Cooking with Unmis: Meat Pies and Sausage Rolls

Meat Pies
Sausage Rolls

I haven’t made these snacks in a long while. Can you see the imperfection? Notwithstanding, they tasted yummy.

I’ll continue to practice to make it better.

Cooking with Unmis: How do you like your Rice?

Fried Rice

Jolof Rice

Curry Rice

Steamed Rice

There’s also Coconut Rice though, in picture, you won’t be able to differentiate it from plain steamed rice.

Types of Rice

Converted. Parboiled. Jasmine. Basmati. Whole (Brown). Long Grain. Medium Grain. Short Grain. Wild Rice. Japanese Sushi Rice. Calrose Rice. Nigerian Ofada Rice.

Know any other types of Rice? Add in the comments.

Any which way you like your Rice, cook and enjoy it with some creativity. Try pairing Calrose and Ofada or Parboil and Converted. It gives a different taste. Enjoy your Rice your way with sone vegetables or by garnishing it with chopped onions and a tablespoon of oil.

Akara (Fried Bean Patties)

Akara on bread slices
frying Akara

Akara, like other foods, can be simply or richly prepared. The simple and plain is to merely add salt (or Maggi) to the ground beans. While you can add as much optional ingredients as you like to make it rich. However adding too much ingredients could impact the Akara from gelling and cause it to crumble in the hot oil.

Best eaten alone, with porridge (ogi), or with bread slices.

Cooking with Unmis: Ewedu (aka Jute Leaves)

Corchorus is the genus for Jute leaves, known as Ewedu by Yorubas (one of the main Nigerian tribes). Corchorus has about 40-100 species “with jute applying to the fiber produced from the plant, and jute mallow leaves for the leaves used as a vegetable.”

Jute leaves is common amongst Asians and Africans. The Philippines call it Saluyot. You can buy them fresh or frozen from local ethnic grocery stores. The fresh leaves need to be removed off the stems and thoroughly rinsed before cooking. The frozen ones are ready to cook.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Rinse the frozen Jute Leaves with cold water
  2. Pour in a blender (use Pulse or Chop options if your blender has it).
  3. Swiftly blend (prolonged blending will smoothen the leaves)
  4. Pour in a small pot (1-1.75 qt)
  5. Add salt
  6. Add a cup of water
  7. Using low heat, cook for about 5 minutes. (medium to high heat will let the Jute Leaves overflow.)
  8. Stir occasionally still to avoid overspilling.

When cooked, it has a texture similar to okra and it’s rich in minerals and nutrients such as beta carotene, iron, vitamin A, C, and E. You can cook it plain or garnish with dried fish or dried crayfish 😊

Though different ethnicities cook it differently, Nigerians eat it best with any of the Nigerian solids such as Eba, Amala, Semolina, or Pounded Yam. A few have been known to eat it with cooked Rice.

Recipe: Gumbo

Ingredients

  • Crab (King or Snow) 2.5 lbs
  • Fresh Shrimp (1.5 lbs)
  • Lobster 1.5 lbs (optional)
  • Andouille sausages (1 pack)
  • Gumbo base (1 packet)
  • Chicken broth (Optional)
  • Maggi Prawns Cubes

Cooking Instructions:

If adding Lobster:

  1. Add lobster into saucepan, add water, teaspoon of salt and bring to boil.
  1. Once boiled, remove from hot water and set aside to cool down
  2. Once cooled down, de-shell, cut into bits, and set aside.

. . .

  1. Get a frying pan; slice the Andouille sausages into it and sauté. Set aside.
  1. De-shell and devein shrimps; set aside
  1. Rinse the crabs and set aside

. . .

  1. Get your pot (a big pot is preferred; 16-24 qt is better)
  2. Add 8 cus of water and 4 cups of chicken broth (if using); ratio of 2:1, into the pot. (If not using chicken broth, add more water (10 – 12 cups).)
  3. Add a spoonful of salt
  4. Add 2-4 prawns stock cubes
  5. Let boil for about five minutes

While boiling, get the gumbo base ready.

  1. Pour it in a small saucepan, add 2 cups of water, and gently stir till smooth.

. . .

  1. Add the seafood (lobster, crab, shrimps, and sausages) into the boiled water
  2. Add the gumbo base “sauce” unto pot; stirring occasionally
  3. Allow to boil together for about 5 – 8 minutes.

Gumbo is ready. Gumbo is an American Southern / Creole soup. Best alone or over cooked rice. (p.s. this was made for 2020 Christmas. I forgot to take the photograph of the finished product; only remembered when it was almost devoured hence the featured image of the served portion! 😊 😞)

Aata Din-din (Fried Sauce)

Credits: UNMIS

As the name implies, this sauce is fried with little or no water added. Any water added is allowed to dry out while cooking to maintain its potency.

Ingredients

  • My Sauce
  • Oil (your choice of palm, olive, vegetable, corn, etc.)
  • Maggi (or any bouillon) cube
  • Tomato Paste
  • Onion
  • Salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Pour My Sauce into a small pot
  2. Slice (or cube) 1/3 of a small onion
  3. Add a teaspoon of tomato paste
  4. Add salt and/or 1 Maggi (or Knorr) cube to desired taste
  5. Cook over low heat till sauce thickens and there’s no longer any water
  6. Add the a 1/2 – 1 cup of oil
  7. Let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Sauce is ready.

The sauce lasts you for a while because a little of it goes a long way. Use as a dip with bread/rolls, great especially over beans and or fried plantain. Or mix with your desired choice of meat over rice.

