It is my very firm (and non-professional) opinion that peppersoup cures all ills.
Got a cold? Have some peppersoup.
Feeling down in the dumps and need a pick me up? Have some peppersoup.
Had your heart broken? HAVE SOME PEPPERSOUP.
It is just so delicious and light and medicinal and you can have it any way you want, whether that be with meat, fish or even with just vegetables.
It’s a very popular dish in Nigeria (and other West African countries) and as such most of the ingredients will need to be purchased from an Afro-Caribbean grocery store.
I feel I have to warn you, this soup is very spicy (it says it right in the name) and is not for the faint of heart. So proceed at your own peril!
- 600g Goat Meat or Beef, cut into small chunks
- 1 Large Onion, julienne
- 200g Closed Cup Button Mushrooms, sliced in half
- 2 Scotch Bonnets, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp Peppersoup seasoning
- 2 tbsp Ground Crayfish
- 1 handful of Dried Scent Leaves, crushed with stems removed
- 3 seasoning cubes (Maggi/Knorr)
- 1 Clove of Garlic, crushed
- 1tsp Ginger Powder
- ½ tsp Crushed Black Pepper
- Cooking Salt, to taste
Prep time – 5 mins
- In a bowl, wash the meat in warm water with a dash of vinegar/lemon juice.
- Put the meat in a pressure pot, add the onions and season with garlic, ginger and 2 of the seasoning cubes.
Cooking time – 25 mins
- Cover the meat with water and bring the pressure cooker to the boil on medium/high heat.
- Once the meat starts boiling, close the cooker and cook under pressure for a further 5-7 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and remove the pressure by releasing the steam.
- Transfer the meat and stock to a saucepan and put on low heat.
- Add some more water to the pot to cover at least an inch above the meat.
- Add the mushrooms, peppersoup seasoning, ground crayfish, dried scent leaves, seasoning cube and black pepper to the pot and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Extra tip: Substitute the meat for catfish and have your whole life changed.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you don’t know, I am very Nigerian. I was born in Lagos and moved here to the U.K when I was eight years old.
Despite spending my adolescent years over here, I am still very much ruled by the Nigerian upbringing and culture imbibed in me during my formative years.
And that also translates into the types of food I like to eat.
I love different types of cuisines and flavours but honestly, none of it holds a candle to Nigerian food.
One common theme in any kind of cuisine is my love for finger-foods/starters/hors-d’oeuvres, whatever you want to call it- Nigerians call them “small chops”. Any kind of savoury meat snack; whew, sign me up!
Another great part of being Nigerian is that we use almost all the parts of the animals we eat so I am no stranger to eating offal. In fact, I find it very, very delicious. This recipe calls for chicken/turkey gizzard (which is a thick muscular part of a bird’s stomach). It can be purchased at most halal butchers and is quite cheap. The “dodo” part of the recipe is what we Nigerians affectionately call fried plantain. They can be purchased at most Afro-Caribbean grocery stores and are also relatively cheap.
An important point to make is that with most of my recipes that call for any type of meat to be boiled, it will always be done in a pressure cooker (because honestly who has 28,407 hours to sit there and watch meat boil amiright?)
- Chicken or Turkey Gizzard
- 1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 2 Medium Onions
- 2 Plantains
- 3 tbsp of Rapeseed Oil
- 1 clove of Garlic (chopped into fine pieces)
- 2 Scotch Bonnets
- 4 stock cube (maggi/knorr)
- 1 tsp of Basil
- 1 tsp of Thyme
- 1 tsp of Curry Powder
- A pinch of Nutmeg
- Enough oil to shallow fry the plantain
Prep time – 15 mins
- Rinse the gizzard in a bowl of warm water and a splash of vinegar.
- Using a sharp knife, chop the gizzard into smaller bitesize pieces and place in the pressure cooker.
- Chop 1 medium onion and 1 scotch bonnet and add to the gizzard.
- Season with 2 stock cubes and garlic and stir.
- Close the cooker and put it on medium-high heat. Once the valve on the cooker starts hissing (indicating that it’s cooking under pressure), lower the heat and leave to cook for a further 5-7 minutes.
Cooking time – 20 mins
Cooking (sauce for gizzard):
- Blend together the chopped tomato, bell pepper, medium onion and scotch bonnet until smooth.
