I should have written about Dodo Ikire weeks ago, unfortunately, my over ripened plantains ended up in the bin by accident. My English friend was tidying up the kitchen and he thought my plantains were bad. After all they were black and soft. Typical British mentality. Food looks bad, it belongs to the bin. I remember rushing home and I was excited to make Dodo Ikire. I got out some of the ingredients from the fridge and looked at the empty cart and was wondering what happened to my plantains. When you are expecting to see something where you left it, your brain starts to play funny tricks with your mind. You start to look for it in places you ordinarily wouldn’t. I searched and searched including looking in the dustbin until it hit me, oh my gosh, he threw it away. HE THREW AWAY MY PLANTAINS. I bought the plantains slightly green, so I had to wait a while for it to turn bad, only for it to end up in the bin. There’s nothing more annoying than not being able to vent your anger at someone. Hey, it was an honest mistake, so I had to grit my teeth and buy fresh plantains. This time, I made sure they were almost black so I did not have to wait for too long.
Dodo Ikire, was one of the things that made road trips fun when I was growing up. As soon as we crossed the Lagos-Oyo-Osun border, my siblings and I started getting excited. As soon as we veered off the highway and were approaching the towns, at the first sight of street hawkers, you would see us stretching our necks to see if any of them sold dodo ikire. The minute we spotted one, the screams started. My dad had to force us back into the seat with threats of, “I will drive past now and not stop”. He did not need to say more. Lol. Men and women will surround the car, all of them wanting you to buy their goods. It was almost like a hawker frenzy. From banana’s to oranges, groundnut, gala, bread, you name it. You could eat your fill just by sitting in the car. As soon as dodo ikire was passed to out little hands, we tore off the cellophane wrapping and descended on it, whilst ignoring mummy’s warnings to not soil the seat with palm oil Good, good times. I remember the big yams my mum used to buy on those road trips. Huge pineapples, baskets of tomatoes and pepper, bananas, coconut, Fresh loaves of bread, groundnut, bush meat, onions. I could list for days, because the prices were cheap and the boot will be full. My mum lived for those stops. She had her favourite markets in most towns along the way. She knew where to stop for this and that. No trip out of Lagos was devoid of food shopping. I am sure for many people who read this, you will be nodding your head and smiling with nostalgia.
Well, I am about to rekindle some of those memories. You know this is one of the signatures of this blog. Using food as a medium to unlocking memories of the past. Lol. Dodo Ikire on face value is not appetising. It is dark bordering on black and rough looking. You only need to taste it, to fall in love with it. You know the phrase, do not judge a book by its cover. Nothing describes Dodo Ikire more. Lol. If you were not allowed to buy Dodo Ikire on road trips, big warm hugs for you considering what you’ve missed out on. Here’s your chance to also join in the conversation anytime Dodo Ikire comes up. If like me, you were fortunate enough to enjoy this delicious snack, well here’s your chance too to re-create it in your home.
You will need
2 over ripened plantains – the skin must be black and soft to touch
chopped red onion – about 1/4 cup
the seeds of peppers – you can use chilli, tatashe (red bell pepper) or ata rodo (scotch bonnet/habanero pepper)
2 pieces of ata rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper
1. Peel the skin off the plantains and chop into small triangles. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: do NOT mash otherwise the dodo ikire will take on the consistency of akara. You don’t want that because dodo ikire is soft and chewy at the same time.
2. Take out the seeds from the ata rodo and set aside. Chop the ata rodo very finely. Dice the onions.
Dooney’s Kitchen tip: you don’t want to chop the onions into chunks, at the same time you don’t want to chop into slivers. You need to find a happy medium for two reasons. 1. too thin and it will burn in the palm oil and taste bitter. Also, too big and it won’t caramelise well enough with the plantains. The picture above would demonstrate the size you will need.
3. Combine the chopped plantains with the seeds, chopped ata rodo, onions and sprinkle in salt to taste. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: mix gently. Remember the plantains are already very soft, so you don’t want it to break down and form a paste.
4. heat up palm oil in a pan till it gets very hot. Using your palm, create a ball about the size that will fit into a tablespoon and drop into the palm oil. Let this fry for 2 – 3 minutes, till you see the edges underneath start to burn.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: the reason you do this is to let the plantain fry and hold up its shape. The surface area exposed to direct heat from the palm oil is minimal. The heat from the palm oil spreads by convection to cook the plantain balls and it retains its shape. If you simply emptied the mixture into the oil it will burn in minutes and you don’t want that.
5. Flip the balls over and let the other side fry till it burns slightly. This should take about 1 minute. By now, the outer area of the ball has fried, while the inner layer still a little raw.
6. then you break the ball apart gently to increase surface area exposure to hot palm oil, stir around and let it fry. Gently feel the plantain frying, and you should feel the texture change after a few minutes.
Dodo Ikire is lumpy and soft, with the texture of stretchy candy or more like raisins. You definitely want that result, so at this stage, you don’t want to fry for that much longer otherwise your dodo ikire will take on the consistency of charcoal and it will be bitter too. Yuck!!!!
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: once you can see most of the plantain as darkened lumps, take it out of the oil and drain excess oil on a kitchen paper towel.
Here’s your delicious Dodo Ikire………..
I just couldn’t resist, I was picking it up and popping in my mouth. Then I realised, shoot, I have to take pictures. Lol. This was all that was left. Covering my face right now. Lol
By the way, Ikire is a town in Osun State. Bless them for bringing this yummy snack to the world. Lol.