Tired Of Repeating Same Food During Lockdown Period? 10 Food Varieties To Try Out

Have you been ransacking your kitchen like someone who lost her last #1000 or racking your brain and wondering what other foods can you eat aside Rice, Beans, Eba and the regulars? No worries KOKOFoodies, we are breaking that table today!
The lockdown and stay home order has brought us to the reality of life that we’ve just been eating the same food over and over, recycling the food stuffs to arrive at the same destination of food. Now, we are all tired and can’t even think of any more thing to eat.  We’ve suddenly lost appetite for the delicious rice and stew and the think-tank is not even sure what idea to give.
On this note today, we are going into a rollercoaster of exploration, looking at 10 varieties of Food to try out amidst the lockdown, even from the regular food stuffs we have stocked in the kitchen and/or store.We will be looking at three foodstuffs – Rice, Eba and Garri, and the varieties we can derive from them. So leggo with RICE!
1. Rice: is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia and Africa. It is said to be the third-highest worldwide produced agricultural produce (741.5 million tonnes in 2014) after sugarcane (1.9 billion tonnes) and maize (1.0 billion tonnes). If we are to mention foods, Rice will be on the top 5, which means it is also widely consumed as widely grown. To start with, there are varieties of foods you can turn your rice to, based on the ingredients used – Coconut rice, Fried rice, Jollof rice, Wanke, Ofada, Rice and beans, and the type of rice used – Basmati Rice, Thai rice and many more. There are further more variants of some certain types of rice, for instance, there is Coconut rice and their is Coconut fried rice, you gorrit? Do switch from the normal rice and stew and rice and beans to fried rice or coconut rice to feed yourself something different.
a. Wanke: to prepare the Hausa/Ghanaian brown rice, you need a cup of dried black eyed beans peas soaked overnight, 2 cups rice, 8 to 10 dried millet stalk leaves and salt to taste. Brew the millet leaf stalks on high heat that the water changes to a deep wine colour. Rinse the soaked beans and add in to the boiling water. Cover and let it cook till almost tender. Meanwhile wash the rice and set aside. When the beans is tender (not to doft that it becomes a mash though), add in the washed rice, put salt to taste and add more water, if need be. Stir so the rice mixes well with the beans and cover tightly. Don’t remove the millet stalk leaves until the rice boils. When the rice boils, reduce the heat and simmer till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked throughly. Rest for three to five minutes, then remove millet stalk leaves. Wanke is ready, something away from the usual!
b. Coconut Rice: this is so easy to prepare and most preferably, the natural milk from the coconut is more advisable to be used, in the stead of the preserved one. For this you need your rice, coconut milk, scotch bonnets (ata rodo), thyme, curry powder, seasoning, bay leaf(optional), diced onions, chicken or beef stock, diced green bell pepper (orange, yellow or red bell peppers can also be used), crayfish (optional), fish, beef, chicken, shrimps and what have you, then coconut oil or any other cooking oil. If you are using chicken, wash, dice it into small portions and boil with seasoning, salt, thyme, curry powder, onions, scotch bonnet and bay leaf. Stir, cover, and cook for 15 minutes then separate the chicken from the stock and set aside. In a clean pot, preheat the coconut oil, add the onion and stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Add in the coconut milk, stock (from the chicken and if there is no stock, it is just fine!), crayfish and habanero peppers and leave to boil for about 5 minutes. Add in the washed and drained rice and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Quickly throw in the shrimps, green bell peppers, and chicken. Cover it up immediately and let it cook on a low heat for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for 5 minutes before opening the lid. Stir together. Serve and enjoy!
c. Coconut Fried Rice: As for this, it takes a combined process of fried rice and coconut rice as above. So first, fry your wash all the vegetables, then, dice the onions, peel and dice the carrots, remove the seeds of the green bell peppers & cut into small cubes. While doing this, boil the chicken and keep the stock for use. Then, boil the carrots & green peas for 5 minutes, strain out and place in a bowl of cold water to cool , then pour into a sieve and set aside.This method is called blanching – it helps to parboil the vegetables without cooking it throughly, thereby cutting down the stir-frying process. It also helps to preserve the vibrant color of the vegetables.. Now, like in Coconut rice above, preheat the coconut oil, add the onion and stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Add in the coconut milk, pour in the chicken stock and boil. As all begin to boil, add in the parboiled or washed rice (the stock should be at almost the same level as the rice, so that it dries up completely when the rice is done. You can add some water if the stock won’t be enough to cook the rice), curry, garlic powder, fried rice seasoning, onions and salt to taste. Leave to cook on medium heat until it’s done. The cooked rice should not be soggy or too tender and the grains shouldn’t stick together either. Set the rice aside then heat up the vegetable oil to fry the carrots, peas, green bell pepper and diced liver/meat, then add a little white/black pepper, garlic, curry &seasoning cube to taste and stir fry for 1 min.
Add in the cooked rice in the stir-fried mix and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan, make sure there is a little space in the pan so that you can move the rice around the pan for even distribution of heat.  If this means you have to add in the rice in batches, you are good to go! Repeat the process for the remaining rice and veggie mix, then your Coconut fried rice is done! The basis here is the Coconut milk and coconut oil.
