I have been in Abuja the past few days visiting family and though I grew up in the north, l suddenly realised the region is blessed with a variety of staples. Eggplants, zucchini, Chinese cabbage, beetroot, raddish, tangelo, marrow, baby marrow, leeks, parsley, cilantro … the list goes on. While all these vegetables are found here in Lagos, their prices usually scare people off whereas in Abuja you get to buy them in regular markets with prices ranging from NGN 100-NGN 350 which is very reasonable.
And so the Lagosian in me had to take advantage of the situation and bought as many of these vegetables as I could carry. Luckily they stayed fresh and so today I will share one of the dishes I made.
When I say Marrow, most people’s minds go to bone marrow :-D! Marrow is best described as an over grown Cucumber. It Comes in 3 forms and are called different names depending at what stage it was harvested. They are called Courgettes when they are 14 x 4 cm long, the size of a cigar. Zucchinis or baby marrow when the same plant is harvested at 15 to 20 cm long. Marrows are the semi-mature fruits which have reached full size. As an Ibo girl I bought the marrow 🙂 quantity mehn!.
l first saw this recipe made for expatriates in a company I once worked for. I have tropicalized it by substituting most of the spices. I also found the Marrow tastes a bit too strong so l blanche it now in hot water and a teaspoon of salt for 10 minutes before adding it to the sauce, if you’ve got acquired taste though you can go ahead and use it unblanched!.
Ingredients : (Serves 4)
1/2 large marrow (washed and cubed)
1 Kilo of beef (washed and cubed)
5 medium sized carrots (washed and sliced)
1 large green pepper (washed and chopped)
l large atarodo (washed and chopped just to add a bit of red to the sauce)*optional
1 large onion ( washed and sliced)
2 tablespoons of chopped spring onions
l small bulb of garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 teaspoon Cameroon pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dry meat spice
2 cubes Maggi crayfish
l cube Maggi
2 tablespoons corn flour
l tablespoon dark Soy Sauce
Salt to taste
Combine the beef , half the onions, l cube of Maggi crayfish, l Maggi cube, garlic, ginger, thyme, black pepper, Cameroon pepper and meat spice in a pot and cook until tender.
Monitor the water content of the beef. At every point there should be stock because that will form the Sauce’s juice.
In a small bowl mix the cornflour and soy sauce together using half a cup of water, this depends on the quantity of sauce you want.
When the beef is tender enough, add the marrow and a pinch of thyme, stir and allow to boil for a minute.
Add the carrots, Maggi crayfish cube and remaining onions stir and allow to boil for 2 minutes then add the spring onions, atarodo and green pepper.
Pour the cornflour mixture, stir and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
You can add more water depending on how thick you want the sauce to be, taste for salt.
Serve hot with basmatic rice.
*Please note that once the beef is cooked you have about 6 minutes to finish the sauce so the vegetables don’t get overcooked. l advice you cut all your veggies down, have everything you need within reach before you start or while the beef is boiling.