Monday, 30 March 2015
Egusi pepper soup is a popular pepper soup variation in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. It's simply a spicy peppersoup thickened with egusi and can be enjoyed with rice, pounded yam, eba or any swallow of your choice and its particularly delightful to have on a cold day.
If u ever needed something to warm your innards and keep the cold at bay on a cold evening, this soup is for you.
This soup can be cooked with any meat or fish of your choice but to give it a kick I'll recommend goat meat or catfish. To take it to the next level simply add some dried catfish or any good quality dried fish. The flavor profile simply does things to your brains and you just don't want it to end!
I didn't have any dried fish on the day I cooked it though, being a sunday evening after church and a couple of visits, I just couldn't be bothered to leave my house again to pursue that but it did come out awesome!!!
Goat meat about 10 medium cut pieces
Knorr cubes (not pictured)
Delta Peppersoup spices (african nutmeg, ehuru,eriérié) Or any good quality peppersoup spice blend*
1 tablespoon dried pepper
1 cup of egusi blended dry (a wet blend can also be used)
1 tablespoon ground dried crayfish
1 teaspoon dried bitter leaf*
*Even when I use a storebought pepper soup mix I also add some of mine at home to achieve my desired taste. Pictured is one bought fro Ebeano stores in Lekki, Lagos. I'll say its one of the best store mixes I've tried.
*Other leaves that can be used are ukazi and scent leaf.
Season your meat with the knorr cubes (or any bouillon/stock cube of your choice, avoid anything too exotic as you don't want to disrupt the peppersoup taste).
Cook for about 45 minutes or until your meat is soft enough for your preference.
Begin adding the other ingredients. First goes in the pepper...
Next your ground crayfish...
Add your peppersoup spices after you have removed the shells and crushed or blended. Stir it all.
Now add the egusi and stir again. The amount of egusi you use shouldn't be too much. This is meant to be a slightly watery soup but not too watery either.
Unfortunately at this stage, I discovered my soup was slightly salty!!! I threw in some slices of sweet potatoes to help absorb some of the salt! This rescued my soup, whew!!!
Allow the soup cook for about 10 more minutes after adding all your ingredients and its ready to eat.
Here's the soup served with some semovita. This is one soup to try if you've never eaten it before. Switch things up a little and enjoy!!!
Friday, 27 March 2015
Kelewele is a popular Ghanian snack dish of fried spicy plantain. If all you are used to is the regular fried plantain, just get your tastebuds ready for the next level in this plantain business.
The combination of seasonings and spices combined with the sweet ripe plantain create a flavor profile that is just amazing!!!
The best part of it is that you may not need a lot ingredients beyond what's already in your pantry.
5 ripe plantains
Thumb sized fresh ginger, grated or crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chilli flakes*
Garlic to your taste
Vegetable Oil for frying
*Adjust the quantity depending on the number of people you are serving, I'll be using 5 plantains for 5 people as it would be a main dish for some of my family.
*Fresh scotch bonnet/ ata rodo can also be used
I begin by crushing my garlic and ginger together in my little mortar and setting it aside.
*Spices can also be blended in your electric blender especially if using fresh peppers, remember to use as little water as possible if going for that option.
Slice your plantains diagonally (you can also cut into cubes)
Begin adding your spices and seasonings to the sliced plantain. Here you see me add the crushed garlic and ginger, then some seasalt.
*Use any salt of your choice.
I add the chilli flakes into the mix...
Mix thoroughly to ensure the seasoning goes round well.
Cover and set aside the mixture for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours combine well and for the plantain to absorb it all well.
Heat up your oil and begin frying.
Depending on the heat and your quantity, it should start turning golden brown in about 7 minutes. Bring out of the oil and put on paper towels to absorb excess oil or a colander to drain off the excess oil.
Serve you delicious treat as you please. I served mine with some mackerel spicy stew!
