Archives for category: Food

 

Fresh fish fetishism is delightfully a part of the psyche of  many Nigerians at home and abroad.

I cannot honestly think of a single Nigerian who would turn away the opportunity to eat some fresh fish done up in hot, spicy pepper soup.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Fish -Epe market

Fresh Fish -Epe market, Lagos

It was  early Saturday morning and Lagos was awake and bustling.

My friend was in the car and ready to roll.

We were off to waylay the ladies with their cache of fresh fish and unlike me- the alien in Lagos- she understood this ritual perfectly.

The earlier you leave home, the higher your chances of getting anything done in Lagos.

lagos ikeja
We hit the road

Whether like us you were cooking your fish at home or like many Nigerians who regularly found themselves with  fish pepper soup in hand, positioned in one of the many evening joints sipping a cold Gulder, Star or  Guinness , you paid a small premium.

Nonetheless, you found a way to hustle yourself some.

And trust me, with some money in your pocket, good haggling skills and an easy smile, you will find fresh fish just right for  your budget.

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We arrived at the stall to set up our ambush and unbelievably, there was already a small party of people waiting .

I was surprised at the mix of faces.

 

Fish sellers- Isheri Market, Lagos

Fish sellers- Isheri Market, Lagos

 

A young lady who worked in a bank and cooked fresh fish every Saturday as a treat for her husband, an older gentleman who was buying fresh fish for  his wife, a rather tense looking teenager and of course there was us-the two fresh fish disciples.

The atmosphere changed in an instant.

Voices were raised, miraculously,  a surge of bodies appeared from… everywhere.

They had arrived.

 Laden with blackened baskets  bulging with their treasure of golden gills, the fish ladies quite calmly took their places behind the stalls and laid out their wares.

 

 

Fish sellers Falomo Bridge Victoria Island , Lagos

Fish sellers Falomo Bridge Victoria Island , Lagos

 

My friend looked at me. We only had a thousand Naira between us.

Was there any real hope of outbidding the affluent looking madams who arrived in SUVs and big jeeps or the stern faced market women who had come to buy for further resale?

As I waved the naira note in my hand, I realised this was not going to be easy.

This was going to take some special  Lagos style haggling -I pushed my friend forward and prayed silently.
1 thousand naira

In the end, we didn`t  get the biggest fish of  the lot but  in typical Nigerian style, we did not leave empty handed.
We got  enough to make a truly satisfying pot of homemade fresh fish pepper soup –hot, spicy and just right !

 

fish peppersoup 1

 

Click here to for a video on how to make Nigerian Catfish Pepper Soup

 

Read more about Fish markets in Lagos here

Street food vending is a human phenomenon which dates back to Ancient Rome where the urban poor purchased food  on the streets because they did not have kitchens in their homes.

Today, from  Rio to Hong Kong and from Delhi to the streets of New York city, there is no question that  people are feverishly on the move, hustling to survive, hoping to make each day count. Nigerian is no exception.

Moimoi ( Steamed Bean cakes)

Moimoi  Seller- Lagos ( Steamed Bean cakes)


 

All across Nigeria, the business of cooking, selling, hawking and  buying  the variety of delicious, street food items available is very much a bustling human enterprise. One that not only provides a living for a large number of men and  women, but also is a ready source of nutritious, affordable  food on the go, for a nation of people constantly moving.

In truth,  for many people dashing to work  early in the morning or indeed, crawling back tired and exhausted later in the day, street food is almost a necessity and quite frankly, this is one business that really knows no “class”.

The iconic Suya sticks- organic barbecued beef steaks seasoned and spicy

The iconic Suya sticks- organic barbecued beef steaks seasoned and spicy – usually an evening treat found in every city in Nigeria.


 

Rich or poor, in a  fancy car, bicycle or not , everybody has their favourite roadside Akara, Moimoi, Dundu, Boli or Suya  seller  who make (totally  from organic locally sourced produce),  nutritious and affordable  pick up and go meals everyday.

 Boli (Roasted ripe plantain)

Boli (Roasted ripe plantain)


 

It is not unusual to see very expensive cars parked on the roadside waiting for   Boli, Akara or Agbado made to order.

Having ready access to good food on the move is undeniably an essential part to sustaining the drive and the energy of any human activity.

Akara sellers- Osu Junction- Ife-Ibadan Road. (Bean cakes)

Akara sellers- Osu Junction- Ife-Ibadan Road. (Bean cakes)


 

Street cuisine which is affordable, healthy, sustains the local economy and feeds millions of Nigerians everyday is to be celebrated and valued.

Fried Sweet Potato and Yam with choice of barbecued Gizzard and Turkey Wings

Dundu-Fried Sweet Potato  Yam with choice of barbecued gizzard and turkey wings.


