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Have You Eaten?

Recently I had a conversation with my friend who asked a lady “have you eaten?”and he didn’t get a favourable reaction/response.

I am sure some of us would be richer than Bill Gates if we are given a dollar every time we have been asked this question. It doesn’t even matter from who, no one is above asking or being asked this question. We just keep asking. 

In the past I found this question annoying. I don’t know which one I hated most, have you eaten? or did you go to church today? It gets me thinking. Why are you asking? Will you give me food? 


Is it such a bad question?

No it isn’t. With time I realised it is not a bad question, so I began to appreciate it from the ones I love. It isn’t a literal question, it is the Nigerian way of saying so many things. Your mum may never tell you she loves you or cares for you directly, but she would always ask if you have eaten/had your bath.

What to do…

Next time you are asked this question, don’t see a plate of rice and dodo.

Just think of it as a show of love and care. If you haven’t eaten, it is okay to say you haven’t with a reason and it is also perfect if he tells you to go find something to eat.

Guys should not take every negative answer as a wrong signal. Sometimes ladies have actually not eaten. It doesn’t mean they want urgent 2k.

Nigeria is a 3rd world country where food is a problem. So it isn’t shocking that a question like this would become a norm amongst us, just as some foreigners would probably ask themselves about the weather.

For people that don’t like it, I think the mature thing to do is find a way to make this clear- that way we don’t misunderstand ourselves and complicate things further.

 

I identified  five (5) groups on this table…

1- People that don’t ask and hate to be asked.

2- People that ask to show love and care.

3- People that ask because they know food is a problem in Nigeria.

4- People that ask to keep the conversation going.

5- People that just ask. It is one of those questions to ask. Comes right after “how are you?”

So, have you eaten? I had this delicious meal for breakfast.

 

Please follow me on Instagram @a_lazy_cook_gram. 

  

An Efik Bitter Leaf Soup (Ukwogho Etidot)

Ukwogho Etidot is an Efik bitter leaf soup. Made with waterleaf and bitter leaf, this soup gives Afang soup and Edikan Ikong Soup vibes, albeit with some bitter taste.

I dedicate this recipe and my knowledge of various South-South dishes to my friend who happens to be an Efik lady. Someday I will make a post on how we met, but for today, just know I am am Igbo lady with an Efik plug, lol. 

Anyway, I have seen my Efik friend prepare this soup many times, especially when she is cooking afang. She simply divides it into two, puts afang in one half and bitter leaf in the other. Interestingly, she never knew the name and I thought it was just one of her kitchen experiments. I told her I was going to make this soup and let her know how it goes. So, be my buddy on this Ukwogho Etidot journey.

INGREDIENTS

– Bitter leaf

– Waterleaf

– Meat (goat meat, kpono and assorted)

– Dry fish

– Stockfish

– Periwinkles

– Palm oil

– Scotch bonnet (yellow and red)

– Ground prawn

– Seasoning cubes

– Salt (to taste)

PREPARATION

1) Pick the waterleaf, wash and slice it. Squeeze well and put in a sieve so it can keep draining.

2) Wash the bitter leaf well, but if you bought washed one in the market and it still has much bitter taste, boil for about 5 minutes.

3) Soak your stockfish and dry fish in hot water. Pick out the bones and set aside.

4) If you are using unshelled periwinkles like me, wash well to remove sand particles.

NOW TO THE COOKING

The steps are almost the same with edikan ikong and afang soup.

STEP 1: Put all the meat in a pot, season properly and leave to cook. DON’T PUT WATER. When it has brought out its own juice, add more water, add the shelled periwinkle too and cook till almost tender. When it is almost tender, put in the stock fish and allow them to cook together till they are all tender.

STEP 2: The water should be almost dry,  ukwogho etidot IS NOT COOKED WITH WATER, your waterleaf would bring the needed water to support the PALM OIL. Go ahead and put in your waterleaf, dry fish, ground prawn, palm oil, fresh pepper, periwinkles (if you are using shelled ones), seasoning cubes and salt. Stir and allow to boil. 

STEP 3: The waterleaf should have released its water content by now, put in your bitter leaf…a little at a time. Stir and check for seasoning. Feel free to readjust if need be. Add some ground prawn, stir again, allow to boil for 2 minutes and turn off heat.