Monday, 23 March 2015
Baking powder 1 tablespoon
Butter 85ml (at room temperature)
Sugar 100g or less if needed
Pinch of salt
vanilla essence 1 teaspoon
Plain/All purpose Flour 400g
Vegetable oil of your choice for frying
We don't want to over mix so everything will be added and incorporated gently. First we'll add the butter to the flour in a clean bowl.
Next add your sugar and baking powder...
Add your eggs...
Add your salt...
Now use clean hands to gently mix and fold all together.
Your batter should look like this, not watery and not hard.
Now you have to wash off all the batter from your hands as we prepare to fry. In a bowl pour in warm water and some oil, because sticky hands are difficult to work when handling dough.
Make some balls with your mix.
Drop in hot oil and fry for a few minutes. Fry a few at a time till they are a light golden brown. Use medium heat so it can cook through to the core without burning on the outside.
Fry a few at a time till they are a light golden brown. Use medium heat so it can cook through to the centre without burning. A lot of people make the mistake of cooking with high heat and end up with cooked outside and burnt inside buns!!!
Serve and enjoy.
Friday, 20 March 2015
By now it should be obvious that Nutella is a regular feature in my home, they are a hit with the kids so don't be surprised by how I'm always quick to whip them out.
This was my first time making chinchin. I found tons of recipes online and it was getting a little confusing so I put on my bakers hat in deciding what would really work in achieving a crunchy deep fried or baked dough snack.
For those that don't know, chinchin is another popular West African snack consisting of a sweet or savory short dough cut into bits (some people are creative with the shapes) and deep fried. They are crunchy in texture. I'll be baking some too as I'm really on that path for oil reduction in my life!!!
100grams butter (room temperature)
250ml wholemilk (liquid milk)
1teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Nutella (optional)
1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli (optional)
1litre of vegetable oil to fry or you can bake.
I Started by mixing most ingredients together with the exception of the cinnamon, chilli and Nutella.
After mixing, I split the dough into two, added cinnamon to one half and the chilli/Nutella to the other to create my two variants.
I left the dough to rest for about 10mins.
Then I added some flour to my work surface, rolled out the dough thinly and cut into little squares.
I then baked one half in the oven for 25mins at 150 electric oven Mark.
Then fried the others using a deep fryer for about 3mins. Once done, I placed the fried ones on a kitchen towel to drain off excess oil and cool.
If you ever lived in Nigeria and certain parts of West Africa you'll understand our love for this greasy, deep fried snack. It's also a popular finger food at parties.
I love them a lot but the deep fried aspect makes me stay away from them. After seeing Abimbola's toaster cake I got thinking and I reckoned, why not?
I brought out my toaster and began the "experiment" as my kids called it.
The result was phenomenal, fluffy and tasty puffies without all that grease we've come to associate with it.
The kids loved it and they are not an easy bunch to please.
How can you achieve this healthier version of the popular snack?
270g of self raising flour or wholemeal flour
7g fast active dry yeast
270ml cup of warm water
1/2 cup of granulated Sugar or caster
1 teaspoon of nutmeg or vanilla or any flavouring of your choice
A pinch of salt
We have to activate our yeast first of all by pouring it into a small bowl...
Add a spoonful of sugar from the measured sugar
and some warm water from the 270ml, not too hot please.. because that would kill the yeast.
stir and set aside, the yeast would be activated in about five minutes.
Pour your flour in a clean bowl.
Add your dry ingredients(sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) mix together
Now add the wet ingredients. In goes the yeast..
Then the water.
Combine all ingredients and mix together, if its lumpy, use your hands (washed of course!!!)
The consistency should be close to runny but not runny.
Cover with a clean towel and set aside in a warm place for about 45 mins. I sometimes keep in my microwave oven when I'm sure there won't be interference.
Plug in your toaster/sandwich maker, grease the bottom and top parts with a pastry brush.
Now pour in some batter, using the spoon to spread evenly across. Before closing the toaster, make sure the top part is well greased to avoid having your batter stick to it.
Depending on your toaster heat settings, you should have this beauty ready in about 3mins.
Serve and enjoy!!!
I used store bought sweet chilli and the marriage of sweet and savoury was awesome!!! Nothing beat an