Ayamese stew as a Nigerian meal originated from Yoruba land but in recent times everybody has been interested in it because of its unique taste in comparison to other stews and sauces. It is usually paired with local rice from Abakaliki called Ofada rice. Ayamese stew is the hottest of all Nigerian hot and spicy food. It tastes like Vindaloo (Indian Curry) as it is very spicy, seeing that you need a variety of peppers ranging from habanero to bonnet peppers just to prepare a small pot of Ayamese stew and the star of the dish which is fermented locust beans which gives it this strong pungent smell when it is being cooked yet everyone wants to eat it!
- 20 pcs unripe habanero peppers (atarodo, ose oyibo, atarugu)
- 2 green tatashe peppersor green bell peppers
- 6 tablespoons of locust bean (Iru, ogiri okpei or dawadawa)
- 20cl red palm oil (at least)
- 1 big red onion
- ½ cup crayfish
- 850g assorted meat and fish – Beef, Cow tripe, Dry fish,Stock fish, and/or smoked fish.
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 3 bouillon cubes
- Salt to taste
- Wash and blend the peppers with half of the onion. Remember to remove the seeds from the green tatashe or the green bell peppers.
- Pour in a strainer to drain excess water, Some choose to parboil the pepper mixture to remove excess water, this is an unnecessary step as you can achieve the same goal by simply straining.
- Grind the crayfish and the locust bean with a dry mill.
- Season and cook the meat with the stock fish till well done.
- Pour the red palm oil into a clean dry pot and bleach till it turns clear. It should look like vegetable oil when done. It should take about 12 minutes on low to medium heat to bleach but timing depends on the type of heater you have and the quantity of oil.
- It will definitely get smoky, leave the pot covered throughout the bleaching process. If you have a backyard or balcony, gently take the pot out when the oil is bleached. Open the pot and leave outside until all the smoke is gone. If you can’t take the pot outside, turn off the heat, open the pot slightly and leave to rest until all the smoke is gone.
- Return the oil to high heat, chop and add the leftover onion and fry till it gets bit golden.
- Add pepper puree and fry till all remaining water dries up.
- Add the smoked fish, crayfish, locust bean and the parboiled meat with stockfish and stir well.
- Add salt to taste, Decrease the heat to low-medium, cook the sauce until oil floats to the top.
Serving options: Line the plate with Uma or banana leaves.