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”

Advertisements

The Myths & Truths of Iboga.

“In Church, they speak of God. With Iboga, you live God”.

It all comes down to when the Bantu tribes in Gabon ran away into the depths of the jungle in Gabon to escape persecution from French missionaries in the 19th century as it was during this period that they got to know about the “Iboga plant”. It was also from this that the Bwiti religion was given birth to and it is now one of the widely accepted religion in Gabon, as well as practised by both Bantu & Pygmy communities.

Iboga is native to the rainforest of Gabon. It is a perennial ordinary-looking shrub found in small areas of West Africa, which produces simple yellow blossoms and edible orange-colored citrus fruit that is tasteless and oddly sticky. Iboga can grow into a tree rising as high as 35 feet under conducive conditions. In the West, the psychedelic (Iboga) is being given publicity to as a potential one-shot cure for treating addiction. the Pygmies were the first set of people to find Iboga in the interior part of the jungle.

Iboga emphasises the importance of direct communion with the ancestors and spirit through community building. It is made available in small quantities at the weekly mass ceremonies known as “Ngoze” that takes place from every Saturday night into Sunday morning while higher doses of Iboga are reserved for initiation ceremonies in which the new member joins the Bwiti community or a member of the community is struggling with trauma and this can lead to complete disassociation with reality for very long periods of time thereby causing the individual to have powerful revelations as well as speak with the ancestors.

Originally, the practice of the initiatory rite included the death of humans and eating of human flesh by human beings until it purged itself of such cruel characteristics and it their places, sacrificed chickens. The Bwitists consider themselves the “real Christians”. The Iboga use was and is still acting as a thorn in the Catholic mission, however, it is still gaining ground in the fight for religious boundaries.

Photo Credit: Liliana Usvat.

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.

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 😊

Ghanaian Tatales and My Take On It

Happy thanksgiving!

I have been ill and I just kinda lost the will to write. Today, I feel a lot better, so I decided to make Tatales.

Tatales is Ghana’s way of preserving over ripe plantains. I haven’t met a Ghanaian who threw away over ripe plantains.

Tatales, are sweet plantains fritters or pancakes introduced by Ghanaians to the rest of the world ; unlike Jollof (yes I got jokes)…

Growing up Nigerian, my mother never really liked us throwing away food. We were constantly reminded of the children who had none. So this sweet recipe from our Ghanaian neighbors is actually well appreciated.

There are so many similarities between Ghanaians and Nigerians when it comes to food. I have to confess that having tried different foods from different African countries, I kind of prefer Nigerian and Ghanaian food. Well, the Senegalese created Jollof…sooo…

I have searched the internet, and I have found varieties of this recipe, but I kind of like my version better; even though I’m not Ghanaian.

Recipe:

1 very ripe plantain

2 tbsps. flour or corn meal

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp crayfish powder

Salt(a pinch)

chili flakes(a pinch)

coconut oil enough for shallow frying

peel and smash plantains. Mix with all the ingredients except the oil.

Heat up the oil and gently scoop dollops of the plantain mix into the oil and slightly flatten. Fry the tatales on both sides until golden brown but not burnt.

Enjoy with beans or by itself.

ARTXLAGOS: Expose on African Culture.

ArtxLagos an International Art Fair was able to unite Africa in one building as it was the first of its kind in West Africa. The event took place in Civic Centre located at Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island Lagos on the 4th to 6th of November, 2016. Art xLagos featured the works of 65 African artists from various African countries with 14 exhibitors. The three-day event saw artists, patrons, collectors and lovers of art from all works of life. It also saw over “30 local and International speakers delivering talks and conversations on the unwavering growth of African art in the global art scene and how African creative economy can lead to the rise of reshaping the African narrative” http://www.artxlagos.com

Continue reading “ARTXLAGOS: Expose on African Culture.”

My Dear Nigeria.

My dear Nigeria, you gloat with eloquence
while gazing at your fantasies that are years to come.
You exist in the suburbs of a dysfunctional world
Your innocence raped by corruption.
Far from a distant future even with the speed of your shining cars
I wonder how long people of different classes will continue to strive
in an atmosphere echoing nothing but noise and suffering
A weather harsh for agenda setting.

Continue reading “My Dear Nigeria.”

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.