Femi’s Nigerian roots make cooking a relaxed, community affair, where flavours are developed as the dish progresses.
“I was taught to always cook free-style – try anything! We have our staple party food dishes, but everyone has their own ways of making them, and even that may change depending on what they fancy adding on the day!”
“Many of my British friends love it when I make my special Jollof rice for them (see below), but when they ask me for a recipe, I say ,“I don’t have one, I just know how to make it!”
“Nigerians love their parties – every Saturday you’ll most likely find somewhere to go, and it’s not like here where you have to be officially invited – you just turn up – find someone who’s having a party and 10 of us will go along!”
Here are Femi’s recipes (or as much as we could pin her down!) for Nigerian party food. As Femi says “there’s no party without jollof rice!”
Jollof rice, mixed meat stew, fried plantain and Moi Moi (bean pate)
3 ramiro peppers (or you can use bell peppers), roughly chopped
2 onions, quartered
½ scotch bonnet chilli
1 tube Tomato puree
1 tinned chopped tomatoes
1 dessert spoon mixed herbs
2 dessert spoons bouillon
1 dessert spoon Mild curry powder
1 tsp salt
7 small cups long grain rice
- In a blender put the peppers, ½ a chilli, 2 onions, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, ½ a can of water.
- Blend until almost smooth with a little texture
- In a large pan heat two tablespoons of sunflower oil. Add the pepper mixture and fry to reduce the sauce a little. Close the lid and wait for 10-15 minutes
- While you’re frying the pepper mixture, wash the rice
- When the 15 minutes is up, to the pepper mixture add the washed rice, tomato puree, herbs,spices, and salt and mix.
- When it’s well combined, turn the heat down to very low, add boiling water until just covered, cover with a lid and steam for 20 minutes or until cooked.
Mixed meat stew
- Cook enough chicken legs, goat, tripe and cow foot for 8-10 people in a pressure cooker with stock until cooked.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pan and heat
- Add ½ pint of the pepper sauce and boil for a few minutes
- Add the meat and a stock cube and stir to coat
- Place the lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes
- Select some really ripe, soft, yellow plantain
- Peel and Cut into thick diagonal chunks and lay out on a dish
- Sprinkle on a pinch of salt (if desired)
- Fill a wide pan with about 1 inch of oil
- Add the plantain and fry while stirring constantly until golden and crispy
Moi moi (bean pate)
750g black eyed peas
5 tbsp ground crayfish
4 stock cubes
1 habanero pepper
2 tsp ground nutmeg
800g tomato puree
2 big onions
20cl vegetable oil
2 litres of cool or warm water
Salt (to taste)
- Soak and wash the beans to remove their coats.
- Place the beans in a bowl and pour enough water to cover. Leave to soak for three hours.
- Cook the eggs until hard boiled, cut into small pieces and set aside.
- Dice the onions and grind the crayfish.
- Blend the beans, puree, onions, crayfish, habanero pepper and ground nutmeg together with some of the water and pour the mix into a large bowl.
- Add the vegetable oil
- Slowly add the remaining water, eggs and salt and stir the mixture until well combined
- Dish into a medium-sized shallow rectangular container (this will be your mould for the pate)
- Fill a large pan with 1 inch of water (or enough so that the moi moi cooks but doesn’t come in contact with the water), place the moi moi in its container into the water and simmer for 1 hour
- Check that it’s cooked by inserting a knife in the middle. If lots of paste is left on the blade it needs longer. If there is a slight smear, then it’s done