My mum is going to read this and be shocked for sure. You Know why? I gave her enough grief over Garden eggs to last through 5 children. I rarely, if ever use the word hate in the same sentence as food, but I hate garden egg with a passion. The taste, the smell, the look, was enough to induce tears. My mum repeated this phrase so much in my childhood, it should have been our family emblem. It is a phrase in Yoruba, which I will translate. “Nkan ti iya bani lo fun omo je”. This means, whatever a mother has, is what she feeds her child. End of. On the radio a few days ago, I was hearing about a study being conducted which showed that mothers are now preparing 2 or sometimes 3 meals for dinner because of fussy eaters. I laughed my head off. In my mother’s house, 2 different dinners. WHAT. Who is the child, that is refusing to eat what was prepared for the whole family? You are not hungry. I was so pleased to hear many callers rejecting this new trend. They all said it is a new thing, because in their time, you ate whatever your mum put in front of you, no question or you go hungry. It was that simple.
My mum never threw food away, neither would she reheat it, so if lunch or dinner took you two hours, so be it. You must empty your plate, tears and all. I eat so many cold lunches and dinners in my childhood, I am scarred for life. Honestly, I eat my food straight from the cooker. Warm food, just shuts off my taste buds, no matter how delicious the food looks. Once I take a bite and it is warm or worse, cold, that’s it. I can’t enjoy food, if it is not piping hot. I have sent back so many dishes, and pissed off so many waiters at restaurants for this express reason. Someone said to me, just pray one day they don’t spit in your food. Lol. I have a few baby pictures of me at meal times. Mummy frowning at me in desperation, me looking miserable. Lol. Garden egg stew sure was one of those meals that induced tears so fast. I HATED it. My mum’s friend Aunty Niniola introduced us to garden egg stew and it caught on in our house save for me. My mum used to prepare it with boiled yam. Two things I hate, so you can imagine my despair. Lol. You may have read my journey to finally liking yam on my Yam and Plantain porridge post HERE. I haven’t thought about Garden egg since primary school. Anytime I saw it in the market, I just shuddered and walked past. Food also brings back not so nice memories. Lol. Starting this blog has further opened my mind to what you can do with food, so much so that when I saw garden eggs in a friend’s fridge, for the first time, I did not shudder. I went to the African Store the next day, and bought Garden eggs. Something I have never done before. My mum will probably fall off her chair when I tell her. Lol.
Still not knowing what to do with them, they sat in my fridge, and I was waiting or inspiration to hit me, and it did. Must I boil garden eggs, really, must I? Aubergines or egg plants are roasted in so many recipes on Food Network, that was what clinched it for me. On my way to pick up beef stock from the freezer, I saw a bowl of boiled meat, and I thought ooookay, I can combine both. Oh dear, the result was good. No toddler of mine is going to reject this. Lol. If like me you have a hate-hate relationship with garden eggs, I am about to change that for you Dooney’s Kitchen Style, so here goes.
You will need
10 Garden eggs – white or green
Leftover pieces of boiled meat, saki (tripe), cow leg and whatever scraps you can get
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper – dry pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tatashe – red bell pepper
3 pieces of Ata Rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
1 red onion
1. Cut off the green stalk from the garden eggs, and cut the garden eggs into the size of chunky chips. Sprinkle over the garlic powder, curry powder, thyme, seasoning cube, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over olive oil and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can oil a frying pan slightly and pan fry for 5 – 7 minutes, if you are not a fan of using your oven.
2. While the garden eggs are roasting blend the tomatoes, tatashe, rodo and half of the onion. Boil the pepper paste till it thickens.
3. Check on the garden eggs. You may need to live it in the oven for an extra 2 – 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it though, you want the garden egg chips to be golden brown.
Pick one and taste. I bet you it will be miles better than boiled garden egg. Trust me, you are going to pick another one, and another one till you have to stop yourself when you remember you are meant to use it in a stew. Lol. Chop the garden eggs into chunks and chop the meats. I carefully cut the meat into the same size, so that when you are eating the stew, the contrast of flavours and especially textures of the meat and garden egg will tickle you a bit. I loooooooooved it.
3. Chop the rest of the onions, heat up a frying pan and sauté for a few minutes until translucent.
4. Add the chopped meats to the pan and fry with the onions. Be careful it doesn’t burn, so stir often until the meats brown. This should take approximately 5 minutes.
When the meats have browned, add a pinch of curry and thyme, and let it fry
5. Add the boiled pepper to the meats and half a cup of beef stock and let it fry for 7 minutes.
6. Let the pepper fry until you see bubbles, and add more beef stock, so you get a liquidy pepper sauce.
7. Add the chopped garden eggs to the sauce and let it fry for a few minutes
8. The garden eggs will thicken the sauce, let it fry further until the sauce properly thickens. Season with seasoning cubes and salt.
9. Add more beef stock to further liquidify the sauce, and then lower the heat, till oil floats to the top. Watch for the colour of the oil, it should have a reddish-orange colour.
……….and you are done. Taste the stew, and I assure you that it will taste better than any you’ve had before. That characteristic bitter taste of the garden egg would be almost negligible.
Now to the yam. Traditionally Garden Egg Stew is eaten with boiled yam. I thought to myself, nah. I will fry it. Believe me, the combination was awesome.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: I will like to share a tip for frying yam. If you want the true dun dun effect, don’t simply fry the yam in hot oil. Add water to the oil. So, the yam will cook first and fry afterwards, leaving you with soft yam on the inside and crispy edges on the outside. Don’t worry, all the water will evaporate by the time the yams have fried. Leaving you with only oil at the end.
See the bubbles? That’s the water frying with the oil
……………………Serve the fried yam with the rich, delicious garden egg stew. Garnish with spring onions and red chilli.
My Canapé styled fried yam and garden egg stew