The Pretend Chef

Simple Sofrito recipe

Delectable Simple Sofrito

Simple Sofrito was inspired by the Puerto Rican Sofrito. It is a versatile blend of aromatic ingredients used to add flavour to food. I came across this condiment when I was trying to find a minced beef empanada filling different from my usual delicious Minced beef empanada filling. I needed something bold and suited to the very discerning Nigerian palate, something my guests will eat and say this is different but it tastes so gloriously awesome.

Sofrito is so easy to make and it is so, so flavoursome. Many Puerto Rican recipes rest on this condiment and it is what makes my Minced Meat Herb Empanada filling extra special.


Nigerian Refried Beans

tasty Nigerian Refried beans

Beans, Porridge/Pudding, vegetarian | August 27, 2017 | By

Refried beans is a staple Mexican dish where it is called Frijoles refritos meaning well-fried beans though it is usually literally translated Refried beans that is beans fried twice. Refried beans is not new to the Nigerian cuisine and though it is not called refried beans in Nigeria, we fry our beans from time to time.

It reminds me so much of aganyin beans, maybe somebody copied the other who knows? Mexicans use lard while Nigerians use palm oil.


Amazing facts about Tiger nut oil

tiger nut

I have never associated Tiger nut with oil, never. Tiger nuts, Cyperus esculentus, sedge, chufas (Spain), aya (hausa), imumu/ofio (yoruba), aki awusa (Igbo) are those tiny nuts, that are not really nuts sold by street vendors in their wheelbarrows on Nigerian streets, alongside dry dates and kuli-kuli. Crunchy, sweet and juicy, they are actually tubers.

Munching the fresh or rehydrated dry tiger nuts, drinking tiger nut milk, even making the flour and using it in delicious recipes, these are things I do with tigernuts, but tiger nut oil? I was totally blown away and happy I came across it. I have said to myself anything that comes from tiger nuts must be good and delicious, I need to buy tiger nut oil from

All plants contain oils or fats example, olive oil and cocoa butter but mainly in their seeds, tiger nut is for the time being the only known plant that accumulates oil in a substantial amount in its tuber/root (up to 27% oil). This oil is very versatile in its usage and for each way it is used, it ranks superior. For cooking, hair, skin, as biodiesel etc.

Tiger nut oil can be purchased online on

tiger nut

Tigernut oil fatty acids profile


About Tigernut oil

Physical and Chemical properties of Tigernut oil

  • Tiger nut oil is golden brown in colour and has a rich nutty taste.
  • It can be extracted without the addition of external heat by cold compress which makes it a very superior oil.
  • It is considered a stable oil because it remains in a uniform liquid state even when refrigerated at very low temperatures.
  • Tiger nut oil has a very long shelf life, it does not go rancid fast because the oil is extremely resistant to oxidation.
  • It has a higher oxidative stability than other oils, due to its low content of polyunsaturated fatty acid, high content of vitamin E and other antioxidants.
  • Tiger nut oil is resistant to chemical decomposition at high temperatures so is good for high-temperature cooking.
  •  It is a heart-healthy oil with a high Vitamin E content.
  • Tiger nut oil has a similar lipid profile as olive oil ( see table above ).
  • It predominantly consists of oleic acid. Other major fatty acids present are palmitic acid, linoleic acid and stearic acid.
  • It has a balanced ratio of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and iron.
  • Tiger nut oil is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin C and E.
  • The quantity of polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid & linolenic acid) is enough to cover the daily minimum needed by the human body which is about 10g.
  • Tiger nuts oil is also cholesterol free and has very low sodium content.
  • It is rich in omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids.
  • Due to the presence of short and medium chain fatty acids, oleic acid and essential fatty acids, tiger nut oil stimulates the absorption of calcium in bones and the production of new bone material.
  • It reduces LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol).
  • It can also reduce levels of triglycerides in the blood.


