The first time I ate Ofada rice and Ayamase was at a family friend’s house warming in 2013. I remember that glorious Sunday after church. I and a couple of well-wishers drove down in the scorching afternoon sun to the outskirts of Lagos to celebrate with them.

We got there tired and famished since we had not had breakfast. I particularly was extra grumpy. You know what they say about a hungry woman being an angry woman. He he!

The celebrant Sisi Sade as I usually call her didn’t waste time at all. After the pleasantries, she went straight to the refrigerator and served us chilled malt drinks. I smiled as I grabbed mine and drowned it in one go. Immediately, I felt a rumbling in my tummy and a small fart escaped thereafter *covers face*.

Sisi Sade proceeded to serve Ofada rice and Ayamase. I had been hearing of this meal and taken it with a pinch of salt. I wondered if any food could rival good old party Jollof Rice. I half-heartedly accepted the meal and got to work. Ah! My joy at tasting the incredibly sweet, peppery, stew that day knew no bounds. The assorted meats were superbly done and I had to ask for a second helping. Sisi Sade got so many accolades from people that day that I also made up my mind to learn how to prepare this recipe at all costs.

Ayamase, Ofada stew or Designer stew as it is called is believed to have originated from Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, Nigeria. The stew is known for its peppery taste, rough texture and dark colour. It is usually served with Ofada rice wrapped in wide green leaves. This meal has become a popular menu in Nigerian Owambe parties. Personally, I believe a party without Ofada rice and Ayamase is incomplete.

Okay, okay enough of stories. Let’s get to work.

Ingredients

  • 6 Green habanero peppers.
  • 6 Large bell peppers.
  • 2 bulbs of Onion.
  • Assorted meats (Beef, Shaki, Liver, Kpomo etc ) cut in cube-like sizes.
  • Crayfish (1 handful).
  • Palm oil (400ml).
  • Salt to taste.
  • Seasoning.
  • Locust beans (1 table spoonful).

Preparation

  • Season the assorted meats and boil till tender; set aside.
  • Blend the pepper, onions and crayfish together. It should have a rough texture not smooth.
  • Boil the pepper for about 15 minutes or till the water is reduced.
  • In a pot, bleach the palm oil for about 10 minutes till it’s light in appearance. You would want to leave the pot covered because of the smoke.
  • Let the smoke disperse completely before proceeding.
  • Now, heat the oil again and add the blended pepper and locust beans.
  • Let it Fry, Fry and Fry.
  • Add the assorted meat and very little stock. Our stew shouldn’t be watery.
  • Add salt and seasoning to taste and leave to simmer for about 8 mins.
  • C’est Fini.
  • Dish and get digging 😉

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