Ofada Stew is the Jollof Rice of Stews, don't @ me! :l
OK OK OK, it is one of my faves though, and the only stew that might topple it, is a well made Buka Stew. Jury is still out...but apart from rice, have you tried this stew with fried yam???
If you're on a diet, kindly log out now, this post is not for you. :)
I ate Ofada Stew for the first time circa 2006 when i moved to Lagos, and did my best to never pass up any opportunity to eat it after then. I moved to the States and i found a Nigerian grocery store/restaurant that sells pretty decent Ofada Stew but it wasn't my stew, it just wasn't the same. So i braced myself and decided to overcome the fear of permanently setting off my smoke alarm and having to explain myself to a bunch of oyibo firemen, and figured out the safest way to bleach palm oil. It has been joy ever since...
Here's what you'll need to replicate this recipe;
2lbs Assorted Meats - Goat meat, beef, tripe, Ponmo (Cow Skin) - Cubed into 1 inch cuts
Dried Fish & Stock Fish - 1 Cup Each
1/4 Cup Ground Crayfish
Red & Green Bell Peppers - Ratio 3:1 (I used 10 Red Bell & 3 Green Bell Peppers for this stew)
Red & Green Jalapeno Peppers - Ratio 2:1
Habanero Peppers - As much as you can handle
3 Cups Palm Oil
Thumb Size Fresh Ginger
1 Large Red Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Iru/Dawadawa
Salt and 4 Seasoning Cubes
Picture below shows samples of the peppers i used. Yes, no tomatoes at all. Tomatoes will only serve to add excess water and very little color.
Wash meat and cook tough cuts first.
I always cook stockfish together with my tough cuts of meat because i hate chewy tough stockfish.
Bring water almost up to the level of your meat. Add a rough chop of 1/4 of your onion, 2 seasoning cubes, salt (and because i love to set my tongue ablaze, i added some Cameroon Pepper, but you don't have to).
When your tough cuts are halfway cooked, add your fleshier meats like skinless goat meat and beef or any offals (except tripe/shaki) you might be cooking with.
When meat is cooked, separate from stock and set aside.
Blend your peppers with remaining onion, garlic and ginger together using short pulses in order to achieve a rough chop, and not a smooth blend. Notice how it isn't too wet? No tomatoes. :)
Bring to a quick boil and add crayfish so that the flavor permeates the peppers. I don't think this is the Yoruba traditional way, but in my opinion, crayfish elevates the dish.
Cook for 20 minutes, take off the heat and transfer into a bowl.
If you choose to add tomatoes or you blended your peppers with too much water, don't fret. Pour your peppers into a sieve over a bowl. Don't throw out the excess water though, you can still add it to the stew if you need to lighten it a little.
WARNING! PALM OIL IS VERY FLAMMABLE AND BLEACHING PALM OIL IS DANGEROUS. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!
To prevent maximum smoke overtaking your entire house, take a little bit of paper towel or tissue paper, and with the help of a toothpick, stuff the little steam escape hole in the lid of your pot.
Pour oil into pot, cover immediately and turn heat to medium - high.
DO NOT TOUCH THE POT OR LID!
The more your oil bleaches, the more flavor your stew will have. Optimal bleaching time is 7 -10 minutes. Turn off the heat and before you touch the pot, clear a path leading you outside/outdoors. If you must yell at people to get out of your way, do so. LOL. You really don't want to bump into anyone while you're carrying a smoking hot pot of bleached palm oil.
Put the pot down and leave it alone. Do not open it!
After about 10 minutes all the smoke will be gone and it is now safe to open. if you do not have glass lid pots, just go with the timing and you'll be fine.
Perfectly bleached oil will go from bright orange color of palm oil to brown and in some cases, almost clear.
Pot back inside and brought back up to medium heat, add cooked meat & stockfish, introduce dried fish to the party and fry on high heat!
Do not turn your heat to high until after you have added your meats so that the oil doesn't start smoking afresh.
Add peppers and Iru/dawadawa.
Always rinse your dawadawa before use, i however do not rinse off all of the fermentation on it. Don't worry, nothing can survive the heat this stew is about to face.
Mix properly and give it about 15 minutes undisturbed to cook.
Add meat stock if and as needed and season to taste...
You know your stew is ready, when you see your palm oil floating on top of the stew.
Enjoy with rice...
...and golden, delicious dodo...
...and what is rice and Ofada Stew without a boiled egg???
Seriously though, if you haven't, you must try this stew with fried yam. Life changing!