In case you have missed it somehow, it is pumpkin season right now, and pumpkins are popping up everywhere not just as a seasonal decoration, but as a major food source. I have not been able to resist the urge to buy some of the beautiful looking pumpkins constantly on sale at my grocery store. In addition to the homemade pumpkin puree I mentioned in my last post, which I used for some sweet pumpkin desserts, I also decided to stretch myself and explore what Nigerian pumpkin recipes were available. I knew that whatever I found would be an absolute flavor delight as is the case with majority of African dishes. One tasty result of this search is this delicious savory stew/ soup that was a big hit in my home and is native to the Northern parts of Nigeria: A delicious pumpkin stew locally called Miyan Taushe.
Miyan taushe is a savory, Nigerian pumpkin dish, native to and quite popular with the Hausa and Fulani tribes of Northern Nigeria, and interestingly, not really popular anywhere else. In fact there tends to be a lot of ignorance about the variety of native Hausa dishes even in Nigeria (specifically the southern, eastern and western regions), with most of the public awareness relegated to a few of Northern Nigeria’s food exports namely dishes like Suya, Fura da Nono, kuli kuli, Kilishi, and of course the necessary starch: Tuwo Shinkafa (the side most commonly associated with this dish). Just FYI, I say necessary because if you haven’t caught on yet, a lot of West African dishes center around a savory and meaty soup or stew served with a round ball of starch as a side. These starch balls are usually made from high starch carbohydrates like rice, yams, cassavas/yuca, plantains etc and are collectively given the term “fufu”, “okele” or “swallow” because of how such food tends to be eaten by wrapping a small piece of the starch ball in soup using your hands and swallowing with minimal chewing. Anyway, there remains a lot of unawareness about some amazingly delicious Hausa recipes of which Miyan Taushe is one of the more locally celebrated.
Miyan taushe can be prepared with any ripe pumpkin. I will admit our general surprise in discovering the amazing flavors contained in this stew! To keep things as authentic as possible, I used chevon/goat meat as the meat as is commonly used natively but beef, mutton or any other protein can be used as well. The closest comparison my husband could almost liken it to in taste was a groundnut stew, with a slightly grainy twist but richer. Who knew that pumpkins and peanuts went so well together? It was consumed quite quickly at home!!
As I mentioned earlier, you can choose to go traditional and try Miyan Taushe with a “swallow” of your choice, you may also pair it with rice or any variety of naan bread since naan bears some similarity to “gurasa”: a local Hausa flat bread which was also a traditional side eaten with Miyan Taushe. This dish is especially eaten during Ramadan so it definitely is an option as a festive dish. Please enjoy and let me know how you liked it!
Miyan Taushe Recipe
- 1.5 lbs goat meat chunks
- 1.5 lbs pumpkin peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ cup palm oil
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 7 plum/roma tomatoes
- 2 large onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 4 scotch bonnet peppers
- 10 oz chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
- 5 oz sorrel (substitute with spinach more spinach when unavailable)
- ¼ cup ground dry cray fish
- 2 tbsp shrimp bouillon
- salt to taste
- Slice both onion and 2 scotch bonnet peppers, and set aside.
- On low- medium heat in a large stock pot, braise the goat meat with the sliced onions, scotch bonnet peppers, 1 tsp bullion and 1 tsp salt for 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- While the meat is braising, blend the tomatoes, bell pepper, 1 onion, and two scotch bonnet peppers. Place the blended tomato mix in a pot and cook on medium heat until the sauce reduces down to a thick paste. You might need to reduce the heat to prevent the tomato paste from burning.
- Once the meat is tender and done braising, add in the pumpkin chunks and 2 cups of water into the pot with the braised meat. The water should just cover the pumpkin chunks and meat. At this stage, adjust the seasoning of the broth and water that the pumpkins. Cover and boil for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.
- While the pumpkin are cooking, grind the peanuts in a blender, food processor with a mortar an pestle until it forms a rough paste, and set aside.
- Once the pumpkins are tender, use the back of a spoon to smash the pumpkin chunks, add in the crushed peanuts, tomato paste, cray fish, and bullion and stir the stew. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low- medium heat.
- After the stew has cooked for 5 minutes, add in the palm oil, chopped spinach and chopped sorrel, and cook the stew covered for 10 minutes on low heat.
- After 10 minutes, taste the stew for seasoning and adjust the salt if necessary. Turn the heat off and allow the stew to sit for 5 minutes, then serve hot