Posts tagged Eat.Drink.Lagos Bites
A Yoruba Woman’s Guide to Pepper

Stereotypes are boring, and often harmful and untrue. Remember Chimamanda’s speech about the danger of the single story? Yes, it’s pretty solid.

That doesn’t include Yoruba people and pepper, however. This one is 100% true, well...in my family anyway. I always imagine what the first Yoruba person who discovered pepper was thinking or must have thought. It must have felt like an iconic discovery, and it was.

This is one stereotype that I fully embrace with my chest and as a certified pepper-crazed Yoruba woman, this is a guide to enjoying pepper in your food.

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Rule #1

Add pepper to every and anything you’re cooking and eating.

Making pancakes? Add pepper.

Smoothies? Puff puff? You better add a sprinkling of dried pepper. What is life without some spice?

[Ed Note: “Spice = Pepper” is a very Tobi thing]


Rule #2

This rule follows rule 1 closely. When you’re adding pepper to all your food and culinary experiments, add copious amounts. Seriously, what’s the point of adding pepper if the flavor will not overwhelm all the remaining flavors? Pepper should be all you can taste. And if you’re not leaking from all your facial orifices after eating, then you obviously didn’t do it right.


Rule #3

Sick? Down with malaria? Typhoid, or even migraines? Eat (or is it “drink”) pepper soup. Seriously, you’ll feel better.


Rule #4

When you go out to eat, regardless of the restaurant, fast food joint, ice-cream parlor or even party, carry dried pepper with you, so you can sprinkle it on whatever you order. Can’t have bland food on your spice-trained taste buds. Ever heard of akabanga? You can put that stuff in your carry on when you fly.


Rule #5

Never forget rule numbers 1-4. Rinse and repeat.

 

If you think all of this is jokes, then you obviously haven’t clocked or even worse, have forgotten the health benefits of pepper in food.

Let me remind you:

Nutritionists, who know what they’re doing, have told us that pepper contains nutrients that help improve metabolism, relieve joint pain, reduce acidity in the digestive tract (I know it sounds weird, but yes), reduce the risk of cancer, help in curing cases of flu and confuse your migraine.

Remember rule number 3? Yoruba people, like me, have that down pat.

Okay, I might have overdone it a bit with some of these rules because as we all know pepper is actually a great way to spice your food, but it doesn’t belong in everything, and definitely should be used sparsely -except in extreme cases like with pepper soup, then you can go all out.

It does not belong in pancakes, and definitely not smoothies.

I don’t mind it in puff puff though, I am Yoruba after all.

Early 2019 Lagos Restaurant Openings

New things are always fun and restaurants are at the top of that list for me. On that note, here’s a shortlist of the more recent 2019 restaurant openings in Lagos.

Warning: this list is not exhaustive, you can contribute by adding some more in the comments.


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Happy new month #atmosphererooftop

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What to expect: Aesthetic ambience, the menu has lots of grill specials, and it’s very Instagram friendly.

 

What to expect: Authentic Nigerian dishes. 

 
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Waffles and Ice cream. 🍽

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What to expect: Pop art murals, wings, fries, burgers and everything in between.

*they are currently closed for a little while while they move to a new location. 

 
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What to expect: Rice. In all it’s forms. There’s also a ‘build your own bowl’ feature which we think is pretty cool. 

 
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What to expect: Not to be allowed to park inside if you drive a Toyota Camry. Range Rover Evoques only, period.

Having written this, it did get me thinking, what’s with all the new restaurants opening in Lekki?





A Definitive Ranking of Malt Drinks

I think it’s appropriate to assume that every Nigerian has drunk malt at least once in their lifetimes. Made from barley, hops and water, malt drinks are the sweet, non-alcoholic sibling to beers and stouts. They are low in sugars and notably less carbonated than sodas. 

You may not agree but I think malt drinks are amazing. They’re refreshing, revitalising and not full of nasty sugars or additives.

There are several varieties of the drink available for malt drinkers and armed robbers alike. Yes, even with my love for all things malt, I’m well aware that not all malt drinks are created equally. Here’s a definitive ranking of malt drinks as told by me (Denise):


7. Hi-Malt

Hi-Malt isn’t the most popular malt brand in the business. It’s one of those ‘need-to-know’ basis drinks. You can’t just stumble on a can of Hi-Malt.

Frankly speaking, I think this ‘need-to-know’ basis is particularly because only cultists and armed robbers drink this brand of malt.

Are you a shady business owner? Do you find yourself awake and active between the hours of midnight and 3am regularly? Are you called Sniper, Ace or Senior Man at least once a month? This is your drink, my friend. This is it.

