The most iconic dish in nigerian cooking is the red stew. It is the one dish that is not technically not linked to any tribe. I use the word technically, lightly because the Yoruba’s would say, it originated from them. As a newbie to Nigerian food, I would advice that the red stew is the first thing that you try. A reader and fellow blogger Maamej of the blog Border Crossings from Australia, tried out my fish stew and blogged about it. Reading her experience about journeying into Nigerian cooking strengthened my resolve to create this page. When you think of the word stew, what probably comes to mind is a broth, with lots of ingredients, big chunks of fish, meat or chicken, possibly some alcohol. The Nigerian red stew is different, from what you would traditionally call a stew, but we love to be different, our food is uniquely awesome, and we name it what we like.
Anyways, the Nigerian red stew can be akin to an Italian marinara, or a Spanish Sofrito. Those are the only similarities I can think of. The base of every Nigerian red stew is Ata Lilo. It starts from there, and sometimes transforms to Ata Sise, depending on the recipe you use. A rich tomato and pepper mix is fried in oil (palm oil or vegetable oil) and seasoned with a good helping of rich stock, after which meats, or chicken or fish is added, and left to stew in the sauce for a bit and it is taken off the heat. Nigerian red stew is served with anything, and I mean anything, from rice to yam, to beans,
Ata Lilo is boiled to reduce and it transforms to Ata Sise
This is Ata Sise –