Posts tagged nigerian food
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!

Endless Seafood at Shark Express
 

NOSA: Finding Shark Express might be a bit of a challenge (it was for us) because we didn’t see any signage and their instagram isn’t very clear on the location. That said, Eat.Drink.Lagos is for the people and we went around looking stupid before finding out it’s in the same space as Tilt Terrace. 

You’re welcome.

FOLLY: Funny cause Nosa said we should go in the direction of Tilt Terrace at first and I refused because “that’s another restaurant”.

NOSA: If you love seafood, the menu at Shark Express is as close to seafood heaven you’ll get. I can’t speak on how it all tastes, but on paper, it’s teeming with all sorts of sea pork.

FOLLY: A few Instagram posts had excited me.

NOSA: Between Folly and I, we split the Seafood Platter and the Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp. 

FOLLY: I mean we tried to get a couple other things but we were promptly informed by our waiter that a lot of items were not available. I wasn’t satisfied with the service we received because we weren’t handed menus for about 5 minutes after our arrival because the waiter was on the phone. There were other wait staff around, but I think because we sat in the SharkHouse section, only that one guy could attend to us.

Seafood Platter

Seafood Platter

The food itself, also took a concerning amount of time to arrive. I could crack jokes about them going to catch the fish but I don’t think that’s it. I believe that the chef (who is only one person with no additional kitchen staff) was making each item on the platter one at a time and hence it took him over 40 minutes to finish up the 6 items.

NOSA: I wasn’t a big fan of Seafood Platter, or the overall wait time, either. This is definitely the last straw between crab and I also. Of all the animals of the sea, crabs are the biggest scam. Ridiculously expensive despite offering little. A bit like the platter in that regard, actually. There isn’t much to like about the platter. Maybe the fries get a pass, but I wasn’t a fan of anything else. 

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FOLLY: On the platter, I liked the corn the most and the prawns were a close second. The crab required too much effort and they didn’t give us the relevant equipment so I had a a couple crabs legs then gave up. The platter had a traditional flavour profile. It tasted like a Nigerian soup - think umami, salty, sour, smoky, spicy, Iru etc. Just imagine if you steeped sea food in the liquid from Efo Riro, Afang etc.

This is not a bad thing, just the first time I’d seen it done, as most restaurants in Lagos usually take the garlic, lemon, butter approach to seafood.

FOLLY: For the Jamaican rice and Jerk prawns. I don’t know what about the rice made it Jamaican inspired rice aside that it was brown (Jamaican rice and peas is often brown because of the use of brown rice or the addition of the spices)

Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp

Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp

NOSA: Nothing really stands out in the Jamaican rice. It’s just a lot of seasoning fighting for space in your mouth. 

FOLLY: It was most definitely well seasoned but without rhyme or reason.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Overall, it’s passable but not for me. Actually, I’m being honest I’d never go back here or recommend it to others.

NOSA: Yeah, I’ll probably never go back but I can see how some people might like it.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Seafood Platter - N10000

Jamaican Rice and Jerk Prawns - N5000

 

PARKING

Yes, mall parking available. Except it’s a Friday night then you might struggle .

Top 5 Offences Ever Committed Against Nigerian Food

When I first heard about agbalumo juice, my first thought was ‘How do you make juice out of agbalumo?’

For the uninitiated Agbalumo is also known as Udara, African Star Apple, or Alasa depending on where you call home

I’m a big fan of agbalumo though so it made sense to me. What’s the worst that could happen? You maybe end up with a sort of sweet and sour juice or smoothie? Anyway, it’s not the worst thing that has been done with or to Nigerian food. 

It did get me thinking though; what weird things are people doing with food in Nigeria that might actually not be that bad?

I once came across the Instagram page of a young woman who is dedicated to experimenting with Nigerian food and honestly, while some of the experiments are a little eyebrow-raising, I think that they’re mostly cool stuff I would not mind trying. 

For example, her zobo experiments; she basically infuses zobo (hibiscus) leaves into things like ogi, garri, cake, milkshakes. She’s also experimented with agbalumo, infusing it into shakes and chocolate, making it into juice and other fun stuff.

Hans and Rene also have an Agbalumo sorbet and it’s something I would not mind having for lunch, breakfast, and dinner because I’m obsessed with agbalumo okay?

