you will know the deliciousness that it carries with it.

Last Fall, I made a new friend in Remmy. She’s a beautiful Lawyer (@elimavenue on instagram) with a flare for cooking. Not only does she have the most amazing recipes, but she shared this particular one with me.

The first time I made this fried rice, I wanted to share the recipe, but I felt like there was something missing. And now? It has been converted to this bowl of deliciousness.

img_6778When I was younger, my favorite left over was a stir fry made with stew and white rice. We never threw away food; even when food looked like it was going bad, my mother would try to revive it…sigh!

Growing up in Nigeria, Sundays were for rice and stew. Even until this day, my mother still calls every Sunday to make sure I make rice and stew for her grand children(my ajebutters). On Sunday afternoons, after lunch, my mother would save the left over stew and on Monday, she would boil some white rice and do a stir fry and adding the stew as the main base.

Like I said, for this recipe, I used Atadindin, but you could also use any stew of your choice.

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Beef Suya Koftas-Suya meatballs on a stick(LazyChef Christmas)

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The elections are over and I have been busy eating my feelings :). I’m not your typical feminist, but I believe in a world where women will one day preside over the affairs of men(not literally men, but humans) 🙂

Anyway, let’s talk about Christmas. Happy thoughts!

This Christmas, I have made a decision to focus on easy recipes.

I want my readers to be able to source for ingredients, cook in good time and have dinner ready in no time.

Not only is Christmas about the food, but it’s about spending quality time with family.

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Vegetable Fried Rice and Paprika Chicken(LazyChef Christmas)

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Growing up, if there was any traditional meal that featured once a year and during Christmas, it was my mother’s fried rice. We almost always started chopping the veggies early in the morning and by late afternoon Christmas food was ready.

For the life of me, I will never understand why cooking in Nigeria took forever while I was younger.

My mother always made her special fried rice with the trimmings. And every year mommy’s fried rice came with different trimmings.

This year, I’ll be making mom’s special Kidney bean fried rice which has now become my vegetable fried rice.

For me, the kidney beans played the role as the protein and meat. (see what I did there?)

Let me tell you guys something. I made this fried rice for my friend and until today, she keeps saying…”please make me that your fried rice, There’s this taste that I cannot explain and it keeps me wanting for more.” And I kept saying “it’s just cloves…” lol(I think cloves is known as Kanafuru in Nigeria).

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Spicy Nigerian Style Chicken Wings

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Let me tell you something o. Never say never!

Although I have recently seen a lot of Indian cooking using yogurt, the first time I saw a recipe with a yogurt based marinated chicken, it was on 9jafoodie’s website. I thought, “hmm wetin “pelsin” no go see.” (covers face)… Until I tried it and I was like “ewooo!”

I have tried this recipe several times with different chicken parts, but I have to say that this version is my favorite. I was making some scrub for my face with some turmeric and with the same yogurt and I thought to myself “sebi let me add this turmeric to this chicken?” I did and Nna ehn, I can’t even explain the feeling of the taste.

For this recipe, the balance of the spicy was quite important to me. Most of us love spicy foods, but it’s hard for one to enjoy any meal with a lot of pepper.

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