Four Nigerian dishes to try on Africa Day

As part of Africa Day Celebrations on Tuesday 25 May, we decided to write recipes that you can cook at home as you mark the day. Most of the ingredients are available at Shop Naija at specials for the week. 

On 25 May 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed 1963 in the fight against colonialism and apartheid. Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the OAU (now the AU) from its creation in May 25 and this day is normally celebrated with music, dance and poetry

This year the theme is  “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa we Want”.

Anyway, without wasting any time, let’s get cooking.

Jollof rice

The colourful rice is served in many West African homes  and not just Nigeria. Ingredients can include rice, onions, tomatoes, chillies and a variety of spices. It can be served with vegetables and your meat of choice. Jollof rice is commonly served on special occasions and at social events. We took a recipe from theafricacookbook.com

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes, grated                   
  • 1 Large White Onion, diced                   
  • 1 Bell Pepper, diced                   
  • 1 cup frozen or canned green beans                   
  • 1 celery stick, diced                   
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced                   
  • 2.5 cups of chicken stock (see above for substitutions)                   
  • 2 cups dry long-grain rice                   
  • 1.5 tbsp. of tomato paste (optional)                   
  • .25 cups of vegetable oil                    
  • 2 Bay Leaves                   
  • 2 tsp Sugar                   
  • 1.5 tsp Paprika                   
  • 1.5 tsp Curry Powder                   
  • 1 tsp Salt                   
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder                    
  • .5 tsp Black Pepper                   
  • .25 tsp Thyme                   

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil on high heat.
  2. Mix in onions, peppers, garlic, and celery. Reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally. If you see all the oil soaked up, you can add a bit more.
  3. After about five minutes, check to see if the vegetables are soft. Add the grated tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and chicken stock (or your preferred stock subsitute). Stir together. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the pot is boiling, add the rice and green beans. Cover and bring back to boiling.
  5. Once the pot is boiling again, reduce heat to medium. Leave for ten minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks or burns. If the rice is sticking, add more water or stock.
  6. Switch off heat and let it sit for ten minutes before serving.

Notes

1. I’ve noted several substitution options in the Simple Ingredients List towards the top of the article. Not every ingredient is available world-wide, and you may also want to make substitutions to make the dish more traditionally or to make it vegetarian or vegan.

2. This is a dish that will get more complex in flavor over time, so feel free to make a few hours ahead.

Afang soup and Swallow

Originally from southern Nigeria, Afang soup is made with local Afang leaves and water leaves together with dried fish, meat and snails, as well as seasonings. It takes about an hour to prepare, and is often served with pounded yam, fufu and garri. We took a recipe from allnigeriansfood.com

Sliced fresh water leaves (1kg)
1/2 cup of ground crayfish
Ground fresh Ukazi leaves (200g)
3 cubes of knorr (sweetener)
1 stock fish head (medium size)
2 medium sized dried or roasted fish
1.5 cups of palm oil
1 cup of Periwinkles (optional)
Snails (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste (red fresh pepper)
Pkomo (Optional)
1-2KG of any meat of choice.
Preparation
Assorted meat is the most suitable for afang soup but if you can’t find it in your location you can use any meat you find. I used a combination of assorted meat and pkomo.
Wash the snails with lime juice or grape juice and be sure it is rid of its slimy fluid. The periwinkle (isam) are usually cleaned by the sellers, you just need to wash.
The ground ukazi leaves act as a thickener for this soup, I use fresh leaves for all my soup but if you can’t find fresh stuff in your location, go ahead and substitute with the dried alternative. You can tell from the image above that the leaves are fresh.

How to Cook Afang Soup

Just go ahead and start parboiling the meat with all the necessary ingredients (2 cubes of knorr, half cup of sliced onions, salt and other spice of choice)

Some people wash the water leaves before slicing them while others choose to slice them before washing; I prefer the latter. Slice and wash the water leaves and set aside in a plastic sieve to make sure that water is properly drained away.

