How to Cook Palm Oil Stew
If you were raised in a Nigerian household, you would understand the phrase “Sunday is for rice and stew”. If this was not on the menu for lunch on Sundays after church, then it is either someone took the sun out of Sunday and put a different prefix. It’s a tradition of sorts that is followed religiously in most Nigerian homes.
However, eating the same stew style every time must eventually get boring. Which was exactly what happened to me, so I decided to experiment.
I tried cooking my stew for the first time using palm oil, and to be honest, it was a disaster. I later found out what I did wrongly whilst preparing the stew, and with a little help from a friend that hails from Delta state, I got it right. The only major difference between this stew and the regular stew is that the tomato puree is fried in red oil. But enough talking, let us get down to it.
Here’s a list of ingredients that you need in order to prepare palm oil stew in most cases:
- 7 bell peppers
- 4 cooking spoons of red oil
- 4-6 boiled eggs
- Assorted meat (Beef and shaki)
- Dried catfish fillets or shawa fillets
- 5 medium-sized firm tomatoes
- 2 big onions
- 4 tablespoons of crayfish powder
- 4 seasoning cubes
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of curry
- 1 cup dried prawns
- 3 scotch bonnets (Ata Rodo)
Preparation Steps for Palm Oil Stew
- Wash your bell peppers, tomatoes, scotch bonnet, and one onion bulb. Blend with very little water so that it has a consistency that is thick and coarse. Set aside.
- Put some water to boil, get the dried catfish fillets, debone it, and remove the entrails, then place it in a bowl. Pour the hot water into the bowl and allow it to soak for 5 minutes so that it can soften. Drain the water afterward and keep it aside.
- Wash your meat and shaki. Put it in the pot meant for cooking the stew. Cut the onion and chop one of the halves. Season the beef with half a table spoon of salt, one seasoning cube, chopped onions, and curry. Mix properly, then place on the stove with low heat. This process gives flavor to the meat and makes the meat release its juices, which will be used to cook it, till it dries completely. When it is dried, add water, at least two inches above the meat. Also, add the dried fish and allow it to boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the light and empty the contents of the pot into another bowl.
- Once this is done, pour the red oil into the pot and heat it till it is translucent. Ensure that you carry out this process in low heat. This is to avoid your pot going up in flames. Once it is translucent, take a pinch of salt, and sprinkle in the oil. Pour in the remaining half of the chopped onions, and allow the onion to fry for 1 minute. Add the ground tomato, pepper and onions and stir in low heat.
- Keep frying till the tomato is fried, add your meat, fish and meat stock. Also, add the prawns, seasoning cube, and ground crayfish. Add a little water if it is too thick and allow it to boil for an extra 5 minutes.
- Once this is done, add the boiled eggs and turn off the heat.
Most people enjoy eating their palm oil stew a day later because by then the stew would have drenched the egg completely. The taste of the outcome is quite heavenly. Palm oil stew can be eaten with white rice or boiled yam.