While food experiments can be fun and yield interesting results,  that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about all the disrespectful things that have been done to and with Nigerian food and all I have to say is WHY? WHY? 

I have seen and heard some truly terrible things in this world like people eating bread with okro or rice with ewedu but these are some of the worst offences committed against Nigerian food. 

There are some food fads that I find mildly amusing like Dooney’s Kitchen Orange Eba and the ‘EBBAGE’ experiments she did back in 2015. Basically, it was about mixing vegetables in garri to make a healthier version of Eba. The orange eba was achieved by making it with yellow garri in hot water already containing red scotch bonnet.

It was cute, but not something I would particularly like to try.

And then there was the “Yam flour roulette”, which was literally Amala made into a roll. 

Okay I lied, that was annoying as well, because what is this obsession with gentrifying Nigerian foods? You hear things like: bean fritters which is supposed to be an English name for Akara. I mean, it’s different when a Nigerian staple actually has a name in English: for example, Kilishi. Kilishi is literally beef jerky, no problems there. I’ll still call it kilishi though.

It annoys me when people look for English names that don’t accurately describe Nigerian foods or capture the very essence of their glory. But this doesn’t even compare to the one I came across recently.

It has to be (admittedly an April fool’s joke) the Jollof doughnut by Krispy Kreme Nigeria. I felt all our ancestors shaking with fury at the travesty. 

Another example was the horrifying gentrification of dodo; basically, fried PLANTAIN was served on the same plate as raspberries and blueberries; like, it was being served with the fruit. The absolute horror. 

We all love puff- puff right? RIGHT? It’s pretty much a staple in any self-respecting plate of small chops and people have even tried adding ata rodo (scotch bonnet) to the batter (it works for me, I’m Yoruba). What we will not accept, however, is ‘puff-puff that went abroad’. This pastry store on twitter tried it when they served up puff-puff drizzled with chocolates along with giant pieces of Oreo cookies on it. I personally am a big fan of chocolates, so that part, I didn't mind but why Oreos? WHY? It would have been forgivable if the cookies had been crumbled into some type of cookie dust over the puff-puff because those huge pieces were not working. Please, dear, we want the puff-puff that studied in Mushin, thanks.

Remember Jamie Oliver’s Jollof recipe that sparked the hilarious #Jollofgate hashtag on Twitter in 2014? No? Okay, let me refresh your memory. In October 2014, the English chef posted his recipe of ‘Nigerian Jollof’ on the internet and West African twitter went ape on him. I completely understand why. The recipe included  lemon wedges and baking the rice and let’s just say: ovens and lemons have no place in the making of jollof rice. That reminds me of another Jollof rice recipe I came across recently that made me wonder why these people are so obssesed with baking rice. They called this one ‘Joll Off Rice’ which in their defense, is not the same thing as Jollof rice.

I think these people just need to leave Jollof rice alone and stop trying to gentrify our foods. What food experiments have you come across that you found interesting

Danfo Bistro Serves an Interesting Take on Nigerian Food
 
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FOLLY: Danfo Bistro was THE opening of Nov/Dec 2018. I would have thought it’ll be Maison Kayser but the quirkiness of Danfo Bistro and the glowing reviews probably drove people there in hordes.

NOSA: Doesn’t help that Maison serves “hot dog” in their English breakfast, but we’ll get to that in due time.

FOLLY: The Instagram friendliness of Danfo Bistro probably helped too.

NOSA: Oh yes, definitely. The space is very beautiful. Although I’m not a big fan of restaurants having two entrances, but I think I can let it slide this one time. Danfo Bistro had been under construction for quite a while now. Someone incorrectly told me it was Casper & Gambini, or some other Lebanese-owned restaurant, moving into the space. I forget which.

I definitely wasn’t expecting something new.

FOLLY: It’s always a good sign when we get to a restaurant and have to restrain ourselves from ordering everything on the menu.

NOSA: The menu is actually pretty interesting. From the name, you probably think Danfo Bistro is a “Nigerian” restaurant, but it isn’t. There are one or two local staples on there, but it’s largely Nigerian-inspired. Inspired in the sense that they make use of Nigerian elements in plates that are, by and large, not Nigerian per se.

