I have had this recipe for a long time now, just mulling over it in my head. You all know I had an awesome childhood 😀 which was filled with fun, food, hugs, great food, family…large fun family. Part of the fun was going to the village for Christmas and it was on one of these occasions that I encountered this lovely rice.
Having come from a large but closely knit family, I have practically 5 mothers, 10 grandmothers and erm…countless cousins, lol! Thing is, as long as we are related by blood especially on my mother’s side, we simply grouped you into an age rage of either mummy, anty, uncle, cousin or grandma 🙂 . It was one of these grandmas that hosted my cousins and I one Christmas like that. A really old woman that was well near 80 years if not a little older, yet she cooked the rice for us herself and was glad to host us. We arrived at her hut (probably a regular house, I don’t remember but I want to make it nollywoodish ) at about 12 noon excited to be eating village rice for the first time. We were hosted alot as kids in the village, people loved my family, saw us as exposed as per education, English speaking and they loved our noses 😀 lol! Seriously, they literally loved our noses and talked about it all the time..lol!
Anyway, the rice looked simple, soft and gummed together but one of the most delicious jollof rice I had ever tasted, little wonder I haven’t forgotten it. You could tell it didn’t have alot of ingredients in it but it honestly tasted good. Apparently a foodie in the making, now I realise why going home that day, all I did was ponder how rice made with probably two or three ingredients tasted that good.
The ingredients my 10ish year old tongue could detect at the time were okpei, dry fish and palm oil to me then but now I know it’s freshly squeezed palm fruits used in making ofe akwu/banga that she used.
So her original ingredients were:
Fresh akwu/ palm kernel juice
Definitely Maggi cubes
My ingredients: serves 6-8
1 whole chicken (old layer…a very fertile old layer, lol)
1 litre of akwu juice (fresh palm kernel juice)
3 cups rice
5 medium sized tomatoes
4 shombo (local chilli)
3 fresh pepper/atarodo
1 1/2 knobs of okpei
1/2 cup whole crayfish
2 dry Bonga fish
Handful dry smoked prawns/okporo
350ml chicken stock (gotten from my fertile old layer)
1 cup water
2 Maggi crayfish cubes
1 teaspoon dry Cameroon pepper *optional
Fresh curry (basil) leaves
Salt to taste
Phew! Definitely many ingredients!
Wash and portion chicken. Season with 1 Maggi crayfish cube, salt and dry Cameroon pepper. Add water as needed until cooked just make sure you have 250ml-350ml of chicken stock left.
Blend tomato, fresh pepper, okpei, cleaned shombo and tatashe with 1 cup of water, set aside.
Soak bonga fish in salt hot water for 3 minutes, debone carefully, set aside.
In a large pot, combine the akwu juice, tomato blend and meat stock. Once it starts boiling, add 1 Maggi cube and some salt. It should be a bit salty so as the rice cooks, swells and absorbs the salt, you will still have a tasty dish once it’s done.
Stir well, add uncooked washed rice and stir again and allow it to cook undisturbed. Share the bonga fish into 2 and throw 1 portion over the rice.
Fry chicken lightly, set aside.
Once the rice is almost done, add the remaining bonga fish and the okporo on top.
Once the rice is done, add the fresh curry (basil) leaves then stir until incorporated.
Enjoy the rest of the week!