Culinary/Nutritional properties of Tigernut oil

  • Tigernut oil is considered a stable oil which remains in a uniform liquid form at refrigeration temperature making it suitable as a salad dressing and vegetable based ice-cream.
  • It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so ideal for high-temperature cooking like deep frying, stir-frying etc.
  • Due to its extraction by a cold, virgin process, tiger nut oil retains all its unique nutritional qualities.
  • Highly recommended for cooking above other oils because it is more resistant to chemical decomposition at high temperatures.
  • Less fat is absorbed into the food as tigernut oil creates a crust on the surface of the food during cooking, preventing the oil itself being absorbed into the food.

tiger nut

Use of Tigernut oil in the cosmetic industry

Skin care products

  • Tigernut oil has a high oleic acid and vitamin E content, but low acidity which makes it excellent for the skin.
  • Tigernut oil is effective against skin alterations, premature ageing, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis etc.
  • Its antioxidizing activity helps the skin fight free radicals that facilitate the ageing process thereby preserving its youth.
  • It nourishes the skin and improves skin elasticity making it soft.
  • Tigernut oil is easily absorbed into the skin and is highly moisturising due to its oleic acid content which prevents dehydration and dry skin.
  • It contains a small amount of behenic acid making it ideal for smoothening out wrinkles.
  • The omegas 6 present in the oil promotes skin cell renewal.
  • Tigernut oil is recommended for skin care during and after pregnancy.
  • Tigernut oil is also used for making bathing soap.
  • It serves as a lovely soothing massage oil.


Hair care products

  • Tigernut oil slows the regrowth of body hair after epilation, which is the removal of hair from the roots.
  • It is a moisturising oil which can penetrate the hair shaft and add moisture to the hair.
  • Tigernut oil smoothens out split-ends.
  • Tigernut oil helps to condition, protect and add shine to the hair, even damaged hair.
  • It calms frizzy and dry hair.



  • Besides the cosmetic industry, it is also used in the textile industry, in medicine and medical research,
  • It is used in Ayurvedic medicine.
  • The tubers are mildly fragrant and the essential oil produced is used as a perfume and insect repellant in Asia.
  • In the textile industry, the oil is used to waterproof textile fibres.
  • Research is on going on tigernut oil as a possible economic biodiesel.
  • In the United Kingdom, tigernut oil is mostly used in the fishing industry. It is known to be effective especially for anglers.



The information given here is not medical or nutritional advice but purely informative and nothing more. You will need to see a doctor if you have any disorder and a nutritionist for advice on your diet.

Do you have any suggestions, comments or questions, I will love to know in the comments below. Check out my 30 Amazing Facts About Tigernut Milk, 25 Amazing Facts About Tiger nut flour, 30 Amazing facts about Tiger nuts. Also an Index of Tiger nut recipes coming soon. Learn how to make delectable Tiger nut milk (Kunnu-Aya, Chufas de Horchata) and Tigernut energy balls.


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Eteshola E et al., JAOCS 1996, 2, 255, Plant lipids and fat, cyberlipid center

Tigernuts oil

Dr Robert Griffiths, Importance of Oxidative Stability in the Shelf Life of Foods and Ingredients Technical Specialist (rssl science with service);

Bamishaiye, E.I., et al., “Tiger Nut: As a Plant, Its Derivatives and Benefits,” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 2011, 11(5);

Onyinye Ezeh, Michael H Gordon and Keshavan Niranjan, Tiger nut oil (Cyperus esculentus L.): A review of its composition and Physico-chemical properties, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom;

Jozef PH, Linssen GM, Kielman JLC and W Pilnik, Comparison of chufa and olive oil. J. Agric. Food Chem., 1988; 28:  279-285.

He YZ, Milford AH, Yusuf A and L Nan, Yellow nut-sedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) tuber oil as a fuel 1996;5: 177-181.

Adejuyitan, J.A. (2011). Tigernut processing: its food uses and health benefits. Am J Food Technol 6(3):197–201.