d. Beetroot Rice: Beetroot is a root vegetable also known as red beet, table beet, garden beet, or just beet. It is packed with essential nutrients such as fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. It is a large and fleshy root eaten as a vegetable, with a superficial, thin and smooth skin which has a wide range of colours, from purple-pink and reddish-orange to a brownish tone. The pulp has a sweet taste and it is usually of a dark crimson red colour with purple tinges. Brewing beetroot with rice is a sure dynamic from the daily rice we eat. To prepare beetroot rice, you need white rice, beetroot, salt to taste, green peas and parsley. Wash and peel the skin of beetroot and cut into big chunks. Boil washed/parboiled rice in water with salt and add in the beetroot. Cook the rice until it is soft but not marshy, then remove beetroot in rice and shred. While waiting for the rice to boil, soak the green peas in hot water and blanch (as explained in Coconut fried rice above ) for 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the green peas to the rice and leave to boil for some more minutes, Beetroot rice is done! Serve hot with stew or sauce of your choice. You may add the shredded beetroot and garnish with parsley.
2. Beans: many people do not like Beans, a very rich source of protein. Like rice, beans is one of the longest-cultivated plants and can be cooked in many different ways, including boiling, frying, and baking. From Beans, we can get Ekuru, Moin-moin, Akara, Gbegiri, Beans Porridge, Ekuru(Ofuloju), Ewa Agaiin, Adalu (Beans with Corn), Alapa (Moin-moin-like food grinded with roasted melon).
a. Ekuru: this is a variant of beans made like moin-moin but usually doesn’t contain salt and pepper. It is also called Ofuloju in Yoruba (meaning it appears white). The easiest way to get a fluffy Ekuru is to peel the beans (the best to use for this is white beans) and soak earlier before grinding/blending smooth. This can take about 1 hour or more. There’s no need to add potash though, to make it fluffy, as the soaking will do. After blending, do not add salt, seasoning or pepper, just mix the ground beans in a bowl until it is very fluffy though a little bit thick then scoop medium quantity in leaf or nylon and place in a pot of water on fire to boil.When it is done, you have your Ekuru set. It is mostly eaten with salt sprinkled on it and then mashed into a bowl to mix with salt and stew. Ekuru stew (ata dindin) is a very special one spoilt with locust beans, fish, cow skin and any other things you may think to add in. This save you at least, from eating beans porridge or beans and stew. It is different from the regular!
b. Moin-moin: is made similarly to Ekuru, just that at the point of mixing together (after blending), you add in salt and seasoning to taste, sliced onions, if preferred, fish, ponmo or sliced egg (you may put the whole egg as your budget is), palm oil or vegetable oil then scopped into nylon, leaf or milk tin. Place in a pot of water to boil till done, then you have your moin-moin ready!
c. Akara (beans cake): takes the same peeling process like Moin-moin and Ekuru and the same mixing process with Moin-moin (except that you do not add in vegetable or palm oil) and in the stead of scooping in a nylon, leaf or tin, Akara is formed into balls and then deep fried in oil. There are two variants to Akara – Akara elepo, which is the one fried with palm oil, and Akara olororo, the one fried with vegetable oil. Either of them has its peculiar taste, so you may want to give both a trial.
Akara and Pap served with milk
d. Gbegiri: unlike other foods above, Gbegiri is a soup usually coupled with Ewedu for swallow (Amala most preferably). To prepare Gbegiri, peel and soak the beans like you will do for moin-moin, then put it on fire to boil. Soaking will help make the beans soften, instead of using potash to serve the purpose while cooking. Cook the beans till it become so soft that it practically melts when you mash it with your fingers (this takes about 30 mins to 1 hour). You will need to top up the water from time to time but make sure the water is always at the same level as the beans. This ensures that you have just the right amount of water in the soup when the beans is done. When you have attained the needed softness, then blend the beans. It is not advisable to blend hot food in blenders with plastic jugs so if your blender has a plastic jug, sieve the soft beans with a sieve that has a mire mesh. If you do not have both, use the cooking broom (ijabe) to mesh the contents together very well then add little more water to have a little bit watery mixture. Sieve off the shaft and put the content back on fire to cook for some more minutes. Then add in palm oil, salt and seasoning for taste. You may also add chili pepper if you wish then allow to cook some more. Your Gbegiri is ready!
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Gbegiri (yellow), Soup and Ewedu
e. Alapa: Alapa is also known as jogi or igbalo. It looks like Moin-moin but it is more delicious and does not require groundnut or palm oil in preparing. But when eaten, it has the taste of groundnut oil – the wonder of melon! Alapa is made from beans and melon and its process starts with the peeling and soaking of the beans to soften. While waiting for the beans to soften, put the melon in a frying pan and continuously stir until it turns brown. Drain the water from the beans then blend with onions, scotch bonnet (ata rodo), crayfish and the fried melon. Once blended finely, pour in a bowl, add in seasoning, salt, fish and stir to mix well. Scoop medium quantity, like Moin-moin and Ekuru into Uma leaf, nylon or tin. Place a pot of water over the fire then put in the scooped Alapa to boil for about 30 minutes.3. Garri: in the stead of drinking Garri and making Eba every now and then, there is something you can do better with the cassava flakes. How you ever thought of Garri chips? Well, this is something you can snack on for lunch with your family, with orange juice or water, as the case may be. This doesn’t cost much, all you need is Garri and oil to fry. For Garri chips, you will need Yellow or white garri, sugar, ground dry pepper, eggs, salt to taste and oil to deep fry
Pour in the cassava flakes, ground pepper and sugar in a bowl and mix well, then boil some water (like you will do for Eba) and make Rba with the mixture then leave to cool. Break the eggs in a separate bowl, add in a pinch of salt and beat well. Pour the egg mix into the Eba and mix together. Then roll out your desired size and shape of the Eba and deep fry. Simple as ABC, right? Which of these are you trying? Let us know in the comment section below. We are glad we can move away from the usuals and explore! Do you have more specialities to teach KOKOFoodies like you, share them in the comment section below! Enjoy and explore your lockdown, giving your family nothing but the best!

Photos Credit: Getty

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