Sorry, I had to type Giz three times because it sounds funny. I had always called it Dodo Gizzard until a friend corrected me yesterday by letting me know that the better term for it, is Giz-Dodo. Okay Ma’m I am happy to be corrected. It is Giz-dodo.
If you love dodo a.k.a fried plantains, I am hereby showing you a dish that will make you love it even more, if that is even possible. My nanny had this saying about my relationship with Dodo “it can grow on my head” because I loved it so much. Which child doesn’t? If you speak Yoruba, you will agree that it sounds funnier when you translate it. She also used to tell me I could eat meat on a live wire. Lol. If you are a novice in the kitchen and you want to cook for me, just make me dodo and you are forgiven. Dodo is so easy to prepare even disaster chefs will get it right.
I remember trying to explain to my English flatmates at Plymouth why plantains are not big bananas. Would you believe they were arguing with me? It was a hilarious conversation. You can’t blame them really, plantains do look like grown up bananas. Plantains are a good food unifier in my experience. My flatmates always complained about the aroma of my food and most of the comments were not particularly nice, but I refused to give in. The very first day I fried plantains, their perceptions changed. I remember one of them peeking out of his room and asking me if I was baking because FOR ONCE, Dunni was cooking and they did not have to go hide in their rooms and open all the windows. Lol…..
So, if you are a student in a foreign country and your housemates are giving you grief about your cooking, do not let them bully you. Lol. Fry plantains one day and they will warm up to you. Take it further by making Giz-dodo and they will be sold. Lol. Dodo was the only thing I cooked that they agreed to taste. I served it with fried eggs and fried stew on the side. It went down very well, and anytime they saw Plantains on the kitchen shelf, they always asked me when I was making that “doh-doh” again so that they knew when to be home.
Dodo as we all know, is plain fried plantain. That’s it. One of the best examples of basic food. The heat from the oil caramelises the natural sugars of the plantains making it sweeter. Some people like their dodo fried golden brown, others like it much darker, some even prefer it almost burnt. I belong to the first camp because that is the best way to enjoy the sweetness of the plantain. By leaving it in the oil for longer, you are burning the natural sugars and thereby losing out on the best experience of eating dodo. Dodo can be eaten on its own, or paired with jollof or fried rice, or with stew, fried eggs, any kind of sauce, or a vegetable soup e.g Egusi, Efo riro, edikaikong or even Afang. Healthy eaters can grill the plantains in the oven instead of frying and pair with a salad salad dressing, except you are making a healthy vinaigrette.
If you’ve always sliced your plantains thickly, you are also missing out on that crispy and crunchy effect you get from frying plantains. When next you are frying plantain, slice it thinly and enjoy the difference. The method of slicing plantains also differ. Some prefer it cut round, but most slice along the angle of the plantain creating an oblong shape with crispy tips, at other times it can also be diced, like the picture shows above. To make giz-dodo you have to cut the plantain in cubes to match the shape of the chopped gizzard.
Giz-dodo is just another way of enjoying dodo and it is a genius invention as far as I am concerned. It takes the experience of eating this nationally loved food to another level. For the first time dodo is no longer “simple” or “quick”.
You will need
2 ripe Plantains
500g of Gizzard – chicken or turkey
2 – 3 pieces of Chicken/Turkey
1 Red Onion
1 – 2 pieces of Ata Rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
Seasoning cubes – Knorr chicken cubes preferred
2 large Tomatoes
1 Tatashe – red bell pepper
1 teaspoon Curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 a teaspoon of Dry pepper – cayenne pepper
Giz-dodo is prepared in 3 main stages which I will describe below:
Stage 1 – Preparing the Gizzards
- Clean the gizzards properly. If you know the biological function of the gizzard, you will understand that you have to clean it properly.
