The Pretend Chef

Ofada stew, Red Pepper Ofada Stew

Hot and spicy red ofada stew

Stews/ Sauces/ dips | January 21, 2018 | By

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.

ofada rice

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.

onions in a pot of bleaching palm oil

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.

ground peppers for red ofada stew

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.

Hot and spicy red ofada stew

Serve with plantain, yam, rice, agidi (eko), couscous, etc.

 

Note

  • 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.

 

If you enjoyed my Red Pepper Ofada Stew, you will also enjoy my Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew), Nigerian Tomato Stew Base, Palm oil Stew and Fresh Tomato Sauce.

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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VegFest, St. John’s NL. VegFest

St. John's NL VegFest

Food Trek, vegetarian | January 12, 2018 | By

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.

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My Stories

nigerian cuisine

My stories | January 2, 2018 | By

Hello everyone,

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. 

(more…)

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15 Easy Christmas Food Ideas

15 easy christmas food ideas

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.

#letsgetcooking

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Sesame seed Muffins, Ridi Muffins

Rich and Nutty Sesame seed muffins, Ridi muffins

Desserts/ finger food | December 22, 2017 | By

Sesame seed muffins, Ridi muffins are rich and nutty, very simple and easy to make. They are a play on sweet and savoury. These muffins went down well with both adults and children. In fact, the kids gobbled them up and went for seconds and thirds. I could only save one muffin for myself. The sesame seeds pop in your mouth as you chew your muffins and that is so much fun.

Sesame seed muffins are excellent for breakfast, snacks or dessert. There is an abundance of sesame seed in Nigeria especially in

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Lemon poppyseed cake, Lemon cake

Moist, fluffy and citrusy lemon poppyseed cake

Desserts/ finger food | December 22, 2017 | By

Lemon poppyseed cake is rich and moist, fluffy and buttery with a refreshing tang of lemon. The poppy seeds dot the cake beautifully giving it a pleasant nutty taste and an almost indiscernible crunch.

Poppy seeds are used in Central Europe, North America, India etc. but it is not common in Nigeria. It can be found in large supermarkets in Nigeria but an excellent substitute for poppy seeds is

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kunun aya deluxe, sugar cane-Tigernut drink

15 Christmas food ideas

Drinks, vegetarian | December 21, 2017 | By

Kunun aya deluxe is taking your regular kunun aya, tiger nut drink and making it insanely nectareous and decadent. An irresistible level of sweet, spicy, flavoursome and goodness, even somewhat sensual if you ask me. (ok enough already).

I love when I can take a basic recipe and turn it into something luxurious. This recipe was given to me by Halima, the pretty Hausa lady I buy most of my indigenous northern Nigerian food ingredients. Halima is so knowledgeable about northern Nigerian food, I never leave her shop in a hurry.

The special ingredients here are

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Peppered mixed meat, mixed meat in tomato relish

peppered mixed meat

Meat, Stews/ Sauces/ dips | December 21, 2017 | By

Peppered mixed meat is excellent with drinks when family and friends come together or just as a personal indulgence. Where there is a social gathering of Nigerians, there must be meat and drinks, especially spicy meat. There is no end to the formulations and diversity of spicy meat dishes, Suya, Kilishi (beef jerky), Peppered snails, Asun, spicy goat meat, Peppered gizzard, Nkwobi etc.

This peppered mixed meat recipe is fresh tasting and delectable. The freshness of the tomatoes mellows the heat of the peppers while the onions add sweetness. It is eaten as it is or if you want something more substantial to serve with

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Rich Tomato gravy

Rich tomato gravy

Stews/ Sauces/ dips | December 20, 2017 | By

Tomato gravy is a rich roux-based sauce, full of flavour and satisfying. It was a staple in my home, I served it at least once a week with twice cooked potatoes, grilled potatoes, rice or pasta.

My son no.1 called asking about my tomato sauce, the curry sauce and the other sauce, sauces that featured on our dinner table regularly while he was growing up. He loved those sauces and would

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Couscous with bell peppers

Healthy and light Couscous with bell peppers

Pasta, Rice, vegetarian | December 20, 2017 | By

Couscous with bell peppers is healthy and light and it’s ideal for those busy days you need a quick, simple and healthy meal. Couscous commonly made with durum wheat semolina is a type of pasta but similar to rice in its use. You can use it to replace rice in most dishes e.g Jollof rice and fried rice. On its own, it is quite bland just like rice.

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