If you are a lover of good food, a homemaker or a kitchen manager, you are certainly feeling the heat of the recent scarcity of fresh tomatoes, experienced in the southern/western Nigeria. Some specialists say it is as a result of global warming; others say it is due to heavy rainfall, which washes the young tomato away.
Whatever the situation, your heart friendly oil will not leave you without a way forward. Here is Palm Kernel stew (Ofe Akwu), a.k.a Banga Soup. Ofe akwu is a local recipe from Eastern Nigeria and has been an age long alternative to tomato stew, closely related to the popularly known Banga soup.
Here are steps to making it;
- 500g of fresh palm fruits/ 400g of canned palm fruits pulp
- 300g goat meat
- 1 stock fish
- Dried fish
- 2pieces of ogiri okpei (local seasoning iru, ogiri nsukka)
- 1 wrap of dried locust beans, Dawadawa (Optional)
- 1 small bulb of onions
- 5 chili or bonnet pepper
- 1 cup of crayfish
- A handful of scent leaves
- Seasoning cube
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup of stock fish’s stock
- ½ of goat meat stock
Wash and cook the palm fruits for 25 minutes (if you are using fresh palm fruits). Check to ensure it is soft and well cooked.
Sieve the palm nuts and pound in a small mortar to extract the oil, or mesh with clean hands in a bowl. When the skin is come off, add warm water to the pounded mix and sieve the oily liquid.
Then put the sieved extract in a clean pot and return to the stove for cooking. Cook till the mixture thickens, approximately 20 minutes.
If you are using the canned palm pulp, open into the pot and cook till oil rises to the surface.
Grind your crayfish, the red bonnet pepper, ogiri and locust beans in the mortar or blender. Chop your onions and curry leaves.
Add the stockfish and goat meat stock to the cooking mixture. Allow to simmer for 2minutes.
Add the crayfish, red bonnet pepper, ogiri, and Dawadawa. Allow to cook for a while before you add your stockfish, boiled meat and dried fish.
After which you can add salt and seasoning to taste, leaving the sauce to cook for another 8minutes or less depending on how thick you want it to be before you add your chopped curry leaves.
You can serve Ofe Akwu with Rice, boiled Yam or Unripe Plantain.
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