I was preparing a red tomato based stew as I have done for many years in the usual way, taught to me by my mother and her mother before her – like many mothers around the world. The process of preparing most Nigerian and African stews and sauces begins with a food processor of any type, such as motorised or manual blenders and mills or any appliance capable of liquefying the fresh vegetable base.
The method of preparing a (for example) tomato stew base is as follows:
Wash and cut/slice/dice red tomatoes
Peel, wash and cut/slice/dice any type or colour onions
Wash, de-stalk then cut/slice/dice red (or any colour) bell peppers or any type of sweet peppers
Wash and de-stalk Ata Rodo ( scotch bonnet or any variety of hot spicy/chilli peppers).
All the ingredients are place in a food processor or blender and liquefied. Depending on the power of the motor, water may be added to the mix to encourage the blending process. Once blended to a smooth consistency, the mixture is cooked off in a pan with heat. The cooking process involves evaporating the fluid from the mixture, adding any variety of cooking oil and seasoning. In some cases, depending on the dish being prepared, the residual paste (from the base mixture) is fried in oil. Once cooked, precooked meats (of all types including fish and meats) and vegetarian proteins (tofu etc) can be added to finish off the cooking process and then consumed with a dish of choice.
Isn’t it ironic that we often prepare the base stew mix with mostly fresh ingredients, yet we season whilst cooking with seasoning laced with chemical ingredients which we can’t pronounce yet, happy to consume?
So, what is your base mix for the Nigerian Red (Tomato) Stew? What else do you add?
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