There is a recipe for Gbegiri on the blog, quite an old recipe, but I haven’t cooked this dish in what feels like forever now, well if you read that post, you must know how much I whined about the process. I have eaten Gbegiri in Funmi’s house quite a number of times, and it always amazes me how often it shows up on her menu list. Bros is a very lucky man, I swear. Anyways, I have an interesting twist to Gbegiri but you see my lazy ass was not in the mood to go through the process, besides I wanted to see it cooked by someone who cooks it more often than I do. When I mentioned my twist to Funmi she said oh wow, okay then, let’s pick a date. I didn’t want to rely totally on her to make it from scratch so I offered to bring the sieved beans paste. Oh, I have a very very very handy tip to share that cuts the prep time in more than half. You would be mightily pleased.
Of course Buka Stew is the 2nd of the Abula Trilogy and Funmi does do a very mean Buka Stew. I have this fetish or should I say habit of finding out how other women cook their stew. If I like it, I ask how you made it. One of Big Oladunni’s famous words when it gets to the taste of stew – “it all depends on the pepper mix”. Method is the same, it is the pepper mix. So, I said today, let me see what the ratio of the mix is. You know how I always advocate for red onions (purple onions), I am still team red onions, but last night I got to notice how much difference your choice of onions can make to the overall taste of the stew. Her tomato – tatashe – ata rodo mixture is similar to mine, but what made a world of difference was the white onions. I thought hmmmmmmmn, no waaaaaaaay. The volume too of course counts for something, but it was surprising the lovely effect it had. If you had told me the difference what the type of onions, I would have gone huh? The cooking method, same-ish as mine, but it was all down to the pepper mix. So, if you want a different taste from your usual Buak Stew, try white onions next time. I sure will. Funmi and I have decided her recipe isn’t going beyond us. Errrrrrrr, sorry. Let her keep that one to be tantalising Bros, and save for her girls when they come of age. I share a lot on the blog, but I also have some things that will never be cooked by anyone else but me. As a friend of mine Ekwitosi says, they are “vault recipes”. Truly signature dishes, that are reserved only for special palates and will be passed down. We women are allowed to have our secret weapons. *Wink*, *Wink*. Food is a very powerful tool, if you know how to use it well. Best believe……..Teeeeeheeee.
Twice, or wait 3 times this Gbegiri did not happen. I already had the beans prepped and ready to go. First visitors from Nigeria took over her time, then I fell ill housing all the nasties – there is a bug going around now, then it was her little girl. We are all fine now, visitors have returned back home, last night was the night for Gbegiri. I also picked up another handy tip which Funmi said is her mum’s tip. Let’s cook.
You will need
Tatashe – red bell pepper or the long red pepper
Ata rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
Crayfish – optional and make sure you blend it with the pepper
Beef Stock – optional if you have some
1. Peel the skin of the beans. Oh please don’t do this by hand. Peel your beans in a blender (method HERE) or a food processor (method HERE). Welcome to 2014 Nigerian Cooking. We too sexy to slave in the kitchen. Teeeheeeee.
2. Now, I would have told you to put this in a pot unto the stove with enough water. Funmi’s Mum’s Tip: boil the beans with Iru. When she told me my head spun. Wowzwer!!!! that is a genius idea. Thanks to my friend Ade, who suggested a Pressure Pot. OMG, whyyyyyyyyyyyy in the world didn’t that occur to me. OF COURSE a pressure cooker would do the trick. I did it twice to jaw dropping results. Add enough water to the peeled beans in a pressure pot, place on the heat and simply walk away. Give it 30 – 45mins or less depending on the quantity of peeled beans. When the pot has stopped whistling, open it and marvel at how all your work has been done for you. You are basically going to be staring at semi smooth pureed beans. See picture below.
Yup, that was straight from the pressure pot. ZERO effort. My kind of cooking. I mean knowing especially how tedious Gbegiri is.
3. Proceed to sieving the beans. Another tip is to blend everything in a blender, but somehow I drifted to sieving it instead.
I started with a colander for the first sieve – that’s just my OCD talking
then I proceeded to a finer sieve to truly get it all out
4. Second batch of sieving
you can see a much smoother paste collecting at the bottom of the bowl
sieve out as much as you can and then use hot water to draw out more of the bean puree, and dilute it a little. You don’t want a globby Gbegiri. The flavour of the Iru should be well evident in your bean paste by now.
5. Blend the pepper till very smooth. This is essential because Gbegiri is a creamy smooth soup.
6. Heat up Palm oil in a pot, add chopped onions and let it fry
7. Add the blended pepper and beef stock straight into the pot and let it fry until it thickens
8. Add the bean paste. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: If the beans have been left to sit for some time while you got along with other things, chances are that it would have thickened, especially if you live in temperate regions. Don’t fret, just add hot water till it is light and fluid again. Very essential that your bean puree is not thick. Once you have well fried pepper, with enough oil, add the bean puree and give it a good stir.
9. At this point, it is just a waiting game. At first you will see patches like it is above, and with time, the bean puree is well incorporated with the fried pepper it begins to take on a very smooth consistency, and the orange colour starts to develop.
it is still quite watery at this stage, not close to being ready. Taste for salt and season and adjust accordingly if needed
10. Stir at intervals and let it continue cooking, you will start to notice that the soup is smoother and the orange seems to be fading into a mustard/custard shade of yellow. Yes cooks, you are getting there.
11. Allow it to boil some colour, the colour is even fainter, it is looking yellowish now.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: you may begin to see some oily patches float on top. Nope, that is not allowed stir it back in.
Gbegiri once it gets on the heat is not a tedious soup. You really don’t have to be there. Like many creamy soups, it cooks itself. Just remember to check up on it, and don’t let it burn. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: usually by this stage, I would advice that you lower the heat and let it thicken. Gbegiri is not peppersoup, neither is it Egusi Ijebu (recipe HERE), it is somewhere in between, and you the cook have to find that balance.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: on further cooking, you know you are basically almost done when you notice a pool of some sort beginning to form in the centre of the pot. If you are very proficient in cooking creamy soups, this is usually your signal that the soup is thick enough, because the remaining water content that is left separates from the soup and pools in the centre.
…………….and you’re done. The shocking yellow colour of Gbegiri is its signature. Scooping with a ladle will tell you, you got the consistency right. Also, the volume is a good hint. We started with bean puree more than double this size, not taking into account the fresh blended pepper, and see what we ended up with. Funmi said at the beginning, Dunni I think this bean puree is too much, I told her, let us use the entire lot, because this soup is going to reduce with time, and reduce it did. Remember to give it a final taste before serving
Of course to complete it, the bona-fide popular Ibadan dish called Abula. My contribution to dinner, apart from the beans? I finished off the Amala. You know where you take the pot off the heat, place between your feet, and start to work the amala, with the wooden stick until it is light and fluffy, yes that one. I will bring my hand mixer with me next time. Oh you didn’t know you could make Amala light and fluffy with a hand mixer. Click HERE and be inspired to join the 2014 Nigerian Cooking revolution.
Did I mention that Bros is a very lucky man? That was his dinner.
Guess what’s in my packed Lunch for today? Yup, Abula, and I am eating it AT MY DESK. I only have a teeny bit of ewedu, so it wouldn’t be to sticky and all over the place. This smells AH-MAZING!!!! I am sure I am going to get them talking and asking what’s in it. I never miss an opportunity for good old Nigerian food-ucation. Have a lovely weekend folks. Keep calm and Eat Abula.
Next week, I am going to take our very beloved Gbegiri and give it a Dooney’s Kitchen-esque you never “hesperred” it kind of twist. Stay tuned.