Recipe: Efo Riro (Sauced Spinach)

Ingredients:

Red Spinach. Credits: Greg Buchold on Pinterest
  • 1 bunch Red Spinach (Can substitute with 2 bunches of Green Spinach)
  • My Sauce
  • Oil (prefer Palm, but can use any)
  • Tomato Paste
  • Onion
  • Salt

Optional Ingredients:

  • Ground Crayfish
  • Fresh Shrimp
  • Tripe (Boiled and cubed)
  • Dried Fish or Stock Fish
  • Beef Stock (Knorr or Maggi)
  • Italian Seasoning

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Get the Red Spinach off its stems.
  2. Cut and pour in a saucepan
  3. Add a tablespoon of salt
  4. Boil a kettle of water and pour over the red spinach
  5. Place aside for 5 minutes
  6. Pour out the hot (now warm) water. (The water will be dark pink in color)
  7. Rinse the red spinach with cold water a few times until water is almost clear.
  8. Using a sieve, pour out the water and collect the red spinach onto the sieve
  9. Squeeze out any remaining water and set aside.
  1. Place your cooking pot on medium heat
  2. Add the Palm Oil
  3. Slice a 1/4 of the Onion
  4. Add My Sauce
  5. Add a teaspoon of Tomato Paste
  6. Add a teaspoon of salt

(Add other optional ingredients as desired)

  1. Cook for 10 minutes
  2. Add the Red Spinach
  3. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Not too long ad spinach will begin to turn dark.

Your Efo Riro is ready.

Can be eaten alone as a side plate, small chop, or over Rice (Steamed, Jolof, or Fried), or better yet with okele (“solids” eaten with your hands; such as Pounded Yam, Farina, Fufu, Semolina, or Eba (cassava).

. . .

Everyone is familiar with the Green Spinach, but Red Spinach is rare and can be found in Asian grocery stores. It is similar in texture and taste as the Nigerian Efo Shoko.

Health Benefits:

Red Spinach is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium and folic acid. [Credits to Specialty Produce]

Red Spinach contains nutrients such as protein, carbohydrate, amarantin, purine, rutin, and vitamin (A,B,C,K). For further information, click here for the complete nutrients. Other benefits for comparison can be found here.

Recipe: Simple Breakfast: Egg, with Avocado, Sandwich

(Inspired by The Gastronomy Gal)

“Mom, you should start eating avocado because of its anti-inflammatory benefits,” my older daughter recently said to me. She made the recommendation because my scalp and skin suddenly started flaring due to extreme dryness. She also recommended other anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and berries. She’s not a health professional, but a professional in her own health and wellness, and would readily share her knowledge with family and friends.

I took her advice and have noticed some changes. My scalp had gotten better and the flaring have reduced significantly. I now eat and add avocado to everything!

Thank goodness for daughters! 🙏🏾

. . .

Going back to my simple Egg Avocado Sandwich recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 or 1/3 Avocado (depending on size)
  • 6-ft Bread Roll

Instructions:

  1. Boil the eggs for 10-15 minutes. Time depends on whether you want your eggs over-easy, over-medium, or hard-boiled. (To boil, place eggs in a small pot, add water to slightly cover the eggs, and place on slow to medium heat.)
  2. Once boiled, empty the hot water from pot, and run cold water over eggs. This helps the eggs peel easily.
  3. Peel the shells off the eggs
  4. Slice the bread roll in two
  5. Slice the avocado and place on one half of the bread
  6. Slice and place the eggs on the other half of the bread
  7. Close both halves together as a sandwich.

Enjoy with a hot or cold Turmeric tea. Can also be eaten for lunch or light dinner.

Recipe: Breakfast: Avocado Omelette

This is a quick and simple egg breakfast which is Protein and Vitamin D nourishing for your soul. Click here https://bit.ly/3enqsh2, https://bit.ly/3iUWaGa for more nutritional information for avocado and eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1/6 Onions (Optional)
  • 1/4 Tomato (Optional)
  • Butter
  • Oil – your choice (Optional)
  • Salt

The above ingredient serves 1 person.

Other items, such as baby spinach, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, can also be added to your omelette ingredients.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Break the eggs in a bowl and whip
  2. Add a dash of salt
  3. Optional: Chop the onions and tomato
  4. Slice the butter (if block & hard) or scoop (a tablespoon if soft) and toss in the frying pan. Let melt over medium heat
  5. Pour the eggs in the frying pan
  6. Lift the eggs all around till almost cooked
  7. Slice the avocado into the egg
  8. Turn heat to low
  9. Either fold (twice as in flipping) or roll the eggs from one edge to the other.

Avocado Omelette is ready to eat. Pair with toasted wheat bread, homemade potatoes, on enjoy by itself with a refreshing homemade Turmeric Ginger Tea.

Bon appeti

Recipe: Green Fish

Ingredients

  • Whole Tilipia fish (any fish can also be used), Best if fish is sliced in two.
  • Red onions (medium size)
  • Herbs (Parsley, Basil, Thyme)
  • Ginger (optional)
  • Green Bell Pepper (medium size)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Cooking instructions

  1. Blend the herbs, green bell pepper and half the onion, with or without the ginger. Note: do not add water to blend; add olive oil instead.
  2. Season the fish with the spices (salt and thyme only).
  3. Place fish in large pan.
  4. Pour (or rub) the blended herbs over the fish.

If fish is sliced in two, pour (or rub) each half-part of fish as well.

  1. Slice half of the onion over the fish.
  2. Place fish pan over medium heat stove. Cover. (Fish can also be baked.)
  3. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes on both sides. Cooking time depends on how green you prefer the sauce, including how done you like your fish. The longer the time, the darker the sauce becomes.

Enjoy by itself, or with rice, potatoes, or greens.