Looks like afang right?
Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on Instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

Peppered Goat Meat (Asun)

I found this peppered goat meat (Asun) recipe in my notes and I wondered why I didn’t build on it or share it. Maybe because I didn’t fully capture the whole process. I always feel guilty when I don’t get all the pictures, I like to be as clear and detailed as possible, soft me. 

Asun tastes better when made with smoked goat meat. In fact, I was taught to make it with that for its original flavour, but if you don’t get that or have the means to smoke it yourself, you can deep fry first. It is also infused with lots of pepper, a very spicy dish, no wahala, Nigerians can handle that. 

You can use asun as a side for rice or just take it like that with any chilled drink of your choice.

I apologize for the lack of pictures, but if you follow this recipe carefully, you will get a good result.

INGREDIENTS FOR ASUN

– Cooked and grilled goat meat

– Onions

– Scotch bonnet 

– Bell pepper (green and red)

– Seasoning cubes

– Salt

NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: Rough blend or chop the pepper and onions you would be using. Don’t rough blend the bell peppers, slice those ones.

After that you cut the grilled meat into sizable chunks, except you want it otherwise. 

STEP 2: Set a pot, wok or saucepan on fire. Anything deep to enable you to fry and stir properly without spillage. When it is hot, add the vegetable oil and let it heat up. 

Now you add the peppers and onions, seasoning and a little salt. Allow it to fry till it loses its water content. 

STEP 3: Add the chopped meats, stir and mix properly. Allow it to fry for some minutes.

STEP 4: Add the bell pepper, stir again and give it some minutes.

Your asun is ready. Had mine with rice…

Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on Instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

 

Stir-Fried Noodles

Yesterday I tried boiling my noodles, the way I grew up cooking it as a lazy cook, but I didn’t enjoy it and I realized I should have just stuck to my stir-fried noodles. Laziness takes the blame for that experiment.

When you hear stir-fry, what comes to mind? Rice? Spaghetti? Well, you cam stir-fry your noodles too and it would come out delicious. I think it also looks better on the eyes.


INGREDIENTS

– Noodles

– Vegetable oil

– Onions

– Scotch bonnet

– Vegetables (Carrot, green pepper, green pea)

– Sausages

– Soy sauce

– Oyster sauce

– Curry

– Thyme

– Parsley

EQUIPMENT

– Wok, frying pan or saucepan

– Spatula

– Pasta fork

– Sieve

NOTE

1) You can use any noodles of your choice, but ensure you read its cooking instructions. That way you don’t overcook it and end up with soggy stir-fried noodles.

2) The choice of vegetables is your choice. You can add or subtract.

3) Sauces make a lot of difference. You wouldn’t know till you try. So you can invest in those beauties and use them in your stir-fries.

4) A wok  is a deep frying pan and it is advisable for stir frying because it allows you to mix your vegetables and noodles easily without spillage. 

NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: Chop your vegetables into your preferred size.

Random picture of mine.

While at it, you set a pot of water on fire and bring to boil. When it boils, put in the noodles and half of the seasoning (e.g, if cooking two noodles, parboil with one seasoning). Allow to cook till it is half done. Be careful not to overcook the noodles, better undercooked than overcooked. Once it is half-done, sieve and set aside. 

For more understanding of this process, you can read this blog post HERE or watch the Instagram video HERE.

STEP 2: Put a dry wok on fire, set the heat to medium-low and add very little oil. Little oil because it is stir frying, not deep frying. When the oil has heated up, pour in the onions and vegetables, give them a light fry. Then you add the sausages and the remaining seasoning. Mox them properly. 

STEP 3: Pour in the noodles at this point and little quantity of the sauces. Stir properly and check for taste, you can add more sauces if you want. Add the parsley, give a final stir and serve.

Serve hot!

Fee free to recreate this recipe, post on Instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

 

Yam and Egg Sauce

Egg sauce and boiled yam is a major breakfast in Nigerian homes. It is very easy to make and tastes good too, so we all looked forward to it, especially when it comes during the weekend. I prefer this to the usual weekend akara and pap, though I don’t like eggs, it was the lesser evil when placed side by side with akara. Lol

Typically, it is made with fresh tomatoes, scotch bonnets and onions, but feel free to play around with your ingredients, as I even put a little ground prawn in mine. Overall I’ll advise you to keep it “simple”, that way nothing overwhelms the egg. It should be about the egg right?

