How to make Ofada Stew

How to make Ofada Stew

Ayamase popularly known as Ofada Stew is a local stew served with Ofada rice(a variety of rice grown in South-West Nigeria). The stew is made from bleaching palm oil until transparent, and then frying a coarse mix of blended onions and pepper. It is accompanied with iru (locust beans), Shawa (Atlantic Herring) or panla (stock fish), fried diced assorted meat, blended crayfish and dry pepper. All these ingredients combined uniquely add to the authenticness of Ofada Stew.

Traditionally, Ofada stew is typically eaten with Ofada rice. Others opt for plain rice, as the strong smell of Ofada can be overwhelming. The taste is also an acquired one. Personally, I think Ofada Stew is great with both types of rice 🍚 However, you will mostly find me with a bowl of plain white rice unless i’m absolutely craving the real deal.

That being said, here’s how I make my Ofada Stew.

I start by boiling my protein, as this takes a while. Goat meat and Cow shaki (tripe) are my preferred options. I usually boil my meat with a combination of blended onions, ginger, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper (rodo), thyme, curry and seasoning cubes.

I boil it till it’s soft enough and falling off the bone, but not soft enough to shatter in the pot. While my meat is boiling, I bleach my palm oil.

The first stage to making this authentic dish is to bleach the palm oil. The key to a great outcome is the palm oil, otherwise you might as well be making ordinary palm oil stew.

I start by bleaching my oil on high heat in a wide covered pot, then I turn down the heat while leaving the pot covered. The bleaching process takes about 10 minutes, after which I turn off the cooker and leave the oil to cool.

Note: never open the pot indoors as it is DANGEROUS!!! Unless you don’t mind some oil scars, then do so at your own risk.

Boiled Meat

When the meat is cooked as shown above, dice into pieces. I like mine diced into small chunks, while some people prefer bigger chunks of meat.

The meat is then fried in the bleached oil as shown in the photos below.

When the meat is fried, I proceed to boiling out the water in my pepper mixture. This makes it easier to dry the stew, when frying it in the oil.

When the pepper mix is dry as shown above (not too dry), I add in the bleached oil and continue frying on medium low heat. Ofada Stew is quite a tasking process and requires a lot of patience for that authentic outcome. So don’t be in a hurry to leave your kitchen. Instead get comfortable.

When the stew is half way cooked, add in your soaked shawa or panla, so that it absorbs the flavor of the stew while softening.

Add in your beef stock and simmer for a few minutes, then add in locust beans.

When stew is almost done, add in dry pepper and continue to cook on low heat for about 15 minutes until well dried.

Add blended crayfish and let simmer. Now your stew is cooked an all you need to do is add that yummy fried protein.

I add the fried meat at the end, so that it’s still nice and crunchy. You only need a few minutes on the stove for your meat to absorb all the flavors of this heart dish.

Ofada Stew for me is best days after. It’s great on the first day, but I love when it’s been reheated times without number after being cooked.

I served this beautiful stew with some Ofada rice balls. Will you be trying this anytime soon? Let me know if you do.

Full recipe below

Ingredients

2-3 cups palm oil

4 large onions

10 tomatoes

4 shombo pepper 

20 Ata rodo (scotch bonnet)

Panla

1/4 cup iru

Dry Pepper

For protein

4 1/2 seasoning cube

1 onion

Thumb Ginger

Garlic

Thyme

Curry powder

Meat

Shaki

Method

Boil meat and shaki with seasoning cubes, blended onions, scotch bonnet, garlic, ginger, thyme, curry powder.

Bleach palm oil and leave to cool.

Dice meat and fry in bleached oil.

Blend peppers, tomatoes, onions coarsely.

Fry blended peppers until water has evaporated. Then add bleached oil and continue to cook on low heat.

Add in soaked shawa or panla and let simmer.

Add in your beef stock and simmer for a few minutes, then add in locust beans.

Add dry pepper and let simmer a few minutes. Then add blended cray fish and simmer again.

When stew is dry, add in fried meat and leave to simmer extra five minutes.

Enjoy with side of choice.

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