 

6. Maltina

When I was younger — yes, I drank malt as a child — Maltina slapped pretty hard. It was rich and flavourful drink which didn’t leave a weird, bitter aftertaste like most malt brands. 

Somewhere along the line, something stopped adding up. I don’t know what changed during the transition from glass bottles to cans but honestly, Maltina isn’t the same anymore.

To me, it tastes watered down, doesn’t have the body I used to love and now, it has that weird aftertaste I loathe.

This one breaks my heart.

 

5. Malta Guinness

Malta Guinness became my go-to malt brand after Maltina took a turn for the worse.

This was also my family’s favourite malt brand — yes, drinking malt as a family is a thing. That was before we discovered Amstel Malt.

My favourite thing about Malta Guinness happens to be the fact that it doesn’t foam as much as the others do. It also does have that weird, bitter aftertaste and that explains why it’s so far down the list. It starts of pretty sweet but by the end, I’m clutching my throat at the bitterness. Not my favourite thing to do, really.

 

4. Amstel Malta

Amstel Malta is easily one of my favourite malt brands. Sometime last month, a Twitter user reported that she had seen some scary things in her can of Amstel Malta — a leaf or tea bag. Honestly, I’m not sure. I didn’t look too well, it creeped me out. Nevertheless, this is still a top tier malt brand for me. Why? Sentiment.

Amstel Malta reminds me of my Oma. I kid you not, this woman always had at least three cartons of Amstel Malta in her house and who else to feed it to besides her grandchildren? Sis was popping malt down my throat like no man’s business. 

Appears, Amstel Malta is an important part of my family.

 

3. Beta Malt

Like Hi-Malt, Beta Malt isn’t the most popular malt brand. However, this is actually one of the best malt brands in the business. 

It shocks me that not a lot of people know this brand. To be fair, I haven’t exactly seen any ads or campaigns by the brand so maybe that counts for the public’s lack of knowledge. 

Nevertheless, Beta Malt is one of the best malt brands in the Nigerian market. It’s rich, has an amazing flavour and doesn’t leave your mouth feeling like it’s three days old. 

I give them brownie points for the cute packaging too. The design has a rustic feel and the colours work for me.

 

2. Grand Malt

Simply put, I love Grand Malt. I think it’s one of the best Malt drinks out there and I have reasons. 

Firstly, it’s sweet but not overwhelmingly so. The sweetness of malt drinks is usually subtle but that’s not the case with Grand Malt. This drink is sweet but not in the alarming manner in which regular soda is. It’s just right.

Secondly, it has awesome texture. It’s not a light, passing sensation. The drink feels almost velvety.

Thirdly, I adore the packaging. That shade of blue is the most beautiful shade of blue I have come across. For malt drinks that are usually portrayed as “serious”, I love how Grand Malt was able to have fun with their packaging. 

 

1. Dubic Malt

Having to pick between Grand Malt and Dubic Malt for my favourite malt brand was nothing short of a struggle. This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life. Nevertheless, Dubic Malt takes the crown for me.

This brand is only 5 years old but it already makes the most refreshing malt drink in the country. That’s exactly why I love Dubic Malt; it’s refreshing! It has all the things I love about Grand Malt but it takes up and notch because for some strange reason, this drink is absolutely refreshing.

Dubic Malt is out here doing the Lord’s work. I stan. 

The Worst Tasks to Perform in a Nigerian Kitchen

I absolutely detest being in the kitchen. The only time I want to be in a kitchen is to get food, not cook it. The only time I appreciate being an adult is when I remember I don’t have to deal with chores. Those make me shudder in horror when I remember them and I’m pretty sure that is partly why I do not enjoy cooking or being in the kitchen.

Which awful memory shall I begin with? Is it my first pot of lumpy amala, or when my hands were on fire from slicing scotch bonnets for the first time?

Yeah, let’s not. But here is a definitive list of the worst tasks (ever) in a Nigerian kitchen- featuring childhood trauma.

 

7. Slicing Onions

This might seem minor, but slicing onions is a pet peeve of mine. Seriously, I do not enjoy involuntary tears, nor the persistent smell of onions lingering on my hand, hours after the meal it was used for has been digested. It’s annoying.

 

6. Picking Ewedu

This is a mind-numbing task that requires listening to music or having a stimulating conversation just so my brain doesn’t go comatose or something. Thankfully, it is a rare task at my house as we don’t eat ewedu that often.

 

5. Picking beans

Another mind-numbing task that is unfortunately necessary if you want to enjoy your plate of beans. You can skip it though if you don’t mind stones and other foreign objects in your food. I mean, eating rocks isn’t the worst thing ever.

