Shouting out from the roof tops, I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaack to blogging. With heartfelt gratitude to those who checked up on me via emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and for some who had my number who called or texted. Thank you very very very much. I sincerely apologise for being away for this long. As I announced months ago, the blog was under re-design and this meant that I wasn’t allowed into the backend to add anything. I realised I bit off more than I could chew, and wanted so many amazing functionalities for the new site – (enter Type A personality), and this has meant a job of weeks has taken months, plus the dangers of outsourcing. What I should have done was just to continue blogging, and not taken such a long hiatus. We live and learn don’t we, I promise it won’t happen again. I know better now, and I apologise again for the long hiatus. A friend said to me last week, Dunni, just continue blogging. 2014 will not end without your new site being up, go back to blogging, and back I am. 3 new recipes a week, onward and upwards. When this is all done, I would tell you guys all about how stressful it is to outsource your IT job to somewhere thousands of miles away with a 5 hour time difference. Anyways, there would be other times to talk about that, today it is all about food, food, food and catching up. How have you guys been? The beauty of this hiatus is that, I now have sooooooooooooo many amazing recipes to share. Like A LOT. I have been cooking, taking shots (oh, I have gotten soon much better during this break) and doing more cooking, and coming up with amazeballs twists to traditional classics, one of which is Ewedu Asepo.
I know you must be thinking whaaaaaaat!!!! Yes, you read correctly, Ewedu Asepo. This is simply a one pot dish. Rather than having to cook stew separately, Ewedu separately (my recipe HERE), how about just cook together in one pot. Some of you must think, ehn, so? Oh, this is not just your basic Ewedu and stew, the stew base is the same as my grandmother’s fabulous Scented Efo Riro (recipe HERE), which has been so successful on this blog. I also introduced something totally off base, something not expected in Yoruba cuisine and you would never think would work in Ewedu. What is that thing you may be wondering? One of my favourite Nigerian ingredients – Uziza leaves. I cooked this in my friend Funmi’s house and she kept saying OMG, OMG, OMG, Dunniiiiiiii this is amazing, the Uziza just takes it to a whole new level, you wouldn’t expect it at all. BOOM!!!!!!!!!. You guys know I just can’t introduce a new dish and make it bleh!!!!! Ewedu has always been a dish that relied on the stew to give it flavour. With this dish, Ewedu rises up to the challenge of Uziza. The addition of Uziza is a flavour enhancer. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it would work. Ewedu and Uziza, but I was pleasantly surprised.
In my Buka Ewedu recipe (HERE), I add a few pieces okro to the Ewedu before blending. When I made this dish the first time, Funmi and I were gisting and I wasn’t concentrating on how much okro I was adding to blend the Ewedu. When the soup was done, I thought hmmmmmn, I was expecting a smother consistency. I didn’t want it to look like Ila Asepo at all. Funmi said Dunni, forget the look, this is way too nice. I wasn’t convinced. When I imagine a new dish in my head, and don’t get the look I want, I am not satisfied. I imagined the dish to look like Ewedu cooked separately and mixed with stew. To rectify this, I decided to call the first batch, Part 1 – where you can add as much okro as you can, if you enjoy okro, especially for you guys from the Eastern part of Nigeria, and for my South West folks – Part 2, to really give it the look of Ewedu, you only add a few pieces of okro when blending the Ewedu. Whichever version you choose, the taste is the same. I repeat, Uziza does something to Ewedu, like you won’t believe. It takes your Ewedu from the same taste you have known all your life to something better times 100.
This week is Cultural Food Fusion Week on Dooney’s Kitchen, and you would notice that in the next 2 recipes posted tomorrow and Friday. Let’s Cook…….
You will need
2 – 3 bunches of Ewedu – you really need that many, otherwise the ewedu would be swallowed up by the stew base
a handful of Okro – or less, if you are making Part 2
Tatashe – red bell pepper
Ata Rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
Iru – fermented locust beans
Uziza leaves – a few leaves. about 10 or under depending on the quantity of Ewedu you are working with
How To – Part 1
1. Pick the Ewedu leaves and add to a blender or mini chopper bowl. Slice the tips and heads off the okro and add to the bowl.
2. Give it a rough blend and set aside
3. Now for the stew base. You would need already blended and reduced pepper mix, so you can start frying immediately in hot palm oil
4. Rinse the Iru and add to the pot to fry. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: you add the Iru this early to infuse flavour into the pepper. Allow it to fry and dilute the pepper a little with beef stock.
5. Add the assorted meats, ground crayfish and let it fry some more, till the pepper gets thick.
6. Then you add a generous amount of beef stock to dilute and lower the heat, to allow the flavours combine. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: you add a generous amount of beef stock, to allow for some fluidity for the Ewedu and okro mix. This isn’t Efo riro (recipe HERE).
Have you tried to mix Ewedu with really thick stew before? You end up with a sticky globby mess that isn’t appetising. Dooney’s Kitchen tip: i feel I must also warn that the amount of beef stock you add should be commensurate with the volume of of the Ewedu and Okro mix, because if you add too much beef stock, by the time you add the Ewedu and okro mix to the pepper base, you end up with a watery soup, with very low viscosity. Funmi called my attention to that, and I had to take out some of the stew base. Allow this pepper base to reduce on low heat, and you would notice when you taste at interval,s that it is very very very delicious. If you have to re-season, please do, but your beef stock should do the trick.
7. Once you are satisfied with the flavour of the pepper base, then add the ewedu and okro mix, give it a stir with the heat lowered, then add the chopped Uziza. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: You don’t need to cook for much longer once the Ewedu goes in, because you don’t want it changing colour. The addition of Uziza should come in about 1 – 2 minutes after you add the Ewedu and Okro mix, to allow its flavour to permeate the contents of the pot. Using a cooking spoon, make vigorous circular/whisking motions, to increase the viscosity and stickiness of the Ewedu and Okro. As you can imagine, I needed two hands for this, so no pictures. I hope you get the drift.
……………and that’s your Ewedu Asepo Part 1. Someone asked on Instagram if the viscosity is still intact – yes it is. The addition of the okro, plus not cooking for too long keeps the “draw” intact.
I really don’t know know why I was upset at the visual. It looks fantastic. Well, I didn’t agree until I got home and looked at the pictures. I am very very very proud of this dish. Like Veeeeeeeeery.
Now, to Part 2
1. The same process, but this time, you use less Okro, so the Ewedu mix, looks like the traditional version, we all know and love. See below. I would like to point out that this mix is slightly dark brown and that’s just because my Ewedu had started to go darker after days in the fridge, and I wasn’t prepared to go back to the shops to pick fresh ones, which resulted in this greenish-brown colour. If you use fresh Ewedu, you shouldn’t have that problem
2. As with Part 1 too, you start with cooking your rich pepper base
3. Then you add the Ewedu
4. Allow it to cook in the pepper base, and remember to use your spoon in a whipping motion to increase viscosity.
5. For the grand finale, add chopped Uziza and okro rings.
…………and that’s your Part 2. Notice how it looks like the traditional Ewedu mixed with stew? This is sooooooo much better.
………..and that’s your one pot Ewedu Asepo. Which is your favourite?
It is back to blogging people………………….compulsory hiatus OVER!!!!!!!!