FOLLY: We managed to restrain ourselves to three starters which were

  • Suya Onion Rings

  • Yam Con Carne

  • Danfo Wings

and with those we embarked on our Danfo (Bistro) ride

NOSA: Before we go further into this, I want to point out how lame it is that Ikoyi finally gets a good restaurant when I move out. Every single part of me wanted this place to be utter nonsense, but nope, no luck for me.

FOLLY: We were only going to get the first two appetizers, but after we placed our order, our waiter upsold by simply saying “no wings?”. It felt like he was disappointed in our order, that we came to their establishment and didn’t even order wings so I quickly told him “Yes please, which would you recommend?” and he suggested the Danfo Wings.

NOSA: Quality “salesman”. Lucky for him, the wings were actually good. There was a certain plantain-y thing to the dipping sauce. It’s hard to explain. If you order it, it’ll make sense.

Danfo WIngs

Danfo WIngs

Suya Onion Rings

Suya Onion Rings

FOLLY: The Suya Onion Rings were excellent. As you can probably tell from the picture the onions rings were extra crispy and we loved them. The heat of the oil was also perfect as there was absolutely no sogginess whatsoever.

NOSA: The onion rings were so well done. Remember the thing I said about taking Nigerian elements and putting them in non-Nigerian plates? Yeah, theres are the perfect example of that. They’re a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. Spicy in the same way suya is. It’s a kick but it’s not a lingering kick.

FOLLY: The spiciness of the suya dust on the exterior was perfectly balanced by the sweet yellow onion.

NOSA: If I had to pick one item I’d recommend to anyone, I’d go with this. These were A1 top quality onion rings.

FOLLY: I’m not an onion ring aficionado like Nosa is, but honestly but these were the best onion rings I’ve ever had.

Suya Onion Rings

Suya Onion Rings

Yam Con Carne

Yam Con Carne

FOLLY: Next, the Yam Con Carne was really special too. But first, who else first discovered “Chilli Con Carne” as a meal from The Sims. I first heard of it as a thing via the game and even then didn’t know what it was actually comprised of until many years later. The Yam Con Carne is Danfo Bistro take on Chilli with meat poured over yam crisps.

As they say on Twitter, it’s basically Yam and Corned Beef that went to Harvard.

NOSA: Chef Cristian will probably fight me for this, but I think the chilli on this is better than the one at La Taverna. Danfo Bistro makes a spicier version and like a true Nigerian, I prefer it.

Yam Con Carne

Yam Con Carne

Sloppy Friday Burger

Sloppy Friday Burger

FOLLY: If I was the Yam Con Carne’s professor at Harvard, it definitely graduated summa cum laude.

NOSA: I haven’t mentioned anything on the yam, but just know it’s great because yam is great and yam > plantain. The portion should be larger and it should be a main. That’s my very unbiased take on it.

Speaking of plantain, the Danfo Bistro has a borderline unhealthy relationship with plantain. There’s a pasta dish with bloody plantain in it and a couple of the burgers had it too. Like the one Folly ordered.

FOLLY: For my main, I went with the Sloppy Friday Burger. It was supposed to be suya minced meat in burger with plantain.

NOSA: Basically a Sloppy Joe burger.

Sloppy Friday Burger

Sloppy Friday Burger

FOLLY: I was slightly disappointed because the minced meat tasted very regular and the addition of the soft plantain (even though it was stated in the menu) was a tad confusing to my taste buds.

NOSA: Yeah, this one felt like one experiment too far.

FOLLY: This was the only thing I didn’t particularly like about my Danfo experience but it doesn’t take away from everything else which was fantastic.

Cross section

Cross section

Ewa Agoyin Sandwich

Ewa Agoyin Sandwich

NOSA: For my main, I went with the Ewa Agoyin Sandwich because beans is my fave. When I was in JSS1, bullies ate all my food and left me with beans and that’s how we find ourselves here. Thank you, Table 9 seniors!

The Ewa Agayin is the only proper Nigerian thing on the menu. Oh, and the Akara too.

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NOSA: The Agege bread base felt a bit “stale”. Like, it wasn’t fresh off the head of a street hawker (this sentence reads very terribly in hindsight). But maybe I shouldn’t have expected it to. Either way, the beans was great. Take it from beans connoisseur like myself.