- Add water to the pot and season the gizzards with salt, 1 – 1 1/2 seasoning cubes, curry, thyme, cayenne pepper and chicken. Why chicken? Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Gizzard is to the bird what tripe (saki) and other offals are to a cow. What do I mean? Offals are not particularly tasty when cooked on their own. There is something to be said about the flesh of an animal which always trumps offals in terms of flavour. So, to cook any offal, always use a flavour enhancer and season it properly. One of my tricks for gizzards is to boil it with 2 – 3 pieces of Chicken. The juices from the chicken make a world of difference in taste. Try it and you’ll see.
- Leave the gizzards to boil until it is cooked. Once it is soft and tender, take it out of the pot and chop into squares roughly about the size of cubed plantains and set aside.
Stage 2 – Preparing the Tomato sauce
- Blend 1/2 of the onion, tomatoes, tatashe (red bell pepper) and 1 piece of ata rodo (scotch bonnet/habanero pepper). Bring this to a boil and let it reduce to about half of its volume. Chop the other half of the onion.
- While the pepper bis boiling, add 2 cooking spoons of olive oil in a pot or frying pan. Why this much oil? Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: as I wrote in the Party Jollof rice post, you need more than average volume of oil to fry the pepper properly. You can always strain off any excess oil, but you need that oil at the start.
- Fry the onions till they are translucent and add the reduced pepper, 2 pinches of curry and 1 pinch of thyme then fry. As the pepper dries out, add stock in cooking spoonful increments and let it fry once more. Repeat this many times till the pepper begins to have a curdled look with little dots (bubbles). Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Normally you would throw away the stock from offals, because you have cooked it with chicken the stock now becomes usable.
- The stock already contains salt and seasoning cubes, so taste the fried pepper and re-season if necessary.
Stage 3 – Frying the plantains and gizzards
- Peel the plantains and cut into cubes. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: to make this process easy, hold one plantain in one hand and make an incision in the middle and cut down to a few cm before the bottom tip so you don’t end up slicing the whole thing in half. This divides it into two. In the opposite direction do the same thing, which divides it into four. Place the plantain on a chopping board and cut to create cubes.
- Salt the plantains. I know some readers will disagree with me here because they leave out salt when frying plantains. I am sorry but I think you have been missing out on one of nature’s best combinations. Sweet and Salty. I will digress a little here – Have you ever tasted sweet and salty popcorn? You should, honestly. Salt and sugar actually combine very very well. Bakers have taken notice of this too. Try eating a cupcake with salty caramel buttercream or salty caramel filling and tell me it is not amazing. An unusual union, salt and sugar, but it works. One common example is the Snickers bar or Chocolate covered peanuts (peanuts are naturally salty). Is that ringing a bell now? Lol…. The same applies to plantains. By salting it, you are allowing the salt to combine with the natural sugars of the plantain while it fries and the result is, the plantain is tangy and much sweeter. Of course, if for health reasons you have to reduce your intake of salt, please leave it out.
- Fry the plantains in hot oil in a pot or deep fryer. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: normally you would fry dodo in shallow oil because you can turn each side easily in the pan.. When frying dodo in cubes you need more oil to allow the cubes fry at once, otherwise you will end up frustrated and with burnt dodo too boot (more frustrating) if you shallow fry and attempt to turn each cube.
- Once the plantains are golden brown, strain out of the oil and place on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
- Now you are left with this dodo flavoured oil. Fry the chopped gizzards in this oil till they are crispy then strain out of the oil and also place on kitchen paper
Stage 4 – The end: Combining all the three components
Now you have all your components ready. In a deep saucepan, simply combine all three like you wold when making peppered chicken (recipe coming soon). At this stage, personal preference will come into play. I like my Giz-dodo not dripping with pepper. I simply want the pepper to coat it. If you want some semblance of a sauce, just add a little water (not stock) to the pot and let it simmer for a few minutes.
………..and that’s it
You can also make it into a Fajita wrap with a simple salad
A reader sent these pictures in. Hers has more sauce in it. It is good to see pictures of both preferences