 

4. Washing Pots

I think every Nigerian can relate to this. Washing pots is the bane of my existence. Especially the ones that were used to cook jollof rice, semo or amala. It’s quite annoying trying to scrape burnt food out of the bottom of a pot.

Thank goodness for non-stick pots, pans and hot-water right?

PS: You can use hot water and soap to soften the burnt, hard-to-remove parts after leaving the pot to soak. You’re welcome.

 

3. Peeling Beans

You thought picking beans was bad? Peeling it is much worse and the road to akara is paved with the arduous task of peeling beans. It’s hard, hard work and if you think I’m exaggerating, then you haven’t had the misfortune of peeling beans before. There’s this bean powder thing that is sold in stores now, that you just mix into a paste for akara or moi-moi but believe me, it doesn’t taste the same. Peeling beans is a necessary evil, especially if you cannot live without akara, like me.

 

2. Sieving Garri

Top five worst tasks ever. Like ever. It’s not done in the kitchen but technically for the kitchen. I don’t think there’s anything worse, well, except for number 1 below.

 

1. Slicing Peppers

One of the most traumatic experiences in my life was when I used my bare hands to slice scotch bonnets.

Nobody warned me.

Nobody told me to wash my hands with soap and water, not just rinse it off.

Needless to say, I spent hours in agony, hands on fire. Red oil, engine oil, I tried it all. Nothing worked. It scarred me for life, and till now, there’s a little fear every time I’m handling peppers.. Never going through that again.

 

What are the worst tasks in the kitchen for you? Share with us!

DIY Hacks From the Kitchen

Unless you’ve been living on a mountain in Tibet for the last couple of weeks, you should have come across at least one video of household appliances being fixed with noodles.

Yeah, that’s right. Noodles!

As it turns out, noodles come in pretty handy for fixing holes and cracks in a number of items including sinks, tables and believe it or not, cars! I find it amazing that such a common food item could be used in so many versatile ways. Just read this Reddit thread if you don’t believe me.

My love for fixes and DIY prompted me to take a deeper look into the possibility of using common food items for repairs around the house. Now, these repairs may not be as grand as the ones by Xiubandrng — our noodle guy — however, they will change your dynamic when going about common household repairs such as stain removals and unclogging sinks.

You’ll be amazed what your pantry has in store for you. Just take a look:

Coca-Cola

A sweet carbonated beverage which provides nothing but satisfaction, Coca-Cola is an amazing tool for all manner of household fixes.

Coke, for one, is an excellent cleaning agent. It can be used to remove a number of stains including oil, rust and grease.

To use Coke to remove oil, rust or grease, soak or pour Coke over stained item and let sit for at least 30 minutes — greasier stains like oil may require longer periods of time to breakdown. The Citric Acid in Coke helps break down stains on dozens of materials including marble and concrete. Once soaked for a period of time, rinse the item off with soap and water and you’re good to go.

Milk

A dietary staple home and abroad, milk does a lot more than provide necessary vitamins and minerals.

Milk can be used for a plethora of household fixes including stain removals, refreshing scuffed shoes and fixing broken China!

Milk can be also be used for a number of cosmetic hacks — which I may write about in another article *winks*.

To remove stains — particularly ink — soak stained material in milk overnight and wash accordingly. To add a little extra power, squeeze a bit of lime into the milk while soaking.

Fixing broken China is requires you arranging the broken pieces of china in a pot and soaking them in milk. Boil the milk over low heat for at least an hour. The China should be good as new once you’re through.

Baking Soda

For any individual looking for quick and cost effective repairs and hacks, baking soda may as well be the holy grail you’ve been searching for. Baking soda is an effective cleaner and odour combatant. It can remove almost every stain in the book! Common household items such as sponges and upholstery can be cleaned and deodorised by sprinkling baking soda on them.

Car batteries, garage floors and other high grime/oil areas can be effectively cleaned with the substance. Asides cleaning, baking soda can be used to put out grease fires when cooking.

Vinegar

Vinegar is an effective, multifaceted and inexpensive household item. The substance can be used for a wide array of DIY/household fixes including cleaning drains — particularly for drainages — neutralising odours and cleaning windows.

White vinegar is especially effective at cleaning things and drainages.

Lime

A nutritional powerhouse as well as cocktail necessity, lime is excellent for common household repairs and DIY. Lime can be used for several fixes including preserving fresh flowers, deodorising strong scents such as seafood and microwaves. Just squeeze a bit of lime juice on stinky counters and watch that smell become history