To a lot of people, especially Yoruba people, Ewedu is this simple vegetable that you prepare as an addendum to be eaten with stew. So its only function is to be the sticky addition to stew that you eat with Amala or Eba (garri). Not me. My Ewedu like a lot of things I prepare is a little, okay a lot OTT.
So if you’ve just been plucking Ewedu, plonking it in hot water for a few minutes and serving it with stew, let me show you something different. When you are done making Ewedu my way, you are going to love it so much you will be tempted to eat it without stew.
So you’ll need:
Ewedu leaves and Okro – ratio 70 – 30%
3 tablespoons of Iru – fermented locust beans
Kaun – potash cubes
2 tablespoons of Ground Egusi
1/4 cup of Ground Crayfish
1/4 cup of Eja Sawa – hard dried smoked fish. You can use any smoked fish you can find or large smoked Prawns. There is a picture on the Ingredientspaedia page HERE
Seasoning cube – Knorr chicken cube preferred
Are you thinking WHAT!!!! Dunni this is Ewedu, simple and quick Ewedu. Yes, you read all that correctly, that is how I make my Ewedu. Nothing simple about it, but it is quick I assure you
So here we go:
1. Get a bunch of Ewedu leaves. usually it is sold in a bunch so i’m afraid I don’t have a measurement guide for Ewedu. Anyway, carefully pick the leaves of the thin stalks. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #1: Unlike other vegetables where you pick the leaves with the stalk and set aside the thick branch, with Ewedu you only pick the leaves. So, pick your leaves and rinse thoroughly
2. Rinse the Eja Sawa and soak in hot water to soften it. Chop off the okro tip and roughly chop the rest of it, dissolve the Egusi in a little water to form a thick paste, rinse the iru and set aside. Also roughly blend the crayfish and set aside
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #2: Traditionally Ewedu is made by adding the leaves whole in hot water and when it is boiling, it is pulverised with a short broom with hard bristles called “ijabe”. This is 2013 people, use a blender. You must be wondering, why okro? I picked up this useful tip from Aunty Joke. Ewedu can be tricky. Sometimes you just get it wrong and it refuses to be sticky and elastic, and you are left with this flat green concoction that looks like the green juice people on diets have for breakfast. Very, very disheartening. So Aunty Joke said Dunni my dear, use okro, not only are you guaranteed of the result it also gives the Ewedu more body and volume. So, okro it is.
3. Ewedu is not a fine textured soup. Remember the “ijabe” was used in the past which gave it a rough appearance, so blend the okro first then add the ewedu leaves and roughly blend till the leaves are in shredded bits. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #3: If you add both ingredients together, in the time it will take to blend the okro smoothly, the ewedu leaves would have been totally pulverised.
4. You are left with this thick glob of green veggies, set it aside. Now I can introduce measurements. So, for every 500ml (half a blender jug) of blended ewedu and okro use 1/2 a cup (125ml) of water. Crush one thick chunk of Kaun into the pot add water and turn on the heat till the Kaun totally dissolves and the water is bubbling. Kaun is important to keep the Ewedu sticky. If you don’t have kaun, don’t despair the okro would do the trick Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #4: You can use the water you soaked the smoked fish in.
5. Add the mixture in the pan and let this cook for 3 minutes on high heat. In about 2 minutes you will begin to see bubbles form. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #5: Make sure you have a deep enough saucepan so it doesn’t boil over. Once it starts to bubble add the Egusi, smoked fish and Iru and sit vigorously, you will notice the egusi forming little lumps about the size of drops of water. Let this cook for another 2 – 3 minutes and turn down the heat to very low.
6. Add the crayfish and sprinkle in 1 seasoning cube stir and let this sit on the cooker on low heat till they dissolve. This should take 1 minute or less than two. You can use salt instead of a seasoning cube, I just prefer using a seasoning cube
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip #6: Ewedu and okro cook very fast so 6 – 8 minutes should do for 500ml. When over cooked the colour changes from a deep lovely green to a yucky slimy brown. You don’t want that.
So, that’s my Ewedu reloaded.
Try it out and you’ll never go back to making Ewedu plainly again. If you want the full Buka experience, serve Ewedu with Buka Stew (recipe – HERE) and Hot fluffly Amala.
The next picture shows a bowl of “plain okro” prepared using this recipe, so if you don’t have access to Ewedu and you want to prepare plain Okro because you don’t have the time or the resources to go full on Okro Soup (recipe – HERE) or Ila Asepo you can use this recipe, simply take out the Egusi. I hope that helps.