- In a saucepan, heat the rapeseed oil on medium-high heat (but do not let it start to smoke) and once hot enough, pour in the tomato mixture to fry.
- Fry the mixture for 5-7 minutes and lower the heat for it to continue simmering for an additional 10 minutes.
- Season with the remaining stock cubes, basil, thyme, curry powder and nutmeg and let simmer on low heat for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked gizzard to the mixture and set aside.
Cooking time – 15 mins
- If you’ve never peeled a plantain before, please visit HERE.
- Once peeled, slice the plantain down the middle into two halves. Next, take the two halves and slice each down the middle again into longitudinal quarters and then slice each long quarter into bite-sized chunks.
- Shallow fry the plantain until browned all over and drain on some kitchen towels to remove the excess oil.
- Add the fried plantain to the gizzard mix and stir until the sauce covers all the plantain.
Extra tip: some people fry the cooked gizzard before adding it to the tomato mix but patience is not one of my strong points and I cannot come and die.
Egg vs Eggs.
I don’t know whether it’s a Nigerian thing, or a Victoria thing (most likely the former), but there is a huge difference in making eggs (sunny side up, scrambled, poached, Benedict) and making egg.
Let me explain:
Eggs are a delightful dish that you can add to other breakfast items to make a hearty meal that will give you the energy needed to face the day ahead.
Egg can be an entire meal in and of itself- filled with mouthwatering tomatoes, onions and spices and is usually paired with yam or plantain.
Now before you tell me “it sounds like an omelette”, technically, yes it is one but it also isn’t….okay?
Plantain and Egg is honestly my favourite thing to eat mid-morning on a day where I don’t have any spectacular plans. Mostly because it sends me right back to bed for a cat nap.
A very important point to also note is that in this entire world, there is no one and I mean NO ONE- not my mother, any of my aunties, friends or foes- that can make plantain and egg better than I can. And that is an absolute fact.
Argue with your ancestors.
(feeds two people)
- 2 Ripe Plantains (the riper the better)
- 4 Eggs (if large eggs, then use 3)
- 1 Onion (white or red)
- 2 Vine Tomatoes
- A Tin of Sardines
- 1 Scotch Bonnet
- Sunflower oil
- 1 stock cube (maggi/knorr)
- Salt (to taste)
- Mixed Herbs (a pinch)
Prep time – 10 mins
- Peel the skin from the plantain and cut at an angle to create slices of your desired thickness. To be honest it doesn’t matter too much how you cut plantain- cut it according to how you like to eat it.
- Slice the onions and tomatoes and put in a bowl
- Finely chop up the scotch bonnet and put in the same bowl
- Open the sardines, drain the excess oil and crush into smaller pieces. Again, there is no hard and fast rule about how many sardines one should use- let your spirit guide you.
Cooking time – 30 mins
- In a clean, dry, deep pan, measure out enough oil to shallow fry the plantain. As a healthier alternative, I have a Phillips Air Fryer that allows me to cook food without the use of oil and achieve somewhat similar results.
- Heat the oil, but don’t wait for it to get too hot before adding the plantain, otherwise the outside of the plantain will burn faster than the middle cooks.
- In another shallow frying pan, add 4 tablespoons of oil and put on high heat.
- Once hot enough, add the tomatoes, onions and scotch bonnet and fry until the onions become translucent (3-5 minutes).
- Add the stock cube, pinch of mixed herbs and sardines to the tomato and onion mix and lower the heat.
- Make sure to keep an eye on the plantain. Once it has achieved the level of brownness you like (usually 7-9 minutes), flip each plantain over so the other side can cook.
- In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and a pinch of salt and whisk together and pour into the frying pan with tomatoes and onion mix.
- At this point it’s most likely time to remove the plantain. Put in a bowl lined with kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.
- Leave the egg mixture to cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Once it has begun to solidify at the bottom, take care to flip the mixture over so the other side can cook. I use a wide spatula to flip the egg over in sections so it retains it’s ‘togetherness’ as much as possible.
- Cook for a further 7-10 mins on medium-low heat, flipping the sections as needed until the egg has been cooked through.
- Put the plantain on a plate and place the egg on top of the plantain.
Extra tip: there isn’t one. That’s how perfect this meal is.