I am trying not to start my recipe posts with the usual “I love…”, so here goes my attempt. Once upon a time, I was introduced to a Senegalese restaurant in downtown Baltimore by one of my dear Cameroonian friends. This trip created a soft spot in my food heart (aka my belly) for Senegalese cuisine. As a Nigerian myself, I thought that nothing could rival Nigerian food in this spot, but after I tasted the National dish of Senegal, Thieboudienne, there was a mini war for my food heart. Thieboudienne is a mouth watering rice and fish dish that is like nothing I had before.
I struggled for a little while coming up with the title of this recipe. As some of you may know, this picture looks like your typical egusi soup, but it is not. I, like many people I know live in “abroad”, which means I don’t always have easy access to African ingredients. Luckily for me, I do have an African store close by, so I don’t always struggle to find my home ingredients. Truth be told, African stores don’t come close to providing as much variety as is found back home, but… it meets the needs here just fine. One day however, I was out of Egusi…
While preparing this fish and chips dish, I couldn’t help but think of my parents. Growing up, seafood was a big part of my life, not just because I ate it a lot, but because there are so many memories surrounding fish and chips and other seafood dishes that I would never forget in a hurry. My mother is originally from a riverine area of Nigeria, so seafood was always a tradition for her. I imagine that marrying my dad meant she got to share tons of interesting recipes with him because by the time I came around, my dad had already fallen in love with seafood himself.
I love when my mom or my mother-in-law (aka my other mom) come over to my home to spend sometime with me. I always learn a ton from them, especially in the kitchen and in the market place. On a recent visit from my mother-in-law, I re-discovered my love for eggplant / garden egg stew. My mom and I went to an Asian market that had tons of produce, we were picking out vegetables when we spotted some Thai-eggplants or as we call them at home garden-eggs. We decided to pick them up and make a simple yet delicious eggplant stew.
I’m sure most of us have already come up with (and hopefully not yet broken) some new year resolutions. If you’re like me, the majority of your new year resolutions tend to focus on a more healthy lifestyle. One specific resolution I made this year was to eat more vegetables in 2015, I even bought a squash the other day… (still not sure what I’ll be making with it, but more on that later). One of my favorite vegetables is spinach, and though that word sometimes triggers distasteful memories of its bland taste usually unmasked by boring recipes, or disguised in green smoothies, allow me to introduce you to a very common Nigerian recipe that will change the way you feel about this vegetable forever! This spinach stew locally known as “Efo Riro” is guaranteed to be one of the most savory and delicious spinach recipes you will ever taste.