This recipe just like every other recipe I develop, is very special to me. Long post alert though 🙂
I was testing recipes this week and while I was shopping for the ingredients at the farmer’s market, I saw a lady digging underneath the table that had the display of fresh plum tomatoes. I wondered what she was doing; then I decided to look with her. Underneath this display table was a box of tomatoes. I don’t know why I was immediately thrilled because I went ahead and bought all the green ones. On getting home, I realized I really had no plans for the tomatoes. Then I thought ayamase stew but done with tomatoes instead of pepper.
You know the funny thing about all this, after posting the photo and talking about it on my social media pages, I got some reviews from people who said that this was how their grand parents or parents cooked stew…This goes to show that not all recipes are really new. Someone somewhere in this parallel universe has tried something we are probably testing for the first time.
Before I share this recipe, I want to share something that has always been in my heart to share. I shared it on my Facebook and Instagram pages respectively, but I feel I ought to share it here for those who haven’t seen it before. Before I continue, I’d like to first share what someone asked me about me sharing stories like these. Recently, I posted a photo with the following typed into it “Travel and tell no one. Live a true love story and tell no one. Live happily and tell no one. People ruin beautiful things.” And in my opinion, no truer words have ever been spoken. I am of the school of thought that, I must keep some precious things that has happened to me to myself. I am a very private person…But when it comes to things people can relate to like “Depression” I never keep it to myself. There are some beautiful things that have happened to me that I must keep to myself. Not everyone will understand your journey. I don’t know how else I can explain this. But here it goes…And below was my Facebook post…
I have been wanting to tell this story for a while, but each time I get to type it, I delete it. Not because I am ashamed, but because it may be too much for some.
I have suffered depression before. It got so bad that I attempted suicide three times.
The first time I attempted suicide, I drank an 8oz cup of cleaning supplies, but nothing happened to me. I was pregnant at the time, but I didn’t know. Poor baby, God kept her….
The second time, I took a whole bottle of pain pills. I was done, nothing meant anything to me. I had my baby, but I forgot that she was in the bed room. See the thing depression does to you. It makes you forget the good things life has to offer and you focus on the bad.
My baby was sleeping in her play mat on the floor. I was struggling with my thoughts; while she slept quietly and peacefully. I forgot! I took the pills and I began to crash. Minutes later I heard my baby cry. Then it clicked! Who will feed her? She only liked my breast milk…I grabbed the phone and hours later I found myself in the hospital and placed under suicide watch. I got free counselling and I got better with time.
The third time, I relapsed and when I found out I was pregnant with ajebutter 2, it got worse. I almost jumped off a three story building, but baby girl called out “mommy I’m hungry!” See I was in a very bad place…I was lied to, I felt used and even after having my boy my relationship with him suffered for a while…Now he’s my everything
One thing that escalated depression for me was the trivial way with which people close to me disregarded my cry for help. I felt invisible and I plunged into the mess and became suicidal.
Africans suffer depression, we don’t just pay attention to it and we have our ways of dealing with it, but at some point I couldn’t deal…To those who say they want my life, I smile and ask them “can you wear my shoes?” You can’t go about wishing you were someone when you don’t know what they went through to get to where they are…or what they’re currently going through…
Who no go no know.
PS: This short story isn’t for you guys to feel sorry for me. It’s for you to know that I have been broken in pieces before.
But like a Phoenix…I rise …
Who ever this inspires…
Back to the recipe. This is a very simple stew with the major seasoning as ogiri/ogili okpei. I’m a firm believer and a lover of all things okpei. Okpei is a local and natural Nigerian seasoning. A little of it goes a very long way.
If you use iru or dawa dawa, it’s kind of like the same concept, but it’s flavor is much intense; especially when toasted before use.
I’m a believer in local recipes and this stew is one of my most recipes enjoyed at home.
It’s time to cook…
Green Tomato and Scent Leaf Stew
- 1½lb cooked chicken or any meat
- 8 plum green tomatoes
- 3 Ose Nsukka(habanero)
- 1 red bell pepper(tatase)(optional)
- 1½ small onion
- 3 small garlic cloves(optional)
- ½-1 piece ogili okpei(use cray fish as a substitute)
- 1 handful scent leaf(sliced)(use basil as a substitute)
- 1 cooking spoon palm oil
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 2½ cups meat stock
- Blend the tomatoes, garlic, bell pepper, Ose and 1 onion and pour through a fine mesh sieve to drain out the excess water.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice the onion and set aside; then slightly toast the ogili on an open flame just until you can smell it a little(do not burn). Or you can toast it in an empty pot. Just place the pot over medium heat, place the ogili into the pot and toss a few times until you can smell it a little. You could also skip this step…
- Heat the palm oil until very hot; then add the other oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent; then add the ogili(or crayfish if using) and fry it for a few minutes. Add the tomato blend and stir to combine with the oil. Add the meat stock(make sure you eye ball how much water you use) and cover with a lid to cook. Once the oil begins to seep to the top of the stew, add the cooked chicken and cook until the oil has floated to the top. Add the scent leaves and cook for another 3 minutes before serving with any side.