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.
The above pictures show cooked Beans in its whole form, cooked with corn, mashed, ground and steamed, and ground and fried.
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Beans come in a variety of types. It has been stated that, globally, there are 40,000 types of beans. The most common ones in the U.S. include:
Red (Kidney) beans
Black-eyed peas was used to cook the above. Orange beans can also be used.
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Beans is a staple in some countries around the world. It is rich in nutrients such as protein, iron, folic acid, thiamin, and calcium. It is also highly recommended as dietary additions for its health benefits in controlling diabetes, heart, cancer, and in weight management.
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.
Rinse the frozen Jute Leaves with cold water
Pour in a blender (use Pulse or Chop options if your blender has it).
Swiftly blend (prolonged blending will smoothen the leaves)
Pour in a small pot (1-1.75 qt)
Add a cup of water
Using low heat, cook for about 5 minutes. (medium to high heat will let the Jute Leaves overflow.)
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.
Add lobster into saucepan, add water, teaspoon of salt and bring to boil.
Once boiled, remove from hot water and set aside to cool down
Once cooled down, de-shell, cut into bits, and set aside.
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Get a frying pan; slice the Andouille sausages into it and sauté. Set aside.
De-shell and devein shrimps; set aside
Rinse the crabs and set aside
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Get your pot (a big pot is preferred; 16-24 qt is better)
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).)
Add a spoonful of salt
Add 2-4 prawns stock cubes
Let boil for about five minutes
While boiling, get the gumbo base ready.
Pour it in a small saucepan, add 2 cups of water, and gently stir till smooth.
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Add the seafood (lobster, crab, shrimps, and sausages) into the boiled water
Add the gumbo base “sauce” unto pot; stirring occasionally
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! 😊 😞)
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.
Oil (your choice of palm, olive, vegetable, corn, etc.)
Maggi (or any bouillon) cube
Pour My Sauce into a small pot
Slice (or cube) 1/3 of a small onion
Add a teaspoon of tomato paste
Add salt and/or 1 Maggi (or Knorr) cube to desired taste
Cook over low heat till sauce thickens and there’s no longer any water
Add the a 1/2 – 1 cup of oil
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.
I’ve been cooking people but haven’t posted any recipe lately! Today I’m sharing a few 😍 Enjoy!
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Egusi Stew on Tik Tok!
There has been a rave, on Tik Tok, of folks eating and/or trying Egusi Stew for the first time; thus popularizing the West African/Nigerian, delicacy. These foodies’ actions, videotaping and sharing on the Tik Tok app, are commendable as Egusi Stew has now gained more recognition within the past month than it ever did since its invention! Here are couple of the videos:
🤣🤣🤣 Folks ain’t no need “smacking” the fufu! Chewing or swallowing is also a choice. Some swallow when eating the solids with Okra or the Ogbono that the guy got because it’s slimy, it slides down your throat easily; else, it’s always better to chew.
Is’t a Stew or Soup?
You drink soup in its liquid form, but stew is not drinkable. Stew has to be eaten with a complementary food.
Egusi, is a Stew (I wonder why some still refer to it as a soup) and one of my “specials” to make. I share it with you today.
Egusi stew is nutritious and highly rich in protein and iron.
There are a variety of ways to cook Egusi. It can be cooked minimally or richly with variety of ingredients as you want. It can also be a vegan or vegetarian meal – that’s why most of the ingredients are optional. It can also be cooked in a watery or waterless (or using minimal water) form.
Over medium heat, pour My Sauce into a small-medium saucepan
Add your choice of oil
Slice (or cube) 1/6th of the onion into it
Add a teaspoon of salt and a cube of the Knorr or Maggi (add another cube later if necessary or desired for taste)
Add 1-1 1/2 cups of water
Add the ground egusi (1-1/2 cups)
If using, add the optional items except the leaf vegetable
Prep the leaf vegetable; cut (optional), rinse, place in a bowl, add salt, and hot water. Place aside. [If using the green spinach, leave in the hot water for only couple of minutes. Other greens require much longer time.]
Allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
Strain the leaf vegetable and add to the pot
Let cook for another minute uncovered (this allows the leaf veggie to retain its green color 😊).
1 bunch Red Spinach (Can substitute with 2 bunches of Green Spinach)
Oil (prefer Palm, but can use any)
Tripe (Boiled and cubed)
Dried Fish or Stock Fish
Beef Stock (Knorr or Maggi)
Get the Red Spinach off its stems.
Cut and pour in a saucepan
Add a tablespoon of salt
Boil a kettle of water and pour over the red spinach
Place aside for 5 minutes
Pour out the hot (now warm) water. (The water will be dark pink in color)
Rinse the red spinach with cold water a few times until water is almost clear.
Using a sieve, pour out the water and collect the red spinach onto the sieve
Squeeze out any remaining water and set aside.
Place your cooking pot on medium heat
Add the Palm Oil
Slice a 1/4 of the Onion
Add My Sauce
Add a teaspoon of Tomato Paste
Add a teaspoon of salt
(Add other optional ingredients as desired)
Cook for 10 minutes
Add the Red Spinach
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).
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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.
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.
“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! 🙏🏾
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Going back to my simple Egg Avocado Sandwich recipe.
1/4 or 1/3 Avocado (depending on size)
6-ft Bread Roll
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.)
Once boiled, empty the hot water from pot, and run cold water over eggs. This helps the eggs peel easily.
Peel the shells off the eggs
Slice the bread roll in two
Slice the avocado and place on one half of the bread
Slice and place the eggs on the other half of the bread
Close both halves together as a sandwich.
Enjoy with a hot or cold Turmeric tea. Can also be eaten for lunch or light dinner.
Curry is an Indian favorite that has now become one of my family’s as well. We love curry; Curry chicken, curry beef, curry spinach, and curry rice (with or without shrimp). We also add curry to spice up our sauces and other foods.
Moinmoin is a favorite dish in Nigeria and some African countries. It is extraordinarily rich in protein as well as iron as it is made from beans.
Nigerians use the red (some call it orange) beans, but black-eyed beans are equally good.
The optional ingredients below is used in making the seafood Moinmoin. You can add other seafood items to it as desired.
Likewise, for all meat Moinmoin, suggested optional items would be corned beef, gizzards, cow liver, and/or kidney. You can use all or only one of the meat substitutes; or your can add your choice of meat; the choice is yours. The items must be boiled (add water and seasonings to items in a saucepan, cover, and place over medium heat to boil) and cubed.
Combo Moinmoin could also be made using combination of all the items; seafood, meats, and chicken.
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Moinmoin can be eaten a la carte for breakfast or paired with rice, beans, or fried plantain for lunch or dinner.