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Ayamase also known as Ofada stew is from the people of Ogun state. This stew is commonly eaten with ofada rice ( unpolished brown rice) hence where it got the name Ofada stew.
My love affair with this stew started 15years ago. My parents had taken us (I, my sis and late bro- God rest his soul) to Ilishan-remo to write entrance examination into Babcock University. The process had taken a long time and we were all hungry so dad and mum decided to go to town to buy food for everyone. They were to get us takeaway as we couldn’t leave the university just yet. So they came back with rice. The rice was wrapped in leaves which wasn’t a big deal as I was accustomed to ‘Mama Ope’ in Ibadan with rice wrapped in leaves. I opened the food to delve into it and was surprised with the colour of the stew..eeewwww. my appetite almost disappeared but I was too hungry so I reluctantly put a spoonful of the food in my mouth after which the food vanished in minutes. I even did a Oliver twist and I started taking the whole entrance thing seriously..lol. I mean who wouldn’t want to school where you can have this delicacy at your fingertips. That was the beginning of my love affair with ayamashe. I called it gbadun stew’ then because that was the name of the woman selling the food in Ilishan. With the love affair came a quest to learn how to make the stew and luck smiled on me when my mum’s friend a caterer who had a restaurant put ofada on her restaurant menu. I humbly went to her and asked her to teach me to cook it. I’ve made some changes to how she taught me and i have perfected gbadun stew over the years. So here we go…
4 large green bell peppers
1 red pepper
9 green scotch bonnet
2 red scotch bonnet
1 brown onion (chopped)
1 red onion
6 tablespoons locust beans (iru) or half cup
1 cup palm oil
2 maggi cubes
Beef and assorted meats ( shaki, ponmo, etc)
1 tablespoon grounded crayfish
Boil the beef and assorted meats. Do not use curry or thyme or any condiments for this if you intend to use the stock for your ayamase as condiments is a no no for this stew.
Blend coarsely the bell peppers, scotch bonnets (leave 1 green scotch bonnet I blended) and red onion. Pour this in a pot and boil leaving the pot uncovered. The boiling process will take out the water in the pepper.
Pour palm oil in a pot, cover the pot and put on heat to bleach the palm oil (Don’t use your best pot for this). The reason for covering the pot is so that the kitchen is not filled with smoke and trigger your smoke alarm. Also it’s not healthy inhaling all that smoke. The palm oil should be bleached in approximately 10minutes. Turn the cooker off after this time and leave the palm oil to cool. Do not open the pot until the palmoil is well cooled. It would take another 10minutes for the palm oil to cool. When the palm oil is cooled, open the pot and do what I call the ‘paper test’ to check if your palm oil is well bleached.
Paper test-Touch the palm oil wit a clean white paper. If it comes out transclucent like the picture below the palm oil is bleached. If the paper comes out red the palmoil is not bleached.
If your palm oil is well bleached, pour it into a fresh pot, put it back on the cooker and add half of the locust(iru). The iru will make the palm oil start foaming and start producing a lovely aroma. Add the chopped onions at this stage and add the already boiled pepper.
Add maggi cubes, stock and salt to taste and leave to fry. Do not cover the pot and also stir frequently.
Add the 1 remaining green scotch bonnet in whole. This was a tip I caught from iya Gbadun as I sometimes used to see whole rodo in my stew when bought from her. I reckon this to give the ayamase extra spicy flavor of the scotch bonnet.
After 3minutes add the beef, assorted meats, and the remaining half of the locust beans (iru) and keep stirring frequently for 5minutes then add the grounded crayfish. Leave for another 2minutes and turn off the heat.
Ayamashe is ready and trust me it’s all worth the trouble!
Enjoy with rice. You can also eat with yam and plantain.
Incase you wondering if i got the admission..oh yes i did. The love of the food was enough motivation????