Savory Corned Beef Sauce….Because Christmas Mornings :)

I remember being a little girl and sitting in a corner with an almost empty can; munching on salty morsels of corned beef and hearing my mom in the background telling me to be careful and use a spoon.

As a child I had a joyful experience with corned beef. I say joyful because I really don’t have words to describe my childhood experience with food generally. I think my joyful experience stems from my mother being adventurous with food. She made corned beef sandwiches, she added it as a protein to salads and used it as a substitute for Nigerian meat pies and sausage rolls.

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Juka’s Organic

When I first heard of Juka’s Organic, I wasn’t sure what it was. I was like “which one is Juka again?” Notwithstanding, I gave them the audience and I have to tell you it was one of the most pleasant audience I had ever granted. Juka’s Organic is a company that sells African products and one of my favorite things, the African organic Palm oil.
Receiving the palm oil in the mail, the box smelled like sweet plantain chips. On opening it, it was a box of palm oil, coconut oil and palm oil sauce. Although the oils smelled so sweet on opening them, I didn’t rush to taste them as I wanted to take my time to relish in each bottle.

The first of the oils I tried was the palm oil sauce. It was not salty and it tasted freshly made. I had it with some boiled white yam and some corned beef sauce. It was so good I had to start adding it in everything we ate. Even with beans and African bread it was tickety boo!

The coconut oil wasn’t any different. It tasted coconutty and wholesome. I used it for my oil pulling and I made some noodle stir fry. Freshness guaranteed!
My favorite was the Red Palm oil. Juka’s Organic palm oil is the truth! The whole truth and nothing less. I’m a cook/chef and I am someone who cooks for people so I use a lot of palm oil in my soups and sauces. I know people who do not like palm oil. They would eat anything but palm oil until Dr. Oz and even Oprah endorsed it as a superfood.

I think as Africans, we don’t understand the value and wholeness of our foods. And I digress.
In my first attempt using Juka’s Organic red palm oil, I made some yam pottage with it. The oil smelled sweet and the color was the most brilliant shade of red I had ever seen. The yam pottage tasted differently from the others I had ever made. The taste was deliciously inexplicable. Sweet spot confirmed! I thought I was enjoying palm oil until I tasted Juka’s Organic palm oil. Now I hide my Juka’s oils in my pantry make story no enter abeg. Continue reading →

Ghanaian Okra Stew

I am a huge fan of Okra thanks to my ajebutter and my dad. There’s no telling how many times I make it in one week. Even my son the gluten free ajebutter loves and prefers a meal of okra over anything else. Infact he calls the Nigerian stew and okra the red and green soup.

Today we will take a trip to Ghana. Ghanaians and Nigerians do have a lot in common; especially when it comes to food. Apart from Egusi, Jollof rice and suya, we do share similarities in how we make our okra and to them it’s called Okra stew. Maybe because of how it’s made with a tomato base. Not forgetting that the Yoruba’s do call theirs Okra stew too.

My ajebutter had to get some allergy shots and with him crying “mommy mommy” I had to make something quick. And what better recipe to make than one with okra. It’s quick it’s easy and it’s damn delicious! 

I have seen some of my Ghanaian neighbors eat this soup with banku. A fufu mix of corn and cassava. Although I didn’t make mine with banku, we enjoyed it with yellow garri. As in the garri dey draw like pounded yam kaiiii!

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Egg Plant Sauce (Garden Egg Sauce). My pot of deliciousness

Growing up Nigerian, we ate a lot of home grown vegetables. We had our own garden of fresh fruits, vegetables, yam and herbs. On the weekends, mommy made anything from bean fritters to yam and eggs or yam and vegetables. My favorite weekend breakfast was yam and egg plant sauce. Although eating egg plants did take some getting used to, I fell in love with it. It was usually fried in oil, seasoned lightly, cooked slowly and loaded with mackerel.

I have tried egg plants a lot of ways, but this recipe right here is my absolute favorite.

Eating egg plant sauce is a great way to get your healthy vegetables in; especially if you’re one of the fit fam folks who do meatless Mondays.

One reason I love this recipe is because apart from it being easy, it had a certain sweetness. I have tried some egg plants that were bitter to taste after cooking. But I found the hack and it’s boiling the egg plants until a little soft and peeling off the skin.

In finding a pocket of time, I made some egg plant sauce and viola! Yam and fried plantain toh bad!

My sauce had a lot of seeds because of the breed of egg plants I used, but regardless of the seeds, the sauce was delicious. It was a pot of sauce not to be forgotten.

For a foot note, how your egg plant sauce turns out depends on what breed of egg plants used and how you cook it.

Another reason to love this sauce is the umami; and that is the addition of locust beans. Thank you Funmi 🙂

I used Thai egg plants which are the same shape as the image below, but green in color.

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Crispy Chicken Legs

I have missed you my people! It’s has been a while. For some reason, I suffered an episode of writers block; then I wasn’t sleeping well and my brain got fried. The things something as small as sleep does for the human body is amazing. Then imagine waking up to crispy chicken after a long nap.

