Food has always been a part of my life, family and soul. Ever since I was a little girl there hasn’t been a single occasion that didn’t include a feast of dishes. Food brings people together, makes people happy and whether we like it or not, it always magically becomes that central topic that we
Food has always been a part of my life, family and soul. Ever since I was a little girl there hasn’t been a single occasion that didn’t include a feast of dishes. Food brings people together, makes people happy and whether we like it or not, it always magically becomes that central topic that we talk about. Although I believe all food has such great power, there are a few dishes that raise special memories. Every time I cook these dishes for my family and friends it only takes one smell for me to go back to Nigeria, to my childhood.
As a big pot of stock was boiling on the stove I’d jump up and down to see what was being chopped on the kitchen counter. Festive music was playing on the background, so I knew that visitors were coming and that we were preparing for a feast. When I finally managed to get a glimpse of the kitchen counter products the colors were overwhelming. You’d think that this knowledge would calm me down, but no, in fact I was even happier and more energetic. Those were the ingredient colors for Nigerian Fried Rice and that could only mean one thing: it was time for a celebration!
As a travelling enthusiast I’ve learned that in so many cultures a celebration is always bound to a special occasion. A birthday, a graduation, an engagement or a job promotion would lead to inviting friends and family to celebrate. I always wondered why this was necessary, to only come together and celebrate (with food) when something special happens in our lives. You see, the food that was being prepared that night wasn’t for any specific occasion. In fact, countless dishes were being prepared, while we were only expecting a few people to come over. Being just a young girl I was of course eager to know what was happening that night and so I asked what occasion there was, to cook so much food. That’s when I received a reply that embraces my love for food until this very moment: “We are cooking and eating for no specific occasion dear Ebere, just to celebrate life.”
Recipe: Nigerian Fried Rice
1 sachet/2 teaspoon Ataro West African Seasoning Mix
250 gram rice
0.5 litre chicken stock or water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small sized onion, diced
1 medium sized Carrot, diced
2 long fresh green beans, diced
1/2 small green pepper, diced
1 spring onion
25 grams sweet corn
25 grams green peas
Wash rice with hot water until the water runs clear and drain.
Pour water and chicken stock into a clean pan.
Add onions, spices and seasoning and allow the mixture to boil for 5 minutes.
Pour in the rice and cook until the rice is soft and all the water has been absorbed.
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions
Add spring onions, green beans, carrots and allow to sauté for 2 minutes.
Pour in the cooked rice and stir well.
Add the green pepper, red pepper and sweet corn and stir again, making sure that everything is mixed well together.
Bring down from the heat and serve
§ You may need to adjust the water content depending on the type of rice you prefer to use
§ Make sure that the water is completely absorbed before frying the rice (to avoid sogginess)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
I’m a food entrepreneur, former restaurant owner and a food business trainer. I help food lovers and enthusiasts around the world to learn about the food and culture of West Africa, with a particular focus on Nigeria.