Most people don’t like a trace of water in their afang soup, that can be easily arranged, just try to squeeze the water leaves tightly before you add them to the soup.

Soak the dried fish with warm water, remove the center bones and wash thoroughly with just water; also wash the stockfish head with warm water. Add them to the cooking meat and cook till they are soft and the pot is almost dry. Add the palm oil, stir all together.

Add a seasoning cube, ground pepper, snails and salt to taste, allow cooking for 3-5 minutes.
Add the water-leaves; allow to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the periwinkles, ground ukazi, and ground crayfish
Stir all together, cover the pot and allow simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
That is how to prepare afang soup, it can be served with fufu, eba, pounded yam, wheat. Any nice soft drink would be a welcome addition.

Pepper Soup

The intensely spicy flavour of the pepper soup is among the nation’s favourite dishes. It can be cooked with a  variety of meat.. The broth is rich, with aromatic spices, pepper, ginger, garlic and onions to give it that unforgettable taste.We took a recipe from demandafrica.com

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken / catfish / cow leg / offal
  • 4 seeds Calabash nutmeg (Ehiri/Ehuru) (ground)
  • 3 cubes Maggi seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons Scent leaves (dry uziza leaves)
  • Red chili pepper / habanero pepper (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 gallon water (approximately)
  1. Wash and prepare chicken, goat meat, offal or cow leg.
  2. On medium-high heat, place meat into the pot and add water to reach the level of the contents of the pot.
  3. Add Maggi cubes, garlic, onions, and ground spices.
  4. Add chili or habanero peppers and salt to taste.
  5. Cook on medium-high heat till meat is tender and cooked through.
  6. Add scent leaves for a sweet aroma and flavouring. Cook for two minutes, and the pepper soup is ready.

Nigerian Pepper Soup is best served hot with agidi or white rice or boiled yam, whichever you prefer.

Egusi soup

A widely consumed soup. You can serve this Nigerian soup with pounded yam, amala, eba, tuwo or any other swallow of choice. There are various egusi soup recipes as the ingredients used in cooking it also vary. We took a recipe from my active kitchen blog for a recipe that can be ready under 40 minutes.

Servings: 8

Author: Ajoke| My Active Kitchen

Ingredients
  • 12 pieces smoked turkey grilled
  • 3 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 2 cups ground melon (egusi)
  • Nigerian Pepper mix I used a combination of 2 red bell pepper, 2 scotch bonnet and 1 large onion, reserve little chopped onion for later
  • 1 cup palm oil
  • 1 tbsp locust beans (Iru woro) substitute with ogiri or dawadawa
  • 1 tbsp ground crayfish use more if desired
  • ⅓ cups dried prawns washed use more if desired
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • cups chopped spinach washed
  • 1 cup beef stock (optional, I used this because I had it in the fridge)

Instructions

  1. Add ground melon to a bowl, add about a cup of water and mix to for a paste then set aside
  2. Place a big pan on medium heat, add palm oil and heat for about 3 minutes (Do not bleach oil) add the reserved chopped onions and Sautee till translucent
  3. Add pepper mix, locust beans and stir to combine. Bring to boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the egusi paste in bits to pepper, reduce the heat, do not stir and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, and gently stir the soup. The egusi would be lumpy at this point, use the back of a ladle to break it into desired size/texture
  6. Add smoked turkey, ground crayfish and crayfish, beef stock (if using) and stir to combine. Add bouillon cubes, taste and adjust accordingly. I didn’t add salt to this soup as the smoked turkey and mackerel already contained salt.
  7. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, check at interval and stir to avoid burning if need be
  8. Add shredded smoked mackerel and gently stir into the soup. Add chopped spinach, stir to combine and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Take if off the heat, allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving

Notes

  • Substitute spinach for any other green leaves of choice
  • Swap smoked turkey for beef or goat meat or chicken or fish
  • Stockfish can be used to substitute smoked fish used in this recipe. If you will be using stockfish, ensure it is washed in hot water with salt. rinse clean to get rid of the debris before adding to the soup.
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