I went for an event yesterday organised by Walkers crisps, inviting food bloggers to taste and sample their new range of Market Deli crisps. It was a huge honour to be invited, especially more so that I was the only Nigerian food blogger present. Scratch that, nobody on the African continent was represented. It was a good opportunity to speak to other food bloggers about Nigerian food, and it wasn’t totally surprising that they did not know anything about Nigerian food. Oh, the surprise looks, the arching of their eyebrows when I mentioned that many of the ingredients on the table used in the chips were everyday staples in the average Nigerian kitchen and fridge. I am gone past being annoyed about the issue, I have decided to channel that anger into determination to get our food out there. I don’t care if I have to bang on doors till I get myself heard. Being present at the event, was a slip through the cracks. Watch out for my product review very soon. Walkers is a huge deal, hey they are owned by Pepsico, so I am really chuffed.
On my way home on the train, it dawned on me that presentation, packaging, modernising our recipes etc are not the only things that we need to take Nigerian food mainstream. I just knew I had to put up this post today. We have to carefully look at our process of cooking. Believe me, the average non Nigerian we want to educate and wish to enamour about our food is not going to have it with all our tedious cooking. That’s the truth. These people with their sophisticated, well cultured and food curious palates are not going to leave their homes and traipse around their neighbourhoods looking for possibly hard to find ingredients and then get home and spend hours cooking it. A curry is one of the easiest things to cook, a tagine also easy, chinese food, their cooks have deliberately made it easier, which probably contributed to why it has been easily adapted mainstream. We have what we call Knowledge Transfer in In PM terms, and I am applying it today. Our cooking is tedious, let us admit it. If you weren’t brought up to do it, many would not even bother.
Ewa Aganyin is delicious but quite tedious to cook. I will lament about frying the sauce for almost 3 hours at another time. Today it is the beans. You have to cook it till very soft, and then proceed to mashing it with a wooden spoon to get that traditional mashed/semi mashed consistency. I had a 2kg order to fulfill and after saving myself time by boiling in my massive pressure cooker, I looked at the filled to the brim pot and the idea of transferring it to a much bigger pot and then cooking further and mashing, made my stomach turn. I remembered my success with peeling beans in a food process or (click HERE), so I decided to try my luck with mashing too. It worked.
More ways to love your Food Processor in Nigerian Cooking
1. Cooked beans at the ready. Again, I started taking shots after my first try. This pressure pot was full at the start.
2. Setup your food processor, with the bowl and attach the knife blade.
3. Fill the bowl with the cooked beans. This gal was pressed for time, again I filled up the bowl. Lol. If you notice, the beans was cooked till mushy i.e. a little liquid left
4. Cover the bowl and use the same process as peeling i.e. set the dial to maximum for a very brief period. 30 – 45 seconds, then stop.
Do it again and stop, this time, open the cover and use a spoon to mix together, such that you don’t end up with completely mashed bits at the bottom.
5. One more go with the engine, and you are done with one big batch. If you were doing this volume manually, I shudder to think of the arm cardio and the time it will take you.
Again, knowledge transfer. Mashed potatoes can be made in a food processor, so why not Ewa Aganyin. If I send the recipe to a popular British food blogger, he/she would try it. Now, try explaining to a non Nigerian, how you would need to cook the beans till soft, add more water, take your wooden spoon and start mashing. He or she would just roll their eyes, politely smile at you and trash your recipe in the next bin.
Showing you again more pictures of the process. First go, you can see more whole bean seeds
final go, job done. It took probably under 2 minutes.
I was done mashing 2kg worth of cooked beans stat. Now look at all that ewa aganyin and try to imagine how long it would have taken me to do that by hand, plus my tiny arms in question. I washed the pressure pot, and the food processor all in quick time. I packed it all up in a 7 litre bowl and marveled at the time I saved. Plus no sweat. Imagine that.
If you are wondering, no it wasn’t over mashed to puree form, you can still see some whole beans peeking out, the texture was just right, the way the Togolese women sell it.
Can you try this in a blender, you may wish to ask. I will say, yes, but you may not be as successful as with a food processor. The limited space of a blender would probably give you over mashed beans, but I am willing and open for you to prove me wrong. I was of the impression that only a dough blade will work for pounded yam, and I had many readers try a knife blade with equal results. So, I challenge you to try and let’s see.
If you want to save on the washing, or you only have a small quantity that you need. Use a Hand mixer.
Here are videos below
Making Ewa Aganyin using a hand mixer. I called my Aunty T to show how #theNewNigerianCookery in action. She was so impressed and said, even manual stirring won't make it this good. "Oyinbo ti so aiye dero, ki ama ni ara wa lara". English for, technology has made life easier. I told her she's having real pounded yam for Sunday Lunch tomorrow, and she should be prepared to be amazed. She has said she will call her Cargo person to help her send a food processor to Nigeria. This is a woman my mother's age. If she can be sold in an instant, I just shake my head sometimes at the people with mobile phones and social media who insist that the old methods are the best way. I don't bother arguing anymore. If you want to sweat it out in the kitchen, as they say "it's your funeral". Some of us looooove our gadgets and can cook you under the table in a fraction of the time ???. I am making Ewa Aganyin for someone too. If you want a bowl, please email me
Last year i put up on the blog how a food processor can make you mashed beans (Ewa Aganyin) in seconds. No need to do it manually in a pot and work your arms to exhaustion. I also showed you how to use a hand mixer to mash up rice for Tuwo Shinkafa. All that hand stirring is so unnecessary. The same process works for beans for Ewa Aganyin. This works especially if the quantity you are working with is not large enough to warrant washing up a food processor afterwards. Do you also know that you can make Tuwo Shinkafa in a food processor? Just lump all your cooked sticky rice in a food processor and pulse like you would with cooked beans. Ewa Aganyin and Tuwo Shinkafa done with no stress. @ounjealadun #dooneyskitchentipsforthemodernNigeriankitchen #theNewNigerianCookery
Here’s to Nigerian Cooking in 2014. Bring out your glass and toast to progress.