Sunday, March 18, 2012

The 306th good thing about Lagos: delicious Nigerian food does exist

When a person travels to a different country and especially when someone lives in a different country, they usually make an effort to get familiar with the local cuisine and learn how to cook some local specialities.  I've been quite remiss in that subject with regard to Nigerian food.  I just haven't had good experiences with it.  I do enjoy cooked plantain and jollof rice is usually good.  Brent will eat the pepper soup at the company canteen.  But I haven't had a lot of local food that I find particularly tasty.  But I had a lunch with some really delicious Nigerian food recently, so I know that it does exist.

I attend a weekly Bible study and my small discussion group was invited to the home of a member of our group for Nigerian food.  She is a wonderful person, half Swiss and half Nigerian, and it turns out that she is also a wonderful cook.  I won't mention names here since I haven't asked permission to post pictures on my blog, but we appreciated her hospitality and the time she spent preparing a delicious meal.

 One of the dishes had egusi -- a spinach-like green --- with melon seed.  The seeds of a melon are dried and pounded.  The dish was delicious.  She explained that some of the dishes had a burned kind of taste.  She said that she used a stove to cook, but traditional Nigerian food is cooked over a fire and the smoky taste is something that they are accustomed to and it's part of the flavor of the dish, so she would intentionally burn some things to give it the smoky flavor.  She had fried plantain and jollof rice and dishes with fish, chicken and beef, all with different sauces.  It was all really delicious.

A lot of Nigerian food seems to be quite labor-intensive -- pounding yam and melon seed and all.  But I'm hoping to find some recipes that I will want to try.  The yam that I had at this lunch was in a very tasty sauce, so it was much better than when it usually appears just as a bland blob.

 And then we had a very non-Nigerian and decadent chocolate cake for dessert.  Thank you for a wonderful lunch!

No comments: