When you talk about Nigerian local recipes, this one is one of my favorites. Apart from the fact that I’m Igbo and enjoy Abacha(African salad), one Yoruba spirit takes over my senses once I prepare this dish 🙂
What is Ayamase? It’s a sauce known to the Yoruba’s; which makes the use of peppers and Iru (locust beans) as the star of the sauce. According to Boomie, “it’s Originally from Ogun State i.e Ijebu Remo. It is said that it was made by a certain man’s wife who cooked it a lot. Her husband’s name was Mase; hence the name. Some say Grandmas cook it a lot for when their children and grand children are coming to visit.” See, a lot of people have different methods for making this dish, but I like the consistency and richness of this one. For my version, I use green tomatoes(optional), green bell peppers/tatase and green habaneros a.k.a ata-rodo and I give it a very good frying :). I have seen some people make it with only bell peppers and habaneros, and I have seen others use only habaneros. But just like I always say, food is versatile.
I have to say this, it took me several attempts to get this recipe right and when I did get it right, I rejoiced! I could have had a thanksgiving service if possible really :).
The name Ofada sauce comes from the pairing of this sauce with Ofada rice. Ofada rice is a type of unpolished rice grown in Nigeria. It’s quite similar to brown rice. My only issue with the rice is the aroma it gives out when it’s cooking. Apart from that, it tastes absolutely amazing!
If you like Palm oil like I do, you will love this recipe. Honestly, I relished in the days my mother made any type of stew with Palm oil, I used to be so happy; especially when the oil is cooked thoroughly. There is something about the combination of hot peppers and Palm oil that sets my heart on fire! A match made in heaven!
If you crave ayamase and can’t keep going to the expensive restaurants to feed your cravings, this recipe is for you. Enjoy my people!
1 1/2 lbs of assorted meats(chopped into little sizes)
6 bell peppers(washed and chopped…leave the seeds in for the stew if you want to)
10-16 habaneros(use according to heat tolerance)
1 green tomato(optional)
1 large onion(minced)
1/4 cup iru(heaped)
1 tsp crayfish
1 1/2 cup meat stock
1 1/2 cup palm oil
Blend the peppers and tomato until it’s almost smooth. Pour it into a pot and boil until thickened and free of liquids. (Kitchen tip…you could pour the mix into a fine mesh sieve to remove the excess water…I prefer this method to boiling).
Heat the oil to bleach on low to medium heat(this process takes about 10minutes). The bleached oil should have a distinct color like honey. Make sue that all your windows are open and if you have an air vent in your kitchen, be sure to have it on to prevent smoking. Once the oil is bleached, removethe pot from the heat and let it cool down
Transfer the pot back to the heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté until translucent. Pour in the Iru and fry for a few minutes; then add the meats and fry until brown. Add the pepper mix and as you cook, stir in the meat stock until you get to your preferred consistency. Check for seasonings and cook on medium to low heat until the oil floats to the top. (I thoroughly fried mine hence the darker color). Once the oil is visible, add the eggs and the crayfish powder (you could add more than one teaspoon…try not to over power the natural taste of the stew with excess crayfish though)…cook for another 3 minutes; then set aside and serve with any side…:)…(before adding the eggs…you could poke them with a skewer to make small holes, so the stew can seep into the eggs)…enjoy!