As I taste the sweet seasoning of Maggi, ogiri, dry fish, I smile to myself as I mentally calculate the bank breaking sum I'd spend at Brixton market to achieve the same dish. So with the difference saved, I could afford that red velvet cup cake afterall!
But I'd still prefer cooking in Brixton. For starters you are not drenched in sweat as each ingredient bubbles. The cool air gently disperses the red oil as it cooks in the peppered meat stock. Then again, nothing beats the taste of fresh Oha and Okazi. I mean the thousands of miles from Nigerian soil to Brixton market can actually dull the freshness!
The funny thing here, is people are quite surprised when they find out that you can cook the same dish in London. If Remy hair can be shipped from India to London, then why can't Ogiri also make its way there?
Then I suppose Ogiri wouldn't get the same attention as Remy if you were to strategically weave it in your hair. Surely, the smell alone is enough to drive the spirits away! (drive the boys wild?)
Things you need for authentic Ofe Owerri
Pepper | 3 bells fresh, 2 tablespoon dry
Maggi | 4 cubes
Meat | 12 small Beef/goat cuts
Stock Fish | 4 medium pieces
Dry Fish | 2 medium pieces
Ugwu or Oha | 2 medium bunch
Crayfish | ¼ cooking spoon (ground)
Uziza or Ukazi | 1 medium bunch
Ogiri Igbo | 1 small wrap
Palm Oil | 1 cooking spoon
Thickening Flour | 3 tablespoons (cocoyam, cornflour)
Water | enough to cover the pot
Salt | to taste
Things to know about Ofe Owerri
First, it’s very tasty you know (if you don’t like your own cooking – who will?)
Very healthy (as healthy as can be without adding the three heaps of carb over-loadEba on the side)
All Igbo men crave it (hint hint how to get your Igbo man to propose!)
How to make the ‘Best Soup of Your Life’ I mean who wouldn't want this?
Wash the meat thoroughly using a dash of salt and warm water
Soak the dry fish for about 3mins in hot water and salt solution, and then drain the water. Continue washing repeatedly until the water is clear. Remove the bones
Wash the vegetables with a sprinkle of salt and water, drain the water. Using your fingers fritter the Oha/Uziza leaves into small pieces. Cut the Ugwu/Okazi set aside. Remember to only shred the combination vegetable of choice.
Rinse the stockfish with hot water and salt
In a large pot sprinkle 4 cubes of magi into your meat, using your fingers ensure the meat is well coated. And add enough water just to cover the meat. Throw in three whole peppers (washed)
In another pot boil your stockfish (if you like the soup with very strong taste, then add the stockfish to the meat pot to boil now)
After 15mins of boiling the meat, turn the meat over and make sure there is still enough water. Now add the dry fish to the pot, and continue to boil a further 5mins (the meat should not be soft; it should be cooked but hard at this stage. Do not worry if the fish breaks a bit)
Remove the stockfish from the pot (set the water aside) and add into the meat pot. Then continue to boil the meat, stock fish and dry fish for another 5mins
Combine the cocoyam flour with cold water in a small bowl to make a paste
Add the crayfish, ground pepper, and ogiri to the pot. Taste the meat water, now would be the time to add more magi if needed. Add some of the stockfish water. Taste the stock. Then allow to boil for 2mins
Add the cocoyam paste into the pot to thicken the soup
Add the palm (red) oil into the pot. Allow to boil for about 3mins or until the oil is not so thick
Add salt to taste
Finally add the leaves and allow to simmer for 5mins
Serve with Eba, pounded yam, Semolina, Fufu
Hope you enjoy!
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