The Elixir That is Palm Wine.

My memories of palm wine is both crazy and sweet at the same time.

First things first, what is Palm wine? It is pretty much an alcoholic drink created from the sap of different species of the palm tree. It’s also known by different names; depending on the continent/place where it is located. For example, the Cameroonians call it “Tombo.” And most Nigerians call it Palmy or Simply Palm wine.

Continue reading “The Elixir That is Palm Wine.”

Advertisements

Health Benefits of Oha soup.

If you are a vegetarian or not, this Igbo soup is absolutely meant for you. It is sweet, nutritious and very easy to make. Oha soup is common in the eastern part of Nigeria and is known for how good it is in enhacing skin radiance and body health.

The ingredients needed in making this soup are the most important components of the soup, they are Oha leaves (as required), Cocao yam (15 to 20 medium sizes) or egusi seed (1 or 2 cups), Chicken, assorted, beef, goat meat, turkey, dry fish or mangala
Maggi (seasoning) 2 to 4 cubes, Crayfish (2 cups), handful of Uziza leaves ( although this is optional), 1 big Stock fish head, Palm oil 15 to 20 centilitres
0.2 cup of ofor or achi as an alternative thickener), Ogiri, salt and pepper to taste.

After getting the ingredients, the next process is to prepare the soup: Wash the cocoyam thoroughly with water to remove dirt and sand, then place in a pot, pour enough water to cover the cocoyam and boil until very tender. Peel off the brown back and pound with mortar and pestle. Blend your fresh pepper with crayfish and keep aside for later use. Pluck off the Uha leaves from the stem, wash it the same way you wash vegetable leaves then use kitchen knife to slice inti the size you want. The next step is to wash your meat clean, steam it with the necessary ingredients for few minutes until it is as soft as the way you desire it to be, while the meat is cooking add hot water into the bowl containing the dry fish and stock fish and allow to boil until tender. Add more (but small quantity of water into the pot of the cooked meat, red oil, blended crayfish and pepper, maggi and salt. Leave to boil; the soup will have taste even though it is watery then add the pounded coco yam or ground egusi (your choice) to serve as thickner. Also, add ogiri at this point. Stir and allow to melt before adding Uziza leaves and Oha leaves. Stir again and leave to boil for another 5 minutes.

images-1
Photo Credit: Ifeyinwa Nzeka/Food musings.

Your Oha soup is ready to be served with any kind of swallow (eba, wheat, semovita or fufu). Do not miss out on this very delicious Igbo soup and considering it is a new month, make it your February healthy African soup. For detailed information, visit http://allnigerianfoods.com/uha-soup or http://www.nigerianfoodtv.com/2013/12/how-to-cook-oha-soup-ora-ofe-oha-ora.html?m=1

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.

Suya…The African Love For Meat.

We are about to have a Happy New year while serving up some Suya!  There is this universal love for Suya amongst Africans that just warms my heart. At first, I thought it was more of a Nigerian thing, until I started seeing Ghanians and Kenyans making suya.

Suya is a form African street food in form of a kebab which is seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices. The meat is seasoned with the spices; then grilled over an open flame. The meat, when done is usually crispy on the outside and tender/juicy on the inside with the spices infused into every grain of the meat.

Let me digress a bit here.

There is something about meat that seems to make the average African happy and giddy with joy. It is supernatural! Living in Nigeria for example, you could see people spending time at different  ‘joints(a small make shift restaurant that specializes in finger foods and alcohol). Individuals spend time with friends at these places; having what seems like a serious conversation about politics, soccer and sometimes marriage and religion. These conversations are usually done over bottles of beer and trays of meat. From peppered snails to Suya and roasted spicy chicken. You could see in these restaurants, different people from all walks of life. Men with their “babes” in tow, munching away at some type of peppered meat or chargrilled suya…smiling, love and laughter in the atmosphere with a good bottle of Heineken stirring their conversations.

img_7299
image…@homemademealsng on instagram
img_7298
image…@Afrolems on Instagram
img_7300
Google image
img_7269
images…@Nigerianlazychef on instagram

Continue reading “Suya…The African Love For Meat.”

Aphrodisiacs and the African Culture

What is an Aphrodisiac?

An Aphrodisiac is a food or drink or even a fruit that stimulates sexual desire/libido in a man or woman.

In the African culture, it’s almost a taboo to openly talk about sex. We believe the issues or conversations about the bedroom should remain in the bedroom and amongst couples.

On this post, I’ll be talking lightly about some African foods/fruits that are aphrodisiacs that can help in stimulating sexual excitement between African couples.

Ose i.e. chili pepper: Most Africans love all kinds of chili peppers. Who would have thought that it could stimulate sexual excitement. Chili peppers A.k.A Ose Nsukka are known to stimulate endorphins which causes one to sweat and gives that feeling of sexual arousal.

There is also the watermelon which contains Lycopene. It is known to be the master of all aphrodisiacs.

