This week I have been reading Christie Watson's Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, which is a soon to be released novel set in Nigeria. The above paragraph is talking about all the food that is being served up as a wedding feast.**
When I reviewed Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie a few years ago, I mentioned that I feel something of a connection to the country due to the fact that my ex is Nigerian, and therefore my son has some Nigerian heritage. This feeling of connection is still there even though I havenever been to Nigeria and not being able to imagine a situation where I will be visiting there in the future, and also despite the fact that my ex has even less to do with his son than ever.
One thing that I never really did get my head around all that well was the food but as I read through Christie Watson's books I found myself feeling like I might want to eat some Nigerian food, or at least just have a little taste, for the first time in years.
Normally I don't have any real sense of nostalgia around this particular aspect of my life with the ex (or many other aspects either but that is a whole other post). I actually blame that on the quality of the cooks (the ex and all his mates who were all men of a certain age and I am not convinced that any of them were particularly good cooks) rather than the actual food that they were cooking. On one occasion when I ate a similar stew cooked by someone else it was actually really nice, and the last time I went to an international food market I did have some west African food and it was delicious, although a touch too spicy for me.
Another factor for not being really fond of the food was the way they used much more of an animal when they were cooking a stew than I ever would. I was never really sure what it was they were trying to make me eat and he knew that and would often try to give me bits that he knew would squick me out a bit. Apart from tomatoes in the stew there were very few vegetables at all except for okra which I found incredibly slimy, and then finally the fact that I wasn't really all that keen on the eba (powdered cassava) that was such a staple of the food. It kind of looked like mashed potato but was much stickier and much starchier. Often it was eaten with stew by scooping some of the eba into the fingers and then into the stew.
I didn't mind fried plantain, but the main dish that the ex did cook sometimes that I liked, and is mentioned in the above passage, was Jollof Rice and so I thought I would share a recipe for this for today's Weekend Cooking post. The hard thing was finding just one recipe because Jollof Rice does seem to be a pretty common dish through all of West African cuisine, not just in Nigeria.
I thought instead of adding a recipe, I would include a video of someone cooking Jollof Rice, but if you are interested in a recipe, then the recipe that accompanies the video can be found here. One thing that I should mention is that when we used to eat it, we often had it with chicken or some other kind of meat, or with boiled eggs chopped up and stirred through it, or both.
Who knows, maybe I will get brave and try and make some Jollof Rice myself at some point over the next few months.
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.
** This quote was taken from an e-galley and so may have changed when the final book is produced.**