I promised you my stew recipe, I apologise for the delay. My love for cooking grew as a result of helping my dad cook on Christmas day, New Years Day and random Saturday mornings. We all got our love for food from him coupled with a number of habits. For example:
- V1 shops in bulk, she buys everything in excess, #1 habit from Daddy (I personally think it’s a great habit as I shop quite regularly in V1’s food pantry
- V3 bakes and makes a big mess, as in baking bowls with batter and cream cheese frosting are still unwashed most times even after the cakes have been baked and eaten, (Not such a bad habit as we just end up licking the leftover batter and I love clearing up anyway)
- V4 picked up the art of eating and showing appreciation to the cook with her running commentary!!! I love it; it also means she’s quite honest when the food is not up to par
- Yours truly cooks haphazardly without measurements like papa which is why I struggle to write recipes. In this case I wish I was like mum, she cooks with precision.
Stew is probably the one dish that most people know how to make. But it’s also the one dish that tastes so different depending on the cook. It’s a staple Nigerian dish.
V1 makes really nice stews and for a very long time I tried to replicate her stews but never got it right. I noticed that she let her stew simmer on the cooker for a very long time, I did the same and got burnt stew (she cooks with an electric cooker and I cook with a gas cooker, that was my excuse). So I decided to make simple stew until I got it right, no extras like all purpose seasoning, stock, etc.
2 x 400g canned tomatoes 400g
2 x Scotch bonnet peppers
2 x Onions
250ml Olive oil / Sunflower oil
Salt to taste
3 Knorr cubes
I tsp Curry (optional)
I tsp Thyme (optional)
1 tsp Basil (Optional)
12 chicken thighs and drumsticks
Wash and season 12 chicken pieces with salt, onion, pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 30 minutes until tender
Grind the tomatoes, pepper and onions
Heat up oil and fry the ground tomato mixture for 20 minutes until fairly dry (at this point the oil rises to the top and the tomatoes no longer tastes raw)
Add your cooked chicken (you can vary the meat in your stew: goat meat, turkey, mixed meat, fish, etc)
Add seasoning, salt to taste, knorr cubes, curry and thyme.
Cook and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently until well blended.
Stir in basil, remove from fire and serve with rice
I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes sometimes as it gives the stew a different flavour; add a small tin of tomato puree at step 4 if you decide to use fresh tomatoes.
You may need to remove excess oil that rises to the top depending on how healthy you want the stew.
You can use as little or as many scotch bonnet peppers as you can handle.
I only seasoned with knorr cubes and salt for a very long time before I started adding curry and thyme because I wanted to know the difference in taste that each seasoning created.
Stew is commonly eaten with rice but you can service with yams, potatoes, plantain, beans, bread, etc.
My sisters and I love bread and stew!!!!! Caribbean/African bread with stew is yummy. Kingsmill white bread is also very good. When my mum is around we sometimes put freshly cooked stew in a big bowl, put the bowl on the floor, sit round the bowl with our individual plates of bread and eat together from the same bowl. It’s great for gisting and bonding time. (I’m going to get in trouble for this but my mum usually feeds V4 during these times like this and even V3 when we eat eba and soup like this because V3 hates eba)
I made fish stew last night – I added the tilapia fillets after seasoning and stirring the stew (step 5) as I did not want the fillets to break but also because the fillets were raw and unseasoned. When using cooked seasoned meats, I add to the stew before seasoning as in step 4 and 5 above.
I love cooking but I don’t like stress, I got my tilapia fillets from Tesco, frozen, already washed, no bones, etc. It made cooking last night very easy as I didn’t need to clean, wash or precook the fish. Tilapia is also a very tasty fish, not as bland a cod.
Upcoming recipes: cornbread and scrabbled eggs and King prawn pepper soup (this should keep me accountable and ensure that I post the recipes)