Continue reading “Aphrodisiacs and the African Culture”

Okw’o Oji(Spicy peanut butter paste)

They say the only language the Kola nut understands is the Igbo language. It was often chewed by laborers during the time of our ancestors to help decrease the feeling of hunger. There is no Igbo ceremony with out the breaking of the Kolanut. Usually prayers are said over the Kolanut and the closest family member to the one who prayed over the kolanut cuts the remaining Kola and passes it around along side some garden eggs (i.e egg plants) with a paste the Igbo’s call okwo’ oj’i. Okw’o oj’i is usually made with blended and whipped peanut paste. It is then mixed with some some aromatic ingredients in a small mortar.

Growing up, I loved the smokey taste of okwo’ oj’i. I used to sit right by my dad and mother during family functions and nibble on the egg plants and lick the peanut paste. Okw’o oji gets it’s distinctive name from the use of Okwa ie the small mortar in making/serving it. As we have different Igbo dialects, so does the name for this appetizer vary. Some Igbos call it Okwa Ose. I am from Imo state and some parts call it Okwo’oji. God truly blessed my ancestors.

For my spicy paste, I used peanut butter. You may use unsalted and dry roasted peanuts as it is the usual. You could use raw peanuts and the only work there is; is the frying of the raw peanuts until done; which after wards you peel off the skin, run through a food processor; then mix in the ingredients. The peanut has its own oil, so no need to add plenty to the blending process(a little goes a long way). Although I have a slight allergy to peanuts, for some reason it never really bugs me when I eat peanut butter. So due to it’s milder reaction, I decided to go with the with the peanut butter as opposed to using peanuts. It tasted just as the same as when I was younger . I did not have a mortar either so I used the closest bowl to a mortar that I had. I also served mine with some Thai egg plants because I had no kola in hand. In any case, I was able to bring back the fond memories of my father, the Igbo community parties, and my siblings…Nostalgia!

Now,  a quick lesson on how to make this paste, so you can wow your folks on your next family gathering :). You may even eat it with some apples during Christmas (My ancestors forgive me:))

For the ingredients, you may visit our shop at http://www.motherlandsfinest.com

Ingredients:

  • I lb peanut butter paste or grinded peanuts(not the boiled ones)
  • ½ tbsp of dry grinded Cameroon pepper or 1tbsp dry chili pepper powder(add more or less according to your heat tolerance)
  • half to one small bouillon cube. You may use salt if you prefer(if using salted peanuts, or peanut butter, always taste before seasoning)
  • 8-10 ehuru seeds(roasted and grinded into a fluffy powder)
  • Note…Ehuru seeds are also known as calabash nutmeg

 

  1. in a small bowl or small mortar, thoroughly mix your spices and peanut butter. Serve with kolanuts or garden eggs. Apples and pears would work too. I served mine with Thai egg plants

Note

  1. If using peanuts, blend until smooth. Gradually add a very small amount of oil and keep whipping until very smooth; then mix in the ingredients. The consistency may be a little different from the one made with the creamy peanut butter…refrigerate and enjoy
  1. in a small bowl or small mortar, thoroughly mix your spices and peanut butter. Serve with kolanuts or garden eggs. Apples and pears would work too. I served mine with Thai egg plants
  2. Note
  3. If using peanuts, blend until smooth. Gradually add a very small amount of oil and keep whipping until very smooth; then mix in the ingredients. The consistency may be a little different from the one made with the creamy peanut butter…refrigerate and enjoy 😊

Nigerian Palm Oil Rice and Buying Nigeria (Iwuk Edesi)

There was a recent campaign for Nigerians to buy Nigerian. But if there is one thing to celebrate in Nigeria, it’s our agricultural sector.

Nigeria is rich in mineral resources, but we forget the gold mine we have in our agricultural resources.

One gold mine is the Ofada rice. To people in the diaspora, Ofada rice is gold. To a Nigerian Ofada rice is brown rice to others. Apart from the smell, it is very healthy as it is unpolished and full of fiber.

We as Nigerians, we take our resources for granted. Not only do we rely on oil, but we can rely greatly on agriculture.

The day I heard that Nigeria to imported tooth picks, I almost cried for my country. As many trees and timbers that we have, we are still importing tooth picks.

The Nigerian government, even with the production of various types of rice, continues to import other types of parboiled rice.

Not only must we fight corruption, but we must learn to put things in perspective. we must understand that our country can survive on agriculture too.

I saw a picture of a jollof sauce produced and packed by a Nigerian and a question was asked “would you buy this?” All the Nigerians on that thread vowed never to buy such sauces, but most would rather buy Ketchup made by Heinz. Nothing against Heinz, but if you can buy other condiments made by and in other countries; then you should be able to buy and grow Nigeria. In fact if I was a non-Nigerian on that thread, it would be difficult for me to eat anything Nigerian with the responses I read.

Continue reading “Nigerian Palm Oil Rice and Buying Nigeria (Iwuk Edesi)”

Oil-free Egusi Soup.

You might not be a chef but there are some easy to prepare yet healthy African food that anyone anywhere in the world can I enjoy. For this reason I will be sharing a recipe on how to prepare an oil-free egusi soup but first it is important that you know the beneficial facts of the egusi (melon) seeds.