You can find my porridge yam recipe HERE.


INGREDIENTS

– Yam

– Vegetable oil

– Fresh tomatoes

– Scotch bonnet

– Onions

– Ground prawn

– Curry

– Thyme

– Parsley

– Seasoning cube

– Salt

Cross section of ingredients…

PREPARATION

1) All your fresh ingredients should be sliced or chopped and set aside.

2) Break your egg into a neat plate and whisk the egg. I have a penchant for putting some of the seasoning directly into my eggs before whisking it. (E.g), if I am using one stock cube, a third of it would go into my raw egg and the remaining in the tomatoes.

NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: Slice the yam into your preferred size/shape, wash it and put in a deep pot. Add enough water to the pot, add salt and place on medium heat. Cook until it’s soft, then you drain the water.

STEP 2: Place a saucepan on fire and add some vegetable oil.

Add the tomatoes, pepper and onions. Cook for some minutes till the oil begins to float on top. Add some salt, seasoning, curry and thyme, then you stir to mix the ingredients and allow to cook for some seconds, maybe a minute.

STEP 3: Add whisked egg and leave for a minute or two (depending on the quantity), this would allow it to form, before you stir to scramble it.Add the parsley…

Serve with boiled yam.Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on Instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

Native Jollof Rice

Native jollof rice also known as Iwuk Edesi to the Efik people or generally as palm oil rice is a rice dish that is cooked with palm oil and lots of dry fish and crayfish. Unlike your party jollof rice, native jollof doesn’t need tomatoes or spices. It has a traditional look and flavour, though very delicious. 

Some people cook theirs with vegetables, pumpkin leaves or basil leaves (scent leaf). The choice is yours. You can also garnish with whatever meat you like, goat meat, kpomo, diced shaki, etc. I’ll be using diced goat meat and kpomo for mine.

You can also try my pepper soup rice recipe.


INGREDIENTS

– Rice

– Onions

– Palm oil

– Fresh scotch bonnet 

– Diced kpomo

– Diced goat meat

– Dry fish

– Ground prawn/crayfish

– Locust bean (iru)

– Pumpkin leaves

– Seasoning cubes

– Salt

PREPARATION

1) Parboil your rice, set aside to drain.

2) Season the goat meat and kpomo, allow them to cook till almost tender.

3) Blend your fresh pepper and half onions together with a little water. 

4) Slice the pumpkin leaves and remaining onions, set aside. 

NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: In a sizable pot, put some palm oil and allow to heat up on medium heat. When the pil is hot, add the sliced onions and fry till transclucent. After that you add the locust bean and fry till the flavour begins to come out.

STEP 2: Pour in the blend of pepper and onions, followed by the ground prawn/crayfish, seasoning cubes and a little salt, fry again about 3-5 minutes. 

STEP 3: Pour in the stock from your steamed goat meat and kpomo. If you don’t have stock, put in some water, not too much because it is advisable you add water a little at a time. Stir and check for taste, adjust if necessary, then you cover the pot and leave to boil. 

STEP 4: When the pot starts boiling, put in your kpomo, goat meat, dry fish and any other tough protein you are using. Stir lightly, cover tightly and leave to cook.

STEP 5: Once the rice is done and the water is remaining very small, throw in your vegetable, give a light stir and allow to dry up.

Serve hot!!
Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on Instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

Ogbono Soup

This is an easy Ogbono soup recipe. Ogbono soup also known as draw soup is in the same league with okra soup, they both draw. Like I have said before, I am not a fan of soups that draw, but I cook them well and I eat them once in a while. Today is one of such days, though I usually cook them in very small quantities. 

Some people like their ogbono soup plain, some would never touch it without a leaf in it. I belong to the latter group, so I would be combining two leaves in this soup. However, you can do whatever works for you.

Also, if you don’t like ogbono soup, but want a draw soup, check out my okra soup recipe.


INGREDIENTS FOR OGBONO SOUP

– Assorted meat (kpomo, offals and goat meat)

– Ogbono seeds

– Palm oil

– Bitter leaf

– Uziza

– Dry fish

– Stockfish

– Fresh pepper (yellow)

– Onion

– Salt

– Seasoning cubes

 

NOTE

There are various reasons your ogbono soup won’t draw well, so avoid them;

1) You fried it (for too long). Frying you ogbono makes it lose its potency.

