This stew that had me licking my fingers and looking like a little child in a candy store.
It was a Sunday afternoon and following our Sunday tradition, I wanted to make some tomato stew for some rice. I had forgotten to defrost the chicken I was supposed to use for the stew, so I decided to do one with the beef I had defrosting for another dish.
This dish began as a simple beef stew and ended up mouth smacking good. Who would have thought that the addition of dadawa could be this amazing? Okay Okay, I can see your face asking what is Dadawa? Dadawa(also known as dawadawa) is made out of dry iru i.e. fermented locust beans. It is a local and natural seasoning which is mainly found in the northern part of Nigeria. Unlike Iru, dadawa is dried and molded in to discs; these discs are then rolled into balls to make Ogiri Okpei.
Apart from using Locust beans, these natural seasonings can be made out of Egusi i.e melon and Sesame seeds.
There are so many Natural seasonings for local and modern Nigerian cooking including Ogiri(also made out of oil bean seeds or egusi i.e. Melon seeds) which is divided into different types based on the part of Nigeria it is made. The smell is quite pungent, but the taste is amazing in food 🙂
For this recipe you could use Okpei or dadawa; these are great for stews and sauces. (Iru is also an option)
Back to the recipe. This is a thick one pot fried stew and to me it is gold. There is no added water or stock as the beef is seasoned, fried and cooked with the tomatoes and other ingredients. You have just got to give this recipe a try and I promise you; you will go back to the pot for seconds, thirds and fourths 🙂
- 1.5lbs of beef cut into thick stripes or bite sizes
- 1 bouillon
- ½tsp thyme
- ½tsp of curry
- 2tsps sun flower oil
- salt to taste
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1-2garlic cloves(grated)
- 1 inch of ginger(grated)
- 8 plum tomatoes
- 2 habanero peppers ie Ata-rodo
- 1 small green bell pepper
- 1 really ripe red bell pepper
- 1 large onion(divided)
- bouillon(optional. as the dawa dawa is seasoning. taste stew before using)
- ½ tbsp. dry grounded red pepper or red pepper flakes(optional if you don't like pepper)
- ⅔ cup of sunflower oil(any vegetable oil works)
- ½-1 tbsp of grounded dadawa or you may use a whole disc (very optional)(run through a dry mill or crush with a mortar and a pestle)(You could use 1½tbsp of Iru as an option or none)
- salt to taste
- Wash and pat beef dry. Cut the meat into thick strips. Blend all the ingredients listed for the beef together and pour over the meat along with some salt and oil. Massage the seasonings into the meat and cover to marinate for 1-12hours(30 minutes works too)
- Blend the tomatoes, the peppers and half of the onion. Pour the tomato and pepper mix through a fine mesh sieve or boil it to dry out the water.
- pour the ⅔rd cup of oil into a heavy bottomed pot. Once the oil is hot. Add the beef into it one after the other without over crowding the pot. Fry each side until golden brown. You may need to fry it in batches. Once the beef is fried, pour any previously fried ones back into the pot. Slice in the remaining half of the onion and let it cook along with the beef. After about 2 minutes, pour in the dawa dawa if using any and stir for a minute to combine and infuse the flavors into the beef. Pour in the tomato and pepper blend, stir and slightly cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cook while stirring ocassionally until the oil begins to float to the top and the stew has thickened a little and lost it's tangy tatse. Season with the bouillon(if using),and some salt to taste. Stir in the dry grounded pepper and cook for another 2 minutes to combine flavors. Let the stew rest before serving
I am confused on what to do with the Iru that looks like little seeds which is all I have seen in the USA. I have seen recipes and even a Nigerian woman while I was in Nigeria add them to hot water and then sit awhile and add to soups. Do you add whole or grind them up (the ones that look like little seeds?) I need to know the correct way to cook with them.
Do they sell the dried Dadawa or the disks here in the USA.? What is the difference in Dawa Dawa and Dadawa? I am thinking that they are the same. Finally, is Ogiri Okpei (I think its the Igbo name) the same as Iru and Dawa Dawa or Dadawa. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you
Hi. Iru is quite easy to use. I usually use them whole. I have only had them grounded once in Ayamase. When they are hard or dry, I soak in hot water to soften before using. It’s also best to give them a quick rinse before using; just incase of any dirt it might come with. Do not over rinse though. Dadawa or Dawadawa are the same thing. it’s amazing in ogbono soup and you could add a little to okra soup. Just roast a little until fragrant and grind before adding to soups. Ogiri, Iru and Dawadawa are the same things. just used differently for different things. Ogiri is great in Igbo native soups. I hope this helps 🙂