 

 Some unusual street food items from across the world click here

images (1) basil flowers

Basil, (Ewe Efirin in Yoruba ) also known as Saint Joseph’s Wort , is a herb belonging to the mint family Lamiaceae often used as a seasoning in cooking. Basil is native to India and other tropical areas of Asia.

BASIL BENEFITS

1. Contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds. Natural phenolic compounds play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.

2. Like most natural foods, Basil is rich in antioxidants which can help to prevent and repair damage to your body’s tissue.

download basil smoothie

3. Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies and impotence.

4. Basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders

5. Fresh basil leaves and basil oil have antibacterial properties and are used in many traditional societies to disinfect surfaces.

download BASIL

6. Basil leaves, applied to wounds, may eliminate infections.

7. Used in cooking or taken as a nutritional supplement, basil can assist in combating common viruses like colds, flu, and the herpes family of viruses – in a manner similar to that of Echinacea.

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8. Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA).

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ADDING BASIL TO YOUR DIET

A few basil leaves are perfect in any green smoothie. I always add at least “ a spicy one” (either basil, parsley, or peppermint) to my green smoothies to pep things up!

Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

Fresh basil and a bit of garlic are whirled into a simple fresh basil vinaigrette in this easy recipe. It’s perfect on tomatoes, summer salad greens, or grilled meats.
Prep Time: 10 minutes

download basil dressing

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
1/4 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1 small clove garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation:

In a blender or food processor, whirl the basil, oil, vinegar, and garlic until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about 1 cup Fresh Basil Vinaigrette. (see link)

Star Fruit straight from the tree- ready for juicing. Ile-Ife

Star Fruit straight from the tree- ready for juicing.
Ile-Ife

 

 Star Fruit,  also known as Carambola  is high in  fiber, rich in Iron, vitamins A and C.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS

 

1. Low in calories, sugar, sodium and acid

2.Star fruit has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and a possible treatment for diabetes.

3. Contains high amounts of Vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant

4. Star fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine vitamin .

5. In India, the ripe fruit or its juice is used as a remedy for  fever.

 

RISKS

 

Carambola  contains oxalic acid, which has been considered harmful to individuals suffering from kidney failure, kidney stones, or those under kidney dialysis treatment.

Like the grapefruit, star fruit is considered to be a potent inhibitor of seven cytochrome P450 isoforms and the consumption of star fruit or its juice in combination with certain medications can significantly deincrease their effective dosage within the body.


Read more about the pharmaceutical uses of Carambola here

download guava smoothie

1/2 cup guava
1 cup pineapple, cubed
1 banana, peeled
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cups fresh baby spinach
8 ounces filtered water

Calories: 243 | Fat: 2g (grams) | Protein:68g | Carbs: 60g | Calcium: 10% | Iron: 2.6 mg | Vitamin A: 270% | Vitamin C: 391%

images (1) guava selling

Growing up in Nigeria, guava was everywhere really. We had a least two guava trees in our garden and my friends and I would have a feat during the rainy season when the guava ripened and fell in soft thuds on the ground. I can still picture my mum boiling down what seemed like a whole vat of yellow guavas to make delicious guava jam.

As kids you would run into guavas in the garden next door, on just on random guava trees which just happened to be on the school route. Best of all were the guava laden trays in the local markets; the sweet pungent smell of ripe guavas in the tropical heat is simply unmistakable.

download guava

Today, thankfully we have become more aware of how our bodies work. We know how essential vitamin C is for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. However, as vitamin C is water-soluble, whatever is unused leaves the body through the urine. Hence we need a continuous supply of vitamin C in our diet. This is where the guava fruit comes in.

I think more could be said and done with the guava fruit. Whether it’s the pink, white or yellowish variety, guava is a great natural source of vitamin C and a whole collection of other nutrients. Here goes.

Health Benefits of the Guava

1. One guava contains huge amounts of vitamin C- even more than an orange.

2. Guava contains appreciable amounts of Vitamin A and are also a good source of iron

3. Guava is pecfect for making jam at home as it contains pectin, an enzyme used in making jams as well as promoting digestion.

4. The young leaves of the guava plant are used in traditional medicine in Nigeria and other tropical countries. These leaves contain a number of beneficial substances, including antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids such as quercetin. Drinking a tea made by soaking guava leaves in hot water may be beneficial in treating diarrhea, lowering cholesterol and preventing diabetes and piles

5. For bad breath caused by gum disease, guava is a treatment option. Eating guava stops bleeding in the gums and strengthens their hold on the teeth. It also destroys harmful bacteria, residing in the gums.

6. Guava seeds contain a rich source of dietary fibre and can be used as an excellent laxative.

7. In some areas in India, roasted ripe guava is used as a remedy against extreme cases of cough and cold and congestion: cut a guava in half, bake it in the oven and sprinkle pepper on it before eating.

So grab a few ripe guavas and try my guava and ginger smoothie or just simply munch away- your cells and tissues will thank you for it!

download guava leaves

See here for more info