Nigerian Seafood Chowder
I was grocery shopping the other day and saw packs of seafood mix for chowder so I thought, it’s high time Nigeria officially got its own chowder. There are so many different types of chowder, New england, Manhattan, Bermuda chowder etc.
The Nigerian seafood chowder is light, mildly spicy and creamy, very comforting. The beauty of this chowder lies in the cohesive blend of the clean taste of the fresh seafood. It is not masked by lots of herbs and spices.
Chowder is typically a soup made with a mix of different types of seafood with milk or cream included. Some include vegetables, and some kind of meat, the most famous being the clam chowder. For a vegetarian version, you can replace the seafood with corn.
In the Nigerian seafood chowder, no dairy is included, rather it is slightly thickened with the potato or yam added to it.
My seafood mix contained chunks of haddock, atlantic salmon, scallops and shrimp, but any combination of seafood can be used e.g a mix of different types fish (use mainly firm fleshed fish and go easy on oily fish because the flavour is usually really strong), mgbe (oysters), ngolo (water snails), squid (calamari), octopus, ofingo (clams) shrimps, crab, mussels, prawns, even snails.
Serve as a bowl of delicious hot soup with a drink or accompanied by agidi (eko). For a hearty meal, serve with a bowl of rice, boiled yam or potato etc.
To prepare Nigerian Seafood Chowder:
250g mixed seafood chunks 1 small fresh tomato 1 medium carrot 1 medium irish potato or 1 small slice of yam 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 small onion (1/3 cup, chopped) 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder 1 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper) 2 seasoning cubes 2 teaspoons tomato puree (tomato paste) 4 or 5 scent leaves, chopped salt
Clean and cut seafood, set aside. Remove seeds from tomato and chop, scrape carrot and cut into chunks. Peel potato and cut into cubes.
Place a dry pot over medium flame. Add vegetable oil, when hot, add onions and carrot, fry but do not color.
When onion is translucent, add garlic, ginger and finely chopped scotch bonnet.
When the aroma of the garlic and ginger can be perceived, add water, stock cubes and tomato puree. Boil for 10 minutes.
Add potato or yam cubes. If using dry scent leaves like I did, add at this point.
When potato has softened, add chopped tomato, seafood, fresh scent leaves and salt.
Do not be too light handed on the salt because the potato and seafood will pick up the salt from the broth leaving it bland, just taste as you add. Cook for 5 minutes till sea food is ready. Crush one or two pieces of potato when you add the seafood to thicken the chowder to taste.
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