2) You bought the wrong species. There is ogbono seed that doesn’t draw. Growing up I heard there was fake ogbono and I wondered how an agricultural product can be “fake”, but now I know better. To confirm if it is the real thing, break the seed into two and rub against each other. If it gives a stretchy paste, bravo!

3) Old seeds. Seeds that have been harvested and stored for long are of no use in the kitchen. So take a good look at the ogbono you want to buy.

4) Ground ogbono. This applies mainly to people in the diaspora that have no choice than to buy ground packaged ogbono. It loses its potency in that state. 


NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: After boiling your meat and fish, set another pot on fire and put some palm oil in it. When the oil has heated, TURN OFF THE HEAT and pour your ground ogbono into it. Use a spoon or spatula to dissolve the ogbono.

STEP 2: When the ogbono has properly dissolved, set it back on low heat and pour in the stock (water from your cooked meat and fish). Keep stirring again, mixing your ogbono and stock to give a smooth consistency. If it is too thick, add some warm water and mix again. 

STEP 3: Cover and leave to boil on low heat. Keep checking on it, scraping off the sides and bottom to prevent burning. Allow to boil for 15-20mins. Ogbono is a quick soup, but it should be allowed to boil well, helping accentuate the taste.

STEP 4: Put in the pepper, ground prawn, meat and fish, then salt and seasoning to taste. Stir and leave to boil again. If it has gotten too thick, you can soften with water.

STEP 5: Add your leaves if any, stir and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and leave to simmer on residual heat.

 

Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

Afang Soup 

I took my time to create this Afang soup recipe because it is my favourite soup. I mean, if I had to survive on just one food, it would be afang and eba. 

Afang soup is an Ibibio/Efik soup. I am of the opinion that they have very good dishes and I always love to learn to make their meals. Made with waterleaf and afang leaves, some people say the soup is not just delicious but nutritious and medicinal. Now let’s get down to business…

INGREDIENTS

– Afang (what Igbos call okazi)

– Waterleaf

– Meat (goat meat, kpono and assorted)

– Dry fish

– Stockfish

– Periwinkles

– Palm oil

– Scotch bonnet (yellow and red)

– Ground prawn

– Seasoning cubes

– Salt (to taste)


NOTE

1) If you have spent time wondering why your afang soup turns out bitter, I want you to know it is beyond your control. There are bitter afang leaves, the darker (greener) it is, the more bitter it turns out. Let’s blame it on chlorophyll. So, go for the lighter leaves.

2) I advise you to use goat meat and any other meat of your choice. The reason being that goat meat accentuates the taste of afang soup. The rule is, if you want the meat to influence the taste of the soup/food – use goat meat. 

3) I have a strong preference for this kind of kpomo. Either the head or legs.

 It is usually tougher, so I use my pressure pot to cook.

PREPARATION

1) Pick the waterleaf, wash and slice it. Squeeze well and put in a sieve so it can keep draining.

2) Wash the afang leaves, pound or use a food processor/blender to blend it. You can also blend in the market, but if you are blending with a home blender, you would have to put some water to allow the blades move. If the water is much, feel free to sieve it.

3) Soak your stockfish and dry fish in hot water. Pick out the bones and set aside.

4) If you are using unshelled periwinkles, wash well to remove sand particles. 

NOW TO THE COOKING
The steps are almost the same with edikan ikong, you can find the recipe HERE.

STEP 1: Put all the meat in a pot, season properly and leave to cook. DON’T PUT WATER. When it has brought out its own juice, add more water and cook till almost tender. Now put in the stock fish and allow them to cook together till they are all tender.

STEP 2: The water should be almost dry, AFANG SOUP IS NOT COOKED WITH WATER, your waterleaf would bring the needed water to support the PALM OIL. Go ahead your waterleaf, dry fish, ground prawn, palm oil, fresh pepper, periwinkles, seasoning cubes and salt. Stir and allow to boil. 

STEP 3: The waterleaf should have released its water content by now, go ahead and put in your afang…a little at a time. Stir and check for seasoning. Feel free to readjust if need be. Add some ground prawn, stir again, allow to boil for 2 minutes and turn off heat.