Before we get to the chicken let me tell you guys how much I have learnt about eating yogurt. When it comes to yogurt, I always ate the types which had fruit in them until I realized the amount of sugar I was eating. I did a switch to plain organic Greek yogurt and it was like I had found the holy grail to the epitome of yogurt deliciousness. Sometime ago, I saw a recipe from 9jafoodie in which she used some plain Greek yogurt as a marinade. I tried using some Greek yogurt several times and it worked great each time, it actually blew my mind. I never knew yogurt was so magical. Not only is it a great source of probiotics, it makes for a moist and great tasting chicken. A healthy bowl of plain Greek yogurt packs a healthy punch. It helps in weight loss and aids in healthy digestion. Apart from eating yogurt, it can be mixed with essential oils and turmeric for keeping healthy skin. My favorite way to enjoy yogurt is in kind of a parfait style with lemon, fruits, nuts and honey. If you want to learn more about why yogurt is the holy grail to a moist chicken, clean guts, and a healthy skin, just include it in your everyday diet and experience the magic 🙂

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Jolloff Etcetera….

A great conversation starter is the restaurant “jollof Ecetera.” This tiny but large shack is located in Annapolis Maryland. You know the saying “good things come in small packages?” Jolloff Ecetera is one of those good things.

The fact that I have nothing plenty to say about this place is because they “killed” everything with their awesome food. Have you ever tasted a meal so good, you constantly replay how you ate it and it’s taste in your mouth?

I walked into Jollof Ecetera not knowing what to expect. It looks like a “to go” kind of restaurant. What that means is that, you simply make an order and pick up your food or have it delivered once it’s prepared.

Even as small as the space for the restaurant is, there are a few chairs and tables for patrons who wish to dine in. I dined in.

Ambiance: There is really none but for the soft gospel music playing from the tv set. The place was crowded with people and it just seemed so little to navigate through.

Make over: Jolloff Ecetera needs a total make over. a least some new chairs with tables that fit the space. Nothing more or less.

Apart from the ambiance and the need for a make over, I liked the little notes that sat on the table. The notes had scriptures on them. Oh, I forgot to tell you that the restaurant is owned by a Christian who doesn’t ever settle. He doesn’t even serve alcohol in his restaurant. Drink your Schweppes or water and enjoy your meal or nothing.

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5 Sisters And None Extra….

In the beautiful DMV area is the restaurant 5 sisters that caters to the gastronomical needs of the African people who live around the area. When you hear the word “5 sisters,” the first question that comes to mind is “is it a music group of some sort?” Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s an African restaurant owned by a Cameroonian lady with 5 daughters. I didn’t get the full history but I know they are 5 and they even own a boutique too.

Walking into the restaurant, it was like walking into a club in broad day light. Not that people don’t club during the day, but na those day time clubbers sabi. I have been to restaurants that double as event halls or clubs but this one was lit from the afternoon when my host and I got there until we left at almost midnight. I actually thought there was a party going on because of the loud music but I guess the DJ was just too excited to be at work that day. While this restaurant seems like a great place to sit and have “life changing” conversations, I don’t want to listen to very loud music in the early evening, shouting on the top of my lungs while trying to eat and have a “meaningful” conversation with my friends.

The Ambiance at the 5 sisters restaurant was a little mixed and confusing. They had ‘bluish’ disco lights on in the night time and close to the bar with the restaurant part on both ends of the hall; the Dj and his loud jockey set was right by the door. I can’t explain the whole restaurant’s set up, but the entire character of the place screamed “make me over!”

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The Nigerian Salad

If there is one food I revere, it is the Nigerian salad. It is one dish that can serve as a full meal or a side dish. It can also be made in a whole lot of  different ways with different types of vegetables. For more than a year, I have been aiming to making this salad, but the opportunity never came until we went to Massachusetts this past summer and I had to make it per request for a Summer birth day party. Even at that, I almost did not share this recipe. I didn’t think the picture was pretty enough, but listen, it’s the recipe that counts 🙂

Making “the Nigerian salad” takes patience. Making any type of good salad/food takes patience. Once thing that grinds my gears is eating chunks of vegetables in the name of eating a salad. In fact it turns me off. You don’t have to serve your guests or yourself, chunks of vegetables which look as big as yam or cassava tubers all with the aim of trying to eat a salad.

Growing up Nigerian and helping my mom with kitchen chores, she taught us how to cut our vegetables for salad either into tiny and long strips or into very small pieces. The work involved seems a bit tiring, but I tell you, the yumminess at the end is totally worth it. We made salad every holiday and I was never fond of salad duty. I liked meat duty; plenty of meat tasting for me.

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Drunken Suya Wings.

The Summer of 2018 can be said to be the Summer of our lives. I ate so much food and gained 10lbs; even my many trips to the beach couldn’t help my weight gain. And of all the foods we ate, my brother’s Suya wings were my favorite.

There is something that brings Nigerians together when you serve spicy meat and beer. There is Nkwobi and beer, Isi Ewu and beer, peppered meat and beer and the ultimate street snack, Suya and beer. And for this recipe, I literally combined both; hence the name “Drunken Suya wings.”

I love chicken wings and slightly sweet beers, so this was ultimately it for me this summer.

It’s the perfect appetizer and the perfect finger food for any kind of party.

My brother grilled some at a cook out and all were gone at the drop of a hat.

Knowing that Suya is inauthentic without being served in the signature news papers, these chicken wings can also be served news paper style; but to stay healthy, a bowl or parchment paper would do the same magic.

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Dambu Nama

With over 400 spoken languages, Nigeria is a country filled with people from different walks of life. Currently, Nigeria is going through a lot; the whole country seems to be in total chaos.
In the northern region, there is the group known as Boko haram slaughtering the citizens of Nigeria with reckless abandon. But through it all, struggles in continuing to find unity.
In the north and as well as in other regions of Nigeria, there are recipes that seem to have been extinct, but these days I see them being resurrected and even made better by different bloggers and chefs.
I wish for a day when the Nigerian people will live in tranquility. A day when we would bond all regions through food.
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