This is a quick and easy recipe which I came up with because easy is good. Have you ever wondered why it took so long for our mothers to cook a simple meal. I remember every Sunday we ate rice and stew and from the time my mother went to get ingredients to the time the food was done; took damn near all day. I did a poll on my Facebook page for my friends to explain why cooking in Nigeria took too long for our parents. Some of the older folks said it is because the younger generation likes fast food. They said mothers in the olden days earned respect from the time they spent in the kitchen. The younger folks said technology had a bigger role to play in the cooking of then and now. And truly, I am leaning towards the technology part. When I was younger, when the gas was out, we used one stove and even with the abundance of Kerosene, the stove burned how it wanted to burn and took damn near forever. Cooking rice and beans took forever. They both came with tons of stones and we had to pic the stones out, wash, pre boil, and pick any left over stones out; then cook. These days we have rice mills where these stones are removed before being sold. Cooking some soups like Palm nut soup was a pain and messy. You had to wash the raw palm nut, cook it until it was soft, pound it in a mortar and squeeze the oil out. This process was tedious and messy especially when cooking for a large family. These days, we have palm nut in a tin; which is easy to use. Simply open the tin, pour the oil out add some water to your desired thickness and cook. Personally, spending all day in the kitchen is not a proof that one is a good cook.
Back to the recipe, cooking this stew was a breeze. It actually made me think about my friend who likes and prefers rice and stew. I remember when Zikoko mag had posted an app to show what style of rice you were. I got fried rice and my friend got Rice and stew. A conversation started on their Facebook wall about Jollof rice being ‘bae.’ I found out that day that they did not like Jollof rice. They like rice and stew. I mean, who does not like Jollof rice bikonu. Funny enough, anytime I make stew, I remember onye rice and stew and start laughing. 🙂
Anyway, Imagine your stew ready in 20minutes. Well, making the same volume as I did would take about the same time as I did making mine. Even if you decided to make more, it would still take a short time. It is all in the technic. The key here is to pour your blended tomatoes and peppers through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the liquid. The removal of the liquid is a huge hack for an easy and quick stew 🙂
You can enjoy this stew with plantains, rice, yam or potatoes. The warmth of cooked rice along with plantains and this stew is so comforting especially in the cooler weather. This took me back to when I was little and mommy would make her hearty stew. You know, that kind of stew that feels like a hug while you are eating it. Nostalgia 🙂
- I large roasted or smoked and flaked Mackerel (any smoked fish works)
- 6small to medium plum tomatoes
- 2 red tatase i.e. bell peppers
- 1 green or yellow tatase
- 6 habaneros peppers i.e. ata-rodo
- 1½ onions(slice the half and set aside)
- 2tbsps crayfish
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup oil (eye ball less or more)(I used a palm oil and vegetable oil mix)
- salt to taste
- Roughly blend the tomatoes, peppers, and the one onion. Pour into a fine mesh sieve to drain out the excess liquid.
- Heat the oil until very hot but not to bleach. Pour in the sliced onion along with the bay leaf and sauté until translucent. Stir in the crayfish and leave to mix in for about another minute. Pour in the tomato and pepper mix and stir. Season with salt and or bouillon and cook until the oil floats to the top. Add in the fish and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, drain out any excess oil, set aside and serve with rice and or fried plantains