Delicious…

Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.

 

Peppered Fish Sauce

This fish sauce is tasty and very easy to make. Feel free to play around with a variety of pepper and fresh fish. Also,  palm oil or vegetable oil can be used for this recipe, but do not use spices like thyme or curry if you are using palm oil. 

Serve with rice, spaghetti or yam. I will b having mine with rice though.

If this recipe isn’t ideal for you, check out the Nigerian Tomatoes Stew recipe HERE.

INGREDIENTS

– Fish (hake and mullet)

– Vegetable oil

– Red bell pepper (tatashe)

– Yellow bell pepper

– Green bell pepper

– Green chili 

– Red chili (shombo)

– Locust bean (iru)

– Spring onions

– Cameroon Pepper 

– Parsley

– Onions 

– Ginger

– Garlic

– Ground prawn

– Seasoning cubes

– Salt

PREPARATION

1)Wash and clean the fresh fish. Put in a sieve and leave to drain.

2)Wash all the peppers and deseed them, peel the ginger, garlic and onions.

Cut into smaller sizes, including the spring onions…

Put in a blender…

Rough blend them…

3) Season the fish with a stock cube, salt and some garlic and ginger powder. Set aside to marinate.

NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: Put some oil in the pot to heat up.

When it has heated up, put in the fish to fry.

Allow it to fry well, then you turn the other side. It should be well fried and crispy. Don’t worry yourself, the sauce would soften it later.

When both sides have fried well, take them out and place on a kitchen towel. Repeat the frying process till the fish is exhausted.

STEP 2: In the same oil, put in some locust bean and saute it till you begin to perceive its aroma.

Add the pepper blend to the pot. Then you add some salt and seasoning cubes. BE CAREFUL WHILE PUTTING THE PEPPER. I’LL ADVISE YOU USE A SPOON TO SCOOP.

Cover and allow to boil on medium-low heat. Stir regularly is you are not using a nonstick pot.

STEP 3: The pepper should be well fried by now and the oil would be floating on top. Stir and check for seasoning. Add whatever is lacking, then you put in a 1 tsp of ground prawn, cameroon pepper and the fried fish.

Stir lightly and leave to simmer on low heat. Turn off the heat after a minute.

Feel free to recreate this recipe and tag me on IG @alazycookgram.

Have You Been Boiling Your Spaghetti Right?

You read me right- have you been boiling your spaghetti right? I ask because it took me some time to know this and I reckon there are many of my kind out there. This post would teach you an easy way to boil your spaghetti right.

Spaghetti is an easy meal to put up, be it stir-fried, plain boiled or spaghetti jollof. However, this is for plain boiled spaghetti, permit me to call it white spaghetti, think of your white rice. 

When you get a hang of this, you will begin to enjoy your spaghetti and stew more. It might also please you to know that this is how your favorite buka boils theirs too. Those women know lots of tricks we do not know, we should get close to them. 

INGREDIENTS

– Water

– Spaghetti

– Salt

– Olive/Vegetable oil

– Sieve 

NOTE ON HOW TO BOIL SPAGHETTI RIGHT

– The trick to this process is, the water must NEVER dry in the spaghetti.

– You don’t parboil, just straight to the cooking and eating too…


NOW TO THE COOKING

STEP 1: Set a pot of water on fire. This pot should be big and the water should be plenty, yes plenty. Enough to drown the spaghetti. Allow the water boil…

STEP 2: Put in your spaghetti whole. Please do not break the spaghetti, this is one mistake many people make. Stop breaking your spaghetti, it is an abomination to do that, lol.

After putting the spaghetti in, allow the side inside water to soften, then you push in the remaining part till they are all inside the boiling water.


STEP 3:
Use a pasta fork or spatula to separate them, stirring it in the process. Add salt and a few drops of oil. Leave to boil.

STEP 4: Keep checking on it to know when you get your desired texture. Once you achieve your desired texture, pour it out in a sieve to drain.

I do put back the spaghetti into the pot and place on low heat for a few seconds, just so the water can dry…

Served with my delicious tomatoes stew, you can find the recipe HERE.

Feel free to recreate this recipe, post on Instagram and tag me @a_lazy_cook_gram.