Ji Akwukwo Nni (Yam and vegetable pottage)
In the whole of Africa, there is this predominant love for vegetables within its people. I will fast forward to Nigeria…
I grew up in a home with two Igbo parents. My mother, cooked and she doused everything with vegetables. As in, I sometimes had to beg her to remove my portion before her veggie magic. You would see an empty pot of Ogbono soup boiling away and when you returned back into the kitchen, she had pumpkin leaves all over the thing. And yes, you had to eat it or stay hungry. Except of course daddy said “give her something else to eat.” As his baby nunu hehehe.
Of all the meals mother made, her yam and veggies was one of my favorites. My mother usually made this dish on Saturdays. It was usually for breakfast or dinner. There was something ecstatically beautiful about biting into a piece of sweet white yam with sweet satisfaction. Then the taste of Palm oil intertwined…you’d have to taste some to understand.
There’s this joke amongst Nigerians that the Igbo people put leaves in everything, but honestly it could be the reason for our beautiful skin…No wonder Igbo girls “Asanwa” (beautiful one) 🙂
The leaves usually used for this dish is called green. Now, I don’t know why it’s called “green” but that’s the name most Nigerians know it by. It’s said to be rich in iron and great for children, nursing mothers and the elderly. Well, pretty much every human needs this dish…For the leaves you may substitute spinach.
African white yam tuber
boiled ugba(oil bean)(optional)
chopped green or spinach
dry fish (washed and chopped)
grounded ehuru (Jamaican nutmeg)
freshly grounded pepper(Ose)
Salt to taste
Peel the yam, cook with the ugba until soft. When the yam is cooked, drain out the water saving some for later(like you would pasta water). Add the Ehuru to the yam along with the dry fish. Add crayfish, pepper, bouillon(if using), salt, green and oil. Then add the water saved from the yam. Stir to combine. Serve with chilled palm wine 🙂