See How To Do It

Nigerian Yam Porridge, Egusi Soup, and Brown Rice Foufou

Photos by Greta Rybus. You have to check out her blog, Who I Met, with beautiful photos and interviews with wildly interesting everyday people. I simply love it.

This is actually a yam from the Carribean. There are over 150 varieties of yams through out the world, and those are unrelated what Americans call yams! This tasted similar to Nigerian yams, he said, only there was a little bitterness that he didn't recognize.

Interesting. He couldn't find the right kind of smoked fish here for the yam porridge. He found that canned corned beef had a similar effect! Unbelievable! I was scared of it, but was surprised how good it was. He likes how it thickens the sauce slightly.

 Onions and peppers go into the yam porridge. I'd call it beef stew, really, but he insisted on yam porridge! Ooo. This is his secret chili pepper blend, made up of 15 kinds of chili peppers he finds at the marget in Nigeria. Super hot to taste directly, but the beef stew didn't end up what I would call "spicy" at all.

Oscar Mokeme's family gives him grief for cooking. Men don't usually cook in Nigeria!

Here is the yam porridge. Though the crayfish powder added a sea-foody twist that was brand new to me, the concept was beef stew at it's heart. The yams were a lot like potatoes in flavor, only waxier.

Now he is going to prepare the egusi soup, which wasn't actually soup by my definition, more of a cooked vegetable mash, but again, he insisted, the name is egusi soup! And sure enough, online there were a bunch of postings and videos with other Nigerian versions of the recipe. So cool.

 These are ground egusi mellon seeds. The mellon looks a lot like a watermelon on the outside, with differently shaped leaves on the vine. The melon seeds thicken and curdle in hot broth, to look something like cottage cheese. Cool.

Here you have broth just heating up with the egusi powder, palm oil (to make it red), and red onion. Next he will add kale.

 Then bring it all up to a boil and the egusi powder thickens up and sucks up all the broth.

Here it is! You eat this by breaking off pieces of the fou fou (next pic) and scooping up the egusi "soup" with it.

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