Today’s Nigerian rice & stew recipe has nothing to do with cupid but Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and people sometimes ask me “When are you going to share Nigerian recipes?” I usually hem and haw around the answer for a few reasons. Firstly, we Nigerians can be a pretty critical people. And who wants to get dragged on the internet? Not me! Secondly, everybody has their own way of doing things and I was nervous about sharing. The way my aunties taught me is likely at least a little different from how another person learned. Even from one aunty to another, it’s not the same!
For this reason, I enlisted two of the star Naija chefs in my family to make sure I bring y’all the best representation of how we make Nigerian rice & stew. My Aunty Toyin is the boss when it comes to jollof, pepper soup, and any other delicacy you can imagine. I grew up living five minutes from her, so just about everything I know about Nigerian cooking is through observation in her kitchen. She knows what she’s doing and I wanted to do our family name some justice whenever I did share. I mean, she tasted a single grain from my first-ever batch of jollof (which I made in her kitchen, by the way) and said “It needs salt.” #goals I also called up my Aunty Faosat, who lives in Georgia, and she shared her tips from her perspective as a former restaurateur, which were so on point! She actually talked me through the batch you’ll see here over the phone. Now, I know that everyone may not be in agreement with the methods I share so I’m putting the disclaimer out there that this is how it’s done in my family. I’m also easing into things with a very basic recipe: rice and stew. The rice is self-explanatory but the stew is a classic. It’s actually the foundation for the coveted jollof rice that has recently become the topic of a
foolish fiery debate between a few West African nations. Spoiler alert: there really is no debate! Nigerians do jollof best. #sorrynotsorry
Anyway, back to the recipe. There are two things you need to know about how my family does stew: spicy and thick. The longer you cook stew, the thicker it gets, as more and more of the water is released through steam from the blended veggies that form the base. The flavor also deepens. We like ours cooked well [but not burned]. We also like a high spice level. The kick in this Nigerian rice & stew is from habanero or scotch bonnet peppers and we toss in anywhere from two to four but feel free to dial that back (or up) as you see fit. You can also start out with just one then add cayenne powder to your taste when adding the spices.
We’re about halfway through Black History Month and I should have another Nigerian recipe up my sleeve before the month is up. If it doesn’t make it before February 28th, I’ll still share. It’s just a crazy busy month, this week in particular with my housewarming being on Saturday so please bear with me. 🙂 The remaining posts this week will be related to housewarming gifts and hosting, and the first peek at the house via my bathroom makeover!
I hope you’ll try this Nigerian rice & stew out and let me know your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!
- 6 Roma tomatoes
- 3/4 white onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers
- 2 chicken bullion cubes crushed
- curry powder to taste
- black pepper to taste
- white pepper to taste
- sea salt to taste
- oil I use olive oil
- 1 rounded tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 small can tomato sauce
- splash of water
- 6 pieces meat of your choice I used chicken drumsticks
- 6 cups cooked rice I use brown rice
Add tomatoes, peppers, 1/2 onion, and splash of water to a blender and liquefy.
Pour mixture into a large pot over to cook over medium-high heat. Stir in tomato paste and sauce. Let this cook, stirring regularly and reduce heat to medium if it begins to splatter too much.
Meanwhile, slice the remaining onion and add it, the chicken, bullion, and spices to another pot and cook over medium to medium-high heat. Let cook for about ten minutes or until chicken starts changing color and releasing juices. Remove chicken and liquid from pot and set aside.
Add oil to the pot and heat for a few minutes then return chicken and allow to cook and brown.
The tomato mixture should be bubbling, thickened, and darker in color. Continue stirring to release more of the liquid. Once the chicken is browned to your liking, add the tomato mixture to it and stir to combine. The oil that cooked the chicken will cook the raw tomato taste out of the stew.
Next, add back the liquid from cooking the chicken a bit at a time until you achieve your desired flavor. The bullion has a lot of salt so you may not need to add all of it.
Continue cooking until the stew reaches your desired consistency and some of the oil dissipates. If desired, spoon out any excess oil upon completion.