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Kitchen Butterfly sprung to mind when I saw the menu. We should invite her to dinner here because she’d absolutely love it. Yeah, I’d definitely revisit.

FOLLY: I didn’t see a desert menu which was odd. I would loved to have seen some interesting takes on Nigerian dessert by Danfo Bistro

NOSA: Yeah, lots of things to be done with puff puff.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Yam Con Carne - N3750

Danfo Wings - N3000

Suya Onion Rings - N2500

Sloppy Friday Burger - N4500

Ewa Agoyin Sandwich - N2500

 

 

PARKING

Yes, lots of parking is available off street in their lot. 

Meet the Vendors: What's on the Menu for Jollof and Other Things

We are now just over three weeks away from Jollof Festival: Jollof and Other Things at Muri Okunola Park. We previously shared what to expect from this year's edition of the event, and how it is stepping things up even further from the inaugural event in Jaekel House.

 

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This year's festival will have the finest culinary talent on site. The theme encourages creativity with all kinds of Nigerian food, and the vendors are taking it on with gusto. The first batch of announced vendors includes established favourites like Mo's Jollof, Delicioso Mobile Chefs and Limehouse Cocktails, to new gems like Shaun's Pops, WeHeartBonBon and The Cocktail Factory.

If you were at JOLLOF last year, you know you can  expect some delicious and creative takes on Nigeria's dish. It wouldn't be JOLLOF, if you didn't.  Captain Licious is combining the best of multiple worlds - they have seafood jollof, 'chikwobi' and Ofada fried rice on the menu. Mo's Jollof will be serving scrumptious authentic firewood jollof rice, with various options of smoke-stewed turkey and plantain to go with it. Both Mo's Jollof and Buka2Go have freshly made amala with ewedu and gbegiri on the menu- don't miss it. Buka2Go is also expanding the scope with their Senegalese jollof and Ofada jollof rice at very affordable costs. Ette's Barbecue is flipping the script with jollof abacha, coconut jollof with shredded goat and more.

For Nigerian barbecue and grills, Nasco Grills and Delicioso Mobile Chefs have you covered.  From ribs to gizdodo sticks to the alluring sounding 'Ebute Metta Sliders', all your meaty desires will be met. Delicioso is back with their smoky, tasty asun, BBQ guinea fowl and bush meat, with a wide variety of affordable sides to choose from. Jollof and Other Things will also have some flavours from the rest of the world- Sub Delight will offer brown rice and deli wraps, while The Burgundy Stove will be serving New Orleans fish strips and Korean street chicken.

Need something to cool you down after all that flavour-filled fieriness? There are several vendors who will have alcoholic and non alcoholic chilled drinks available. Shaun's Pops has scrumptious, homemade, preservative-free passionfruit, chocolate hazelnut and mojito popsicles. The Slush Queen will be on deck with cocktails- the 'Jollof Digester' sounds like a treat- and icy treats for kids. Big Fish Cocktails has the Amarula Martini while The Cocktail Factory  will have their gorgeous strawberry daiquiri on offer, as well as their 'Zoborita' and 'Orijinality' original creations. Bubbletii will be serving their unique, juice ball-filled iced tea drinks.

Support smaller, homegrown businesses with our artisan vendors who will provide goodies to take home. Oh So Nutrition has yummy cookies, pressed juice and granola all made with Nigerian materials. The Juice Lady has tasty, healthy bottled juices such as the 'Earth & Spice" and "Beetle Juice" drinks, starting at N500. Namii will be selling their healthy, modern tigernut (Kunun Aya) based snacks and beverages.

Hungry for something sweet? From cotton candy and banana bread to soft serve and milkshakes, there are many confectioners on site to suit your sugary needs. WeHeartBonbon has a variety of gorgeous fruit and cheese cakes and bread, starting at just N250. Victoria Treats will put smiles on everyone's faces with their marshmallows, waffles and candyfloss. Hans and Renee are back with their acclaimed Naija inspired treats, Moo Diary has a variety of alcoholic and non alcoholic milkshakes and 308 Patisserie hass a range of envelope pushing desserts- chin-chin apple crumble, zobo waffles and more.

More vendors will be announced in the coming weeks, with almost every type of Nigerian inspired-dish imaginable across their menus. Follow EatDrinkFestival on social media to get instant updates on vendors, ticketing and all other information Jollof related.