Ofada stew can easily become your favourite stew. It is hot, hot, spicy-hot and a little sweet if done right. It fills your house with the sweet smell of hope…hope that something delicious is cooking.
Ofada stew is usually served with Ofada rice at parties wrapped in banana or Uma leaves. Ofada is the name of the town in western Nigeria where this rice is produced. The rice is unpolished with its own peculiar flavour and chewy texture. It is more expensive than many other varieties of rice sold locally.
There are 2 popular types of Ofada stew, red pepper Ofada stew and green pepper Ofada stew. The green pepper Ofada stew is called Ayamase or designer stew. This recipe is for the Red pepper stew. I learnt how to cook Ofada Stew from one of my favourite Buka sellers.
Cooked with palm oil which is a major source of its flavour, the palm oil is bleached to a pale golden hue. Generally, a lot of scotch bonnet is used, up to double what I used for this recipe but this is about the limit of my heat tolerance, feel free to use more or less.
Though Ofada stew is made with only peppers, I threw in a little whole tomato to calm the peppers down a bit and tomato puree for bulk and flavour. This stew is thick so a little goes a long way. It doesn’t need much seasoning just salt and a little seasoning cubes.
To prepare red Ofada stew
1 kg mixed meat 3 cups palm oil 2 medium onions (230g) 2 medium tatashe (110g) 12 pieces Shombo (140g) 12 pieces scotch bonnet 2 medium tomatoes 1 1/2 wraps Iru 2 cubes seasoning cubes 1/4 cup tomato puree shawa or cooked stockfish (optional) 1/4 cup ground crayfish 1/2 small onion Hard boiled egg (optional)
Wash mixed meat well. Place in a pot, season with salt and seasoning cubes.
Add a little water, cover and cook until meat is soft.
Put iru into a small bowl, add enough water to cover it well about 1/2 cup. Stir well to release any grit or sand on it, remove iru seeds, set aside and leave the water to settle.
Pour palm oil into a dry pot and place over medium heat.
Once it starts smoking reduce the heat to low, drop chunks of the small onion into it.
Heat until the oil has lost most of its colour and is a very pale golden colour.
Drop a little on a white surface to check if the colour is right.
Do not rush this stage, it can take up to 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, roughly grind together onions, tatashe, shombo, scotch bonnet and tomatoes. Do not grind to a smooth paste.
Pour ground pepper into a pot over medium-high heat and boil until reduced.
Add iru, iru water leaving the sand and grits behind, seasoning cubes, salt and 1 cup meat stock.
Keep boiling until reduced and thick.
When the oil is ready, take off the heat to cool a little, remove the onions.
Fry meat in hot oil, drain meat and set aside.
Into the oil, add boiled down pepper mix, tomato paste, shawa or stockfish and fry.
Add fried meat, ground crayfish and hard-boiled eggs. Stir and fry until dry 10-15 minutes.
Take off the heat.
Serve with plantain, yam, rice, agidi (eko), couscous, etc.
- You can substitute iru with dawadawa.
- Bleach the palm oil for a long time over medium-low or low heat. It won’t cause a lot of smoking and coughing unless on high heat.
- You can cover the pot of bleaching palm oil if you do it over high heat, this will help contain the smoke. After about 5-10 minutes depending on the quantity, turn off the heat and allow to cool before opening.
- If you cover the pot when bleaching the palm oil, your stew will have a smokey flavour.
- The chunk of onion added to the palm oil flavours it.
- You can grind everything together without iru then fry iru with the onions and pour in the ground peppers straight into the hot oil without having to boil it down first.
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VegFest is an annual international vegan food festival which takes place in different parts of the world from North & South America, Africa, Europe to the far east. Each Festival is individually organised entirely by volunteers, it is a not-for-profit and attendance is free.
VegFest is for vegans, vegetarians, environmentalists, foodies and anyone interested or curious about the plant-based lifestyle.
I want to welcome you on this culinary journey. We are going to have an awesome time right here.
Since we are going to be Nigeria-centric, you need to understand that Nigerian dishes are numerous and very diverse. Nigeria has so many ethnic groups and each group has a bunch of dishes indigenous to them.
That being said, there are some dishes that cut across the different tribes though with a few differences in their preparation methods. Here we are going to use the simplest, easiest method without compromising taste. Nigerian cuisine is also mostly spicy and most times the ingredients are not measured but ‘eye-balled’. I will do my best to give as precise a measurement as possible. Sometimes using both cup and weight measurements in one recipe.
Christmas season, food, food and even more food. Delicious, seam bursting food!!! So…
- Are you stumped for food ideas?
- Are you bored with the same old menu?
- Are you nervous about cooking for relatives and friends?
- Do you want to make spectacular food on the cheap?
- Do you want to impress and show off your culinary skills to you know who?
- You just want good food on your table…
These are easy Christmas food ideas, dishes that you can incorporate into your Celebration menu for Christmas lunch/dinner or party, wedding parties, cocktails, end-of-year parties, house guest entertainments etc.
Wishing you and yours the best life has to offer, this Christmas season and into the New year—The Pretend Chef.
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