Palm oil Stew
That distinct smell of onions frying in palm oil is always so exciting to the senses and it really carries far. When I perceive it, I think Palm oil Stew, Palm oil jollof Rice, Fried Okro Soup, Smoked fish sauce and dishes just flash through my mind and I salivate.
Palm oil Stew is similar to the Nigerian Tomato Stew, the only differences are replacing vegetable oil with palm oil and the use of local spices. In this stew, you are pushing the umami flavour to the forefront hence the addition of iru, dawadawa or okpei, though it is somewhat optional.
The palm oil is either bleached or unbleached depending on usage of the stew and personal preference. If left unbleached, it can be used for a wider range of dishes including soups for swallow. If the unbleached taste of the palm oil is too strong for you, then go ahead and bleach before you use. Remember if you are bleaching, to let the oil cool down a bit before use.
Vegetables can be added to this stew e.g. Shoko, Green Amaranth, Ewedu, Okro, Scent leaf, Curry leaf (Partminger) etc.
Palm oil stew is a life saver of sorts because you can make a big batch and store in small containers in the freezer, when you are pressed for time, you could use it as is for rice and yam or add some vegetable and you have your soup for ‘swallow’.
To prepare Palm oil Stew:
Meat (Beef, chicken, goat meat, mixed meat, pork etc) 660g tomato 220g tatashe 220g onions OR 2 1/2 cups boiled down tomato from Tomato Stew Base 4 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper) 2 cups Palm oil 1 medium onion, sliced Iru or Dawadawa (optional) 3 seasoning cubes salt.
Wash meat, put in a pot with some water, season with salt, seasoning cube and some sliced onions. Boil till tender. Set aside.
Wash and deseed tatashe. Wash tomato, onions and pepper.
Cut into chunks, place in a blender with some water and grind into a puree.
Pour into a pot, place over medium heat and boil down till liquid has evaporated.
Put iru in a bowl with enough water covering it. Swirl it around a few times to remove any grit or sand. Skim or pick out the iru, leaving the sand at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour palm oil into a clean dry pot, when hot, add sliced onions. Fry till the onions loses its colour. Add iru (dawadawa or okpei) and continue frying till onions is slightly browned at the edges.
Add the tomato puree, stir and reduce the heat. Initially the puree and the oil will mix and boil, but as you continue frying, the oil will separate from the tomato.
Taste to be sure the tomato is no longer sour. The base is done.
Add meat, meat stock and seasoning cubes, stir, taste and add salt.
Cook on medium low heat for 5 minutes. Take off the heat.
Serve your palm oil stew with rice, boiled yam, plantain, potatoes, etc.
Let us know in the comments how much you enjoyed your palm oil stew.
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