Traditional Nigerian (Yoruba) Cooking Part IV – The Sauce–Obe Ata

Now we’re getting somewhere!

The Stew, or Obe Ata is the backbone of