Bep Oliver-Bever, Medicinal Plants in Tropical West Africa.

Turesson Helle, et al. Sept. 2010,  Characterization of oil and starch accumulation in tubers of Cyperus esculentus var. sativus (Cyperaceae): A novel model system to study oil reserves in non-seed tissue.

A. K. KEHAYOGLOU, et al., Calcium absorption in the normal, bile-duct ligated, and cirrhotic rat, with observations on the effect of long- and medium-chain triglycerides


Asaro (Mashed yam porridge)

Asaro (mashed yam porridge)

Asaro is an easy one pot dish of yam porridge/pottage which is popular in western Nigeria. Different from the other type of yam porridge, Asaro is cooked with tomatoes and peppers, then mashed to a complete puree or with a few lumps of yam left unmashed for texture.

It is most times cooked without


Pigeon Pea in Coconut Milk (fiofio)

Pigeon pea in coconut milk served with Nigerian tomato stew

Pigeon pea is a species of beans and is grown and eaten in most parts of the world now. It has a high nutritional value, rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and lipids and is a wholesome food for both vegetarians and weight watchers. Pigeon pea can be cooked at different stages of


How to make Pure Tigernut flour

Pure Tigernut flour

Pure Tigernut flour is flour produced from the tuber of the tiger nut plant. It is gluten-free, nut-free, seed-free and grain-free. It suits many types of diet like Paleo, Keto, diabetic, raw food and is particularly important to the vegan diet. Read to know 25 amazing facts about tigernut flour.

Tigernut flour can be made in two ways, by


Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Spicy Cayenne Pepper Stew (Shombo Stew)

Cayenne pepper stew (Shombo stew) is a stew made with Fresh cayenne pepper with no tomatoes added. Nigerians and their numerous stews, we love our stews which are mostly made up of a combination of tomatoes and peppers, tomato being the main ingredient.

Tomatoes and peppers are nutrient rich fruits. Cayenne pepper by itself is high in vitamins A, B and C, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids. It aids digestion, acts as an


25 Amazing facts about tiger nut flour

25 amazing facts about tiger nut flour

When we hear flour we automatically think wheat, refined or unrefined, then corn and maybe a few other grain flours. Tiger nut flour ‘Cyperus esculentus’ is not your everyday flour, it is totally special not just because it tastes good but the health benefits are enormous. Also, it is not a nut flour being that tiger nut is a tuber.

There are other kinds of flour commonly used besides wheat flour like corn, rice, rye, oat, barley, potato, almond etc. There are also the not so common flours like amaranth, spelt, quinoa and the very unusual ones like coffee and grapeseed flours. In Nigeria, the most utilised flours will be


30 Amazing Facts About Tigernut Milk

30 amazing facts about tigernut milk

Besides eating tigernuts whole, a delicious wholesome non-dairy milk can be made out of them. It is called Kunnu Aya in Nigeria and Chufa de Horchata in Spain. Tigernut milk is white, sweet and creamy. Although tigernut ‘Cyperus esculentus’ is not a nut, it is a tuber but milk is extracted from it like any nut milk.

Tigernut milk is produced commercially in Spain and can be bought in shops. It comes in different forms, Natural tigernut milk, Pasteurised natural tigernut milk, Sterilised tigernut milk, UHT tigernut milk, Concentrate


Plain Okro Soup (Ila)

Fresh Plain okro soup with Omi Obe and Amala

Plain okro soup is different from the one pot okro soup, it is cooked to be accompanied by the versatile Omi Obe (stew). They make an exquisite pair. I first ate plain okro with Omi Obe in the boarding school. At first, it was a shock to me seeing stew and eba (garri fufu) served together, then there was this pool of seemingly uncooked okro right in the middle. Did somebody forget to stir the soup in the pot? Did they forget to add the okro when the soup was being cooked?  By the way who serves stew and eba? Coming from the Eastern part of Nigeria, I had only known the one pot Okro soup with green leafy vegetables. Eventually


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