Egusi is a plant that is common among native Africa and grows throughout the year, it has quite similar to watermelon seeds but has white seeds. It provides amino acids which are not readily available in the body used in regulating metabolism and the cardiovascular system, high in protein which helps in maintaining the body muscles, low in calories, a natural source of Vitamin B complex important for the flow of blood throughout the body system and they also help in strengthening the immune system (Source…http://www.eherb.com/article/1388/egusi-seeds–benefits-side-effects-of/

No matter how beneficial a food source (s) is/are great to the body, you should not be ignorant of the side effects which might affect some people but not everyone certainly; the most important side effect is that excess consumption can lead to omega-6 fatty acid diseases in the body. Also, check allergies related with the egusi seeds before consumption and store properly.

Back to my recipe, which I discovered only because my father easily gets bored of food made with any kind of oil so once in a while I switch his soup from oil-made to oil-free and I have enjoyed it myself. To prepare this soup, everything has to be rightly measured starting from the water to the ground or blended egusi seeds. The ingredients needed in preparing the oil-free egusi soup fondly called “ilolocha” by my father are egusi seeds, chicken, Pomo, dried fish, Knorr seasoning, salt, ground pepper, onion and crayfish.

Wash your chicken and put into a clean pot filled with a small amount of water for steaming the chicken, add your slice onions, Knorr seasoning and salt into the pot of chicken and leave to boil for some minutes while the chicken is boiling, grind or blend your neat egusi seeds into a bowl. Once the chicken is boiled, add little amount of water into the chicken pot, pepper, crayfish and dried fish, leave to boil for five minutes then add the ground or blended egusi seeds, washed Pomo, Knorr seasoning and salt, after which you leave for extra ten minutes or more (depending on the quantity) to boil during which you stir to ensure that the soup is properly mixed. Have a taste of the soup to ensure that the right amount of seasoning was put into the soup.

The ilolocha (oil-free egusi) soup is ready to be served with any choice of swallow you want, such as Garry (eba), pounded yam, amala, fufu, wheat and a chilled drink or water preferably. And that is how is to prepare and enjoy your healthy or beneficial African soup.

Photo Credit: Nigerian lazy chef.

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.

Dambu Nama

With over 400 spoken languages, Nigeria is a country filled with different types of people from different walks of life. Currently, Nigeria is going through a lot. The exchange rate for the dollar is high and the whole country seems to be in a total chaos.

In the northern region, there is the group known as Boko haram slaughtering the citizens of Nigeria with reckless abandon. But through it all, we will find unity.

In the north and as well as in other regions of Nigeria, there are recipes that seem to have been extinct, but these days I see them being resurrected by different people.

I wish for a day when the country known as Nigeria will have peace and it’s people live in tranquility. A day when we would bond all regions through food.

Today we are visiting northern Nigeria.

Continue reading “Dambu Nama”

The Beauty Of The Efik People(Efere Afang )

Apart from the Igbo’s, if there’s any people more passionate about their culture, it’s the Efik people of Nigeria.

The Efik speaking people are made up of an ethnic group sitting along the Cross River estuary and the banks of the Calabar River in Nigeria. (efikusa.org)

The Efik culture emphasizes the respect of seniority and their food. In the Efik culture, stealing is frowned upon. It is also known that the Efik women as a sign of respect do not shake hands with men in public.

All Efik speaking people are seen as royalty/freeborn. It is also said that love is expressed better by the Efik women to their husbands/lovers through the art of cooking. It is said that once an Efik woman cooks for you, you never go back 🙂

Continue reading “The Beauty Of The Efik People(Efere Afang )”

One Reason You Must Visit Cote D’Ivoire

A lot of times, some people think Africa is a country. Others think we speak one language(No, we don’t speak African). But the beautiful thing is, Africa is a continent. The second largest continent in the world. Africa has 54 countries and about 2000 languages. It also is actually one of the richest continents in the world. With minerals and natural resources like cocoa, coltan, Nikel, diamond and gold.

One of the countries in Africa, located on the Western part of the map and so rich in culture is Cote D’Ivoire…Also known as Ivory Coast…

Apart from the alluring French language, there are plenty other reasons why you must visit Cote D’Ivoire.

The music” says…Estelle…”the spontaneity, rythm, and dance moves are totally flavorful.

The local joints at night. It’s so lively with the music and people.” Olumide

The food, yes, but also the people, beaches. Assini and Asouinde are the beach resorts. Yamoussoukro has the Basilica of Our Lady of peace/Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix(considered one of the wonders of the world by many) and the crocodile lake.” Mimi

One reason,  I would love to visit Ivory Coast is for the food. Not just any food, but for Attieke and fish. Attieke, also known as Acheke is actually a side dish made out of Cassava. Attieke to me is like Couscous, but only finer when it comes to the grain and a little sour when it comes to the taste.

To prepare Attieke, some cassava is peeled and grated; then mixed into previously fermented cassava. It is then left to ferment some more until the natural hydrocyanic acid content has disappears. The cassava is thereafter squeezed to remove the water content; then drained and dried. The attieke is ready to be be eaten; when the dried grains are steamed with warm water…

Continue reading “One Reason You Must Visit Cote D’Ivoire”