Beef pepper soup recipe courtesy of The Nigerian Cookbook by Miriam Isoun and H.O. Antonio
Ingredients Handy measures
Beef 10-15 pieces
Dry ground red pepper ½ teaspoon
Onion 1 medium
Fresh tomato 2 medium
Tea-bush leaves 15-20 leaves
African black pepper, ground ½ teaspoon
Dry crayfish, ground 2 table spoons
Dry fish, optional 1 small
Salt ½ tea spoon
Cut the beef into chunks. Place in a pot and add pepper, salt and water to cover. Boil on a low heat until the meat is nearly cooked.
Add extra water to cover the meat again.
Add the thinly sliced or ground onion and tomato, coarsely chopped tea-bush leaves and ground dry crayfish. Add the coarsely broken dry fish if desired.
Boil until the meat and other ingredients are cooked, at least 15 minutes. Serve hot with boiled yam or green plantain. If tea-bush leaves are not available, use dried thyme, bitter leaf or any other fresh herb.
Fried Meat recipes courtesy of The Nigerian Cookbook by Miriam Isoun and H.O. Antonio
Fried meat is often prepared from meat as soon as it is brought from the market as it can be stored for some time and used as needed for soups and stews. Fried meat is also popularly served at parties as small chop or with meatless jollof or coconut rice.
Ingredients Handy measure
5 cm chunks of meat 15 pieces Salt ½ teaspoon
Dry ground red pepper ½ teaspoon
Garlic, optional 4 cloves
Ginger, dry or fresh optional ¼ tea spoon
If the meat has been washed before being cut into pieces, further washing is not necessary as it would remove valuable nutrients.
If, however, it was purchased in chunks, a quick rinse in cold water is advisable. Put the meat in a pot with a teaspoon of salt and add water to almost cover.
Boil and then turn the heat down to its lowest point. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender and almost all the water has evaporated ( 40 minutes – 1 hour). A pressure cooker will cut the time in half – follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
Remove the meat and drain well, saving the stock for stews. Coat each piece of meat well with a mixture of salt, dry pepper, crushed garlic, and/or crushed fresh ginger to taste. Deep fry in hot fat until brown on all sides and dry. Care should be taken here as the steam which escapes and the splattering from the water in the meat can be dangerous.
Whenever I travel outside Lagos, I try as much as possible to explore the local cuisine, culture, sights and scenes. However, on a recent trip to Dublin, Ireland I decided I wanted a taste of home instead. It was a long 5-day trip and I can only have so many cold sandwiches and roast turkey before the cravings for soft, smooth pounded yam and egusi soup kicks in. A couple of friends and myself decided to have dinner at Decency African Cuisine Restaurant, located at 40 Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7; phone: +353 1 830 8320. My friends were very excited about the restaurant and spoke about how authentic the food is. But I was not super hopeful, considering that the restaurant recommendation came from my non-Nigerians friends. At the minimum, I figured it will have a fun evening catching-up with old friends.
We took a taxi to the location, and the taxi driver, as can be predicted, was a Nigerian that had spent over 10 years canvassing through Europe for greener pastures, mostly in Italy and Ireland. It was an enjoyable ride with the driver sharing several hilarious adventures and feeling nostalgic about life back home. We eventually got to the restaurant. It is simple, clean and somewhat comfortable. It can easily sit about 12 people but not much room for more than 15 customers. The ambiance is casual with pedestrian wall paintings. We were warmly greeted by the waiter as soon as we walked in and promptly seated. This was refreshing considering the poor service one often experiences in Lagos, but can be explained by us being the only customers. We visited on a Wednesday and my friend mentioned that it is busier on the weekends.
We ordered the Jollof Rice with fried plantain and beef, moin-moin with barbecued fish and more plantains, and pounded yam with vegetable soup. They had a relatively comprehensive menu with additional soups items such as Ogbeno soup, Naala soup, Biter leave soup and Oha soup. See pictures of our orders below. The food came in generous portions. The quality was average. The fried plantains were perfectly golden yellow with just enough salt, but the Jollof rice was dry and the fish was not properly cleaned before grilling. We asked for red stew, a staple in every Nigerian kitchen, but they were out. The total bill came up to 37 Euros (they only accept cash) but bottled water is complimentary in Dublin, which was a nice surprise. Overall, this restaurant is not the place to impress a first date or a key client but I’d suggest it as a nice hang-out spot to enjoy a little taste of home.