Amala or Tuwo with Ewedu Soup and Chicken/beef/fish Stew

Submitted by:
Olanike Deji, Ile Ife, Nigeria
Agriculture

Image Source: Author

Ingredients

Oka:
Amala is made from yam flour and/or unripe plantain flour and/or cassava flour, while Tuwo is made from maize or rice flour. Amala and Tuwo share basic similarities, hence are often referred to as "Oka" in my community.

100cl water
Quantity of flour required depends on the individual's taste ( light or thick)

Ewedu soup:
2 handful of ewedu (jute leaves)
2 or more tablespoonfuls of iru (processed fermented locus beans)
1/2 teaspoonful of salt (depending on individual's taste)
40cl water

Chicken/beef/fish Stew:
1kg chicken/beef/fish meat
500cl blended stew ingredients (tomato, pepper and onion paste)
20cl vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion bulb (1/10 teaspoonful)

Oka:

1. Mix a very small quantity of the flour in a small quantity of cold water and stir until a smooth paste is formed.

2. Heat the 100cl of water in a clean pot to boiling point. Pour the paste inside the boiling water as you use a stirring rod in mixing it. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes while you continue stirring. Then start pouring the flour (the remaining portion not mixed with water) into the boiling mixture slowly, until it forms your desired paste.

3. When the desired paste is formed, continue using the stirring rod in mixing the paste until it is smooth enough for your taste. Then serve the paste on a neat plate.



Ewedu Soup:

1. Wash the jute leaves in clean water at least three times; use knife or blender to chop into smaller pieces.

2. Add iru into the water and heat to boiling point (do not cover the pot to avoid over splitting); add the chopped jute leaves and stir; add salt to taste. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes. Then serve in a plate.



Chicken and or beef and or fish stew:

1. Put a dry clean pot on fire for 30 seconds; pour the vegetable oil and allow to heat up for about 2 minutes; pour the pepper-tomato-onion paste and stir; add salt to taste, cover the pot and allow to boil for about 5 minutes

2. Add the already boiled and seasoned chicken and or beef; add sliced fresh fish or dried fish and add salt and other seasonings to taste, cover and allow to boil for about 20 minutes . Then serve with the ewedu soup.



Traditionally, we use hands to cut the tuwo, use the fingers to mash into bolus; deep the bolus to pick the mixed ewedu and stew, and swallow it. Very delicious meal, especially eating hot.

Background

I can remember struggling with other children (majority of whom are males) to eat the hot dish from the same plates; burning my hand and mouth, on daily basis.
I remember that the dish was very common; it was eaten daily in every household in my community, probably because we don't need to buy most of the ingredients; we usually get them from our farms. Both the poor and the rich households take the dish, at least once daily. But the richness of the dish, the serving and eating methods differ between the poor and the rich households.
My household was very big like many other households, but one of the poorest of the poor in my community. We always take the dish without the protein aspect of it (chicken/beef/fish), except during the festive period in the year. The chicken, bush meat, goats, sheep, and other protein sources as well as the best quality farm produce are usually sold out for cash for other expenditures such as payments for school uniform, social activities to mention a few.
Unlike in the rich households, all the children in my household eat together in group; so each child is forced to learn how to eat fast (despite the hotness of the dish), if not, you go hungry throughout the day. Malnutrition was very common among the children in my community in those days; I still have a picture of my malnourished look during my secondary school days, recently sent to me by one of my classmates.
I learnt how to cook the dish from my mother in my home town (Iseyin) and my aunty in my village/farm settlement (Odo-Ogun) between 1975 and 1987.
There is no specific meaning to the name of the dish. Culturally, it is believed that the dish (Amala or Tuwo, otherwise called Oka) is medicinal, apart from being a good source of energy required for daily farming activities and other energy sapping activities such as transporting farm produce on head and trecking long distances on daily basis. Hence, a common Yoruba adage in my community: "Iyan ni ounje, oka (Amala/Tuwo) ni oogun, a e ri ara ni a n jeko, ki enu o ma dile ni ti guguru." The English translation is: "Pounded yam (iyan) is food (ounje), amala (oka) is medicine (oogun), you eat cold pap (eko) only when there is no other food, pop-corn (guguru) is just a Snacks (ki enu o ma dile)."

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