These are a compilation of tips used in Nigerian cooking. These tips are a part and parcel of every Nigerian cook, we do them by rote routine and sometime forget when writing recipes to mention them because you are already expected to know what they are. A few weeks ago, a blogger in Australia, Maamej…… made my Fish Imoyo. She left a comment copy comment and post
This got me to thinking, that I must write down these tips.
3. Blanch palm oil to get rid of the curdling taste
4. Always boil and season your meats ahead of cooking.
5. Use the stock from boiling beef and chicken, never throw it away
6. Dried Crayfish is best used ground, to infuse its flavour
7. When cooking okra, it is best to do a rough chop, so it retains its integrity, while cooking and doesn’t soften faster
8. When cooking with smoked fish, it is best to add it last, so it doesn’t disintegrate into the pot
9. Don’t soak beans in water for too long, or the skin becomes too difficult to peel
10. wash vegetables first before chopping
11. If you over salt food, drop in a ran potato or slid of yam, or add blended onions
12. If your hands are stinging from chopping chilli, rub some palm oil on it
13. If you are blanching palm oil for a short period of time, say 2 minutes, you can leave it open. If you need to blanch palm oil to change its colour to dark brown, NEVER leave the pot open. Cover the pot, start on high heat for 5 – 7 mites, then lower the heat and leave the pot covered. Once the time to blanch has been reached, turn off the heat and leave the pot undisturbed till it cools down.
14. Frying pepper and egusi can be quite a messy experience, so always cover the pot, to avoid splashes all around your kitchen surface. When you have to stir, take it off the heat, open the pot slightly and stir
15. When boiling ata lilo, if it starts to bubble over, just pour in a little vegetable oil or palm oil and this prevents it from bubbling over
16. When rinsing ire, do not drone it in water, as you wash off some of the flavour. A little water enough to get out the dust and for any dirt particles to sink to the bottom is enough.
17. If you blend too much chill and your food is spicy, blend some tomatoes and add to it. If the dish doesn’t require tomatoes, then blanch some palm oil and add to it. Palm oil has a way of reducing the intensity of pepper.
18. Egusi is notorious for going bad very quickly in a hot environment, so don’t forget to pack it up in the fridge as soon as it cools down.
20. When cooking ogbono and okra, don’t cover the pot, as this will cause it to steam, and hence reducing its slippery and stretchy effect
21. After cooking fried rice, don’t store it in an air thigh container, as the steam will mean the rice goes off very quickly.
22. Grilling meats are the healthier option, try it out instead of frying
23. Adding onions to egusi helps it form lumps while cooking
24. boil your meats with some smoked fish for extra flavour
25. chop off the head and the stalk of okra before grating either manually or using a food processor
26. When blending jute leaves, add a little okra to bulk it up and increase its stickiness
These are tips I have picked up over the years during my early years of cooking with Big Oladunni, my grandmother and aunties