I have always wondered why several foods we seem to love in Nigeria smell awful. Don’t get me wrong, majority of them are a favourite of mine, but the smell? Gosh! They are cringeworthy, LOL.
As foodies, we have learnt to forgive them foods even when hours after eating, our breath still reeks of them; not to talk of when they’re being prepared, the odor just clings to you like super glue. That’s why I respect cooks a lot. Phew!
So, these are some that have made my list:
- Locust Beans: This has to be the top. Locust Beans aka Iru or Ogiri has err pardon me, a “shitty” smell. But then one should never judge a food by that. Locust beans is a flavor enhancer used in soups and stews and the botanical name is Parkia biglobosa. One reason for the smell could be the fermentation process it goes through. Iru has several nutritional values such as promoting good eyesight, controlling blood sugar levels, aiding digestion and so on. Good reasons to eat it often.
- Kpomo: It is simply known as cow skin. You’d be almost repulsed at the smell and how it is being displayed in the market but it’s still a favourite for many Nigerians especially the soft squishy ones. It is an alternative for those who don’t eat/like meat. Many people believe it has low nutritrional value compared to regular meats or that it is even harmful to health because of how it’s being processed, but you still find it dancing in several pots of soup. There’s just something about eating Kpomo that can’t be explained. I think we’d agree that it has come to stay.
- Ofada: Hmmn, this one, the odor is so pungent that it fills the whole house when cooking. Even your neighbors who are three houses away notices. But we’ve learnt to love it like that because well, it’s simply delicious. Ofada with the popular ayamase stew is a must serve in parties. Also known as brown rice, it contains fibre thus ideal for weight watchers and diabetics.
- Fufu: Fufu is a swallow food made from fermented cassava, thus a good source of carbohydrate. Research show that fermented foods introduce beneficial bacteria into the digestive system, thus improving bowel health and digestion. Fufu is usually prepared and sold on the streets. It could be eaten cold or hot with your favourite soup. You can’t eat this food without it leaving its signature scent on your hand even after washing it thoroughly.
- Okporoko: Okporoko which means “that which makes sound in the pot” is also known as stock fish; it is very popular amongst the Igbos in Nigeria. If you can get over the odor, it is quite delicious especially in vegetable soups and gives it a distinct flavour. But mehn! These fishes look mean, don’t they?
These are the ones that made it to my list. Did I leave anyone out? Let’s know in the comment box.