When physical strength was being shared, I was obviously sleeping. I can sleep for Africa, #hobbyoflife. My nickname growing up was Olorun of orun (someone who loves to sleep) and Alapa Ike (plastic hands). I was skinny and scrawny and, looked liked I would break any second, so everyone was warned to just leave me alone. It carried on to boarding school, and I had enviable morning chores. The lightest you can think of, plus I was small in stature too, so that helped, but of course that came with bullies too, story for another day. Happy to look all of them in the eye now. Hehehehe. Anyways, when your body fails you in one area, another area rises up to compensate. My mother says it all the time, that my strength is upstairs – mental. I can go to war with it, physical strength, not so much, my body will just revolt and proverbially shut down. Cooking is physically draining, and I am training myself to cope with the rigours, the endless hours of being on your feet, and your arms moving in 100 directions. I tell you guys, it is bloody hard. So, I don’t just love technology in the kitchen for the fun of it, it is essential for my physical state of being. #Idontlikestress
I have an interesting addition to Egusi soup, that I’ve wanted to post for weeks now, especially in the run up to Christmas. The only way I know I will get that dish done, is if I do my prep in stages. PM skills are universal, hehehehe. Day 1, boil the meats and refrigerate, day 2, wash the bitter leaves. That one I was so not looking forward to. 2 weeks ago, I got a call asking for bitter leaf egusi soup. Ordinarily I would have run in the other direction and made excuses from here to Mexico, but my mouth disconnected from my brain, and I found myself nodding and saying, sure I will wash out the bitterness, you don’t worry. And so it started, I washed and washed the darned thing till my palms were sore and my fingers pruney, still I wasn’t sure I got it all out, but I was tired, frustrated and kicked myself a few times.
I hadn’t washed bitter leaves since my early/late teens. I had totally forgotten how unbelievably miserable the process was. You bet I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. Lazy me went to youtube to see if my washing method was the problem, alas, I did it the right way. While watching another video, the movement of the palms against the leaves caught my attention. Suddenly my senses were buzzing, I get these tunnel vision kind of moments where I shut out the world completely and just focus on that thing. Wait a minute, that looks like washing clothes. The words washing, washing, washing, washing kept repeating over and over in my head and then it suddenly stopped, followed by the thought, “who washes clothes manually anymore”, and then BOOM!!!!!! it hit me. Washing machine!!!!!! What does a washing machine do, it extracts dirt, stains and all that jazz. How does it do it? It spins in a cyclic motion at top speed. OMFreakingG!!!!! That is it. All I need to do is for my darling food processor, to spin the darned bitter leaves for me and “wash” to extract the bitterness. Now, to the choice of blades. I couldn’t use the knife blade because it was going to turn it to baby food, so I simply used the dough blade. No sharp edges, it would spin and spin like a washing machine at high-speed and do all the manual work for me. Yes people, that is how I stood there watching the thing with my eyes almost popping out. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. You know the way bitter leaves foam up while washing. It did everything you would see with hand washing, and in about 4 – 5 minutes total, i checked on it and screamed when I tasted it. Gave it one rinse under the tap, and it was perfect. The longer the engine runs, the less the bitterness, hey, same with hand washing. Imagine the suffering that we Nigerian women have endured for years.
If you live abroad and only have access to dried bitter leaves, not to worry, the trick is first to boil the dried version till it softens, which would take ages. Aint nobody got time for that, use a pressure cooker with enough water, and walk away. Come back after 30 – 45 minutes depending on the quantity you boiled, transfer the contents to a food processor and go sit pretty. #deathtohandwashing bitter leaves. I have two videos on Instagram (and many more quick cooking videos). If you are not following me yet, okay should I sit down and have a word with you? Hahahahahaha. Okay, please follow me @dooneyskitchen. I share a whole lot on there, it has become the second blog for gorgeous food pictures and handy tips. #LetsCook
You Will Need
Fresh Bitter leaves – or dried
Food Processor – with the DOUGH blade.
1. You don’t need to pick the leaves off the stems, just jumble all into a pot and let it boil for about 7 – 10 minutes. This leaches out the bitterness, and assists the process.
2. As it boils, you will see the water darken. My grandma would have saved that water and made you drink it. Very medicinal she would say. Yuck!!!!
3. Get out your food processor and attach the dough blade. Very essential. The knife blade may turn the bitter leaves into a puree.
4. Add the bitter leaves into the bowl
5. Add a little water. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: don’t make the mistake i made by adding too much water, because as the contents start to spin, it will splash water all over the place.
6. Cover the bowl, turn the knob to max and watch it go
see the foam….. and watch the videos below
My Christmas gift to the people of Anambra, all the Igbos, the Deltans and everyone else from anywhere who cooks with bitter leaf. I don't know about you guys but this was punishment as a teenager. I wish my grandmothers were alive to see this. Wash your bitter leaf in a food processor biko. It does is super well in a fraction of the time, no sore palms, no standing for ages decanting, washing and re washing. Ain't nobody got time for that. Stay tuned for Part 2 and more details to be posted on the blog this night. Ofe something loading, no it isn't Onugbu. Tag your friends, spread the news, share the video. Go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere, go tell it on the mountains, that you don't need to wash bitter leAves with your hands anymore ???
The leaves start out whole, and as you manually wash they shrink and become stringy, well, the food processor does the same. See
Take it out of the bowl, and into a sieve. Run water over it and squeeze
this was the water that collected below. Again, depending on preference, you can run the engine of the food processor for a short time to preserve as much of the bitterness i will say a minute or two, or much longer to reduce the concentration of the bitterness to a large extent, till it has the bitter-sweet taste. I am team latter.
and you are done
I had quite the day yesterday. I bought a humongous batch of bitter leaves from Lagos on my last trip home and my mother kept telling me, Ola, you will have to wash all these by yourself, don't you think you are going overboard? Thanks to the food processor, the fear of hand washing has been removed. There is a new post on the blog today, with extra details. If you live outside Nigeria with limited or no access to fresh bitter leaves, I have a very handy tip to work with the dried version. Link in Bio
Washing butter leaves in a food processor that I mentioned earlier in the day. Because it is for black soup and I am blending it anyway, I used the knife blade at minimum speed. For Ofe Onugbu, use the dough blade, so you still get that stringy effect. I have been doing his since I out up that post last year. Ain't nobody got time for manual washing. You only need to do it twice. Each cycle 3 – 5 minutes with fresh water, and the food processor will spin like a washing machine and wash the bitterness out of the leaves. How to prevent cross transfer of flavours afterwards, I soak the bowl and blade in hot water until the water cools down, and it is back to being as good as new ???. #theNewNigerianCookery #dooneyskitchentips. Tag a friend who needs to see this ??
see my palm and fingers – do they look like i just “washed” bitter leaves? Hehehehehehehe
My grandmother made the most amazing bitter leaf egusi soup, but Lord have mercy, the woman would go to the market and buy this humongous batch of bitter leaves. She would be sitting pretty in the courtyard, watching you wash the thing. Gosh, i would be muttering under my breath and she would come close and ask me to speak louder, so she can know the weight of the smack i will get. LMAO. Someone said on Instagram, Dunni, our ancestors will not be happy with you o. Hehehehehehehe. Someone please get me a meeting with the people of Kenwood please. Pounded yam – food processor, washing bitter leaves – food processor, peeling beans – food processor, pounded Ede (cocoyam) – food processor. Oh, I have one more use for it, but I will keep that for a reveal in the new year. How are your Christmas plans going? If you need my assistance on anything, please let me know, I would be happy to help.