Nigerian Ofada Stew (Ayamase)

Introduction

Ofada stew, also known as Ayamase, is a traditional and highly flavorful Nigerian dish. This spicy stew is made with a special type of chili pepper known as “ata rodo,” a combination of palm oil and assorted meat or fish, and a blend of aromatic spices. Originating from the Yoruba region of Nigeria, Ofada stew is a beloved delicacy that is often enjoyed with local rice varieties such as Ofada rice. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cooking Ofada stew step by step so you can savor the rich flavors of this traditional Nigerian dish.

Ingredients:

  • 500g assorted meat (cow tripe, beef, cow foot, chicken, or goat meat)
  • 300g smoked fish (mackerel or catfish)
  • 6 cups ofada rice
  • 10-12 pieces of ata rodo (scotch bonnet peppers)
  • 3 bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of iru (locust beans)
  • 1 cup of palm oil
  • 2 teaspoons of ground crayfish
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ehuru (calabash nutmeg)
  • Salt to taste

Step 1: Prepare the meats and fish
Start by cleaning and seasoning the assorted meats with salt, thyme, and curry powder. Place the meats in a pot and add enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let it cook until tender. In a separate pot, boil the smoked fish for about 10 minutes to remove excess salt. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Blend the peppers and onions
In a blender or food processor, combine the ata rodo peppers, bell peppers, and one onion. Blend until smooth, then set aside.

Step 3: Cook the stew base
In a separate pot, heat the palm oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the remaining chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and add the blended pepper mixture. Stir well to combine.

Step 4: Add the spices and condiments
Add the dried thyme, curry powder, dried basil, ground crayfish, and ground ehuru to the stew base, stirring continuously to ensure the flavors are well incorporated. Allow the stew to simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Step 5: Add the meats and fish
Carefully add the cooked assorted meats and smoked fish to the stew base. Gently stir to coat the meats and fish with the sauce. Cover the pot and let it simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

Step 6: Cook the Ofada rice
While the stew is simmering, wash the Ofada rice thoroughly to remove any debris. Place the rice in a pot, add water, and cook according to the package instructions. Ofada rice is known for its unique aroma and texture, which complements the richness of the stew.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy
Once the Ofada rice and stew are ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy this delectable Nigerian delicacy. Place a generous serving of Ofada rice on a plate and top it with a generous portion of the Ofada stew. The combination of the aromatic rice and flavorful stew will take your taste buds on a journey to the heart of Nigerian cuisine.

To enhance the taste and experience, you can garnish the Ofada stew with chopped onions, fresh vegetables, or shredded carrots. Some people also enjoy adding a side of plantains or fried yam to complement the flavors of the stew.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ofada stew or Ayamase is a traditional Nigerian dish that is cherished for its bold flavors and unique combination of ingredients. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can easily recreate this flavorful stew in your own kitchen. Whether it’s a special occasion or a regular meal, Ofada stew is a must-try dish that will transport you to the vibrant world of Nigerian cuisine. So gather your ingredients, get cooking, and savor the rich and aromatic flavors of this beloved Nigerian delicacy!

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