A soup. E.g – ‘Fish peppesrsoup‘. A quick and simple fish soup, you can throw together and let it simmer away on low heat. Start on the fish soup, just before you deep fry the prawns. Or a meat based Peppersoup. Not your everyday variety but ‘Ukodo – Urhobo Peppersoup‘. Not so familiar eh? That is the idea
For guests who arrive pretty early (there are always some), just serve them dips with chin chin, plantain chips, crackers to get out of your hair while you cook. Examples of homemade dips are my homemade ‘Ube and Corn Guacamole‘, ‘Ata din din‘ and ‘Mayonnaise‘. Make them days before, and refrigerate. Zobo or lemonade for the kids and Zobotini for adults.
Main Course – ‘Thai Chicken Curry‘ or a ‘Goat Curry‘ with Jasmine or Basmati rice. That’s also special isn’t it, and definitely not common plus quick and simple to prepare. Don’t forget the lemongrass. It will take this dish from simple to sublime.
If you are still not sold on the idea to serve plain boiled rice. Okay then, stay away from the staple Jollof and Fried rice and serve ‘Coconut rice‘ instead, which will take about the same time as the other common two. Think, when was the last time you eat Coconut rice at a party, if ever? Watch as this goes down very well with your guests, with many people asking for seconds.
If you can’t have a party without Jollof rice. Okay, okay. How about Native Jollof rice made with Palm oil called ‘Iwuk Edesi‘. I call this Jollof Rice 2.0. Deeelicious and rememberable.
Native Soup – I will usually advice one soup, but if you feel you have to serve two types, ensure one is a creamy soup and the other is vegetable based. Why? Creamy soups usually “cook themselves”, while you focus your attention on the vegetable based one. Examples of special/festive Creamy soups are ‘Banga Soup‘, ‘Groundnut Soup‘, ‘Owo Soup‘, ‘Miyan Taushe’, ‘Ofe Nsala‘, ‘Egusi Ijebu‘, ‘Ewedu served with Buka Stew or Alapa stew‘.
Examples of Vegetable based soups that haven’t be served ad nauseum at parties are: ‘Edikang Ikong’, ‘Ukwogho Etidot’ (bitter leaf version of afang soup), ‘Black Soup’, ‘Otong Soup’ and ‘Oha Soup’. I’m sure there are lots of examples, if you dig deep into your culture.
Wild card. i.e. something unexpected like ‘Ifokore’, ‘Burabisko’, ‘Alkubus’, ‘Ebiripo’ and ‘Yam/Boiled plantain and Garden Egg Stew’.
Dessert – if your guests still have the stomach for it, serve a simple dessert that will wow them. Cake and Ice cream has been served so many times. Even if you bake it yourself, it’s still Cake and Ice cream.‘Tapioca Pudding‘. Tapioca is something many people have not eaten since their childhoods, so watch the joy and nostalgia on their faces when you serve this for dessert. We are kind of wired to see Tapioca as breakfast, especially if you are from Yorubaland. The way I make it, it is a bonafide dessert. Prepare to see empty bowls staring back at you. It is also simple and quick to prepare, plus the cooking process does not need too much of your input, so you can start on tapioca pudding, while you clear the dishes from the main course.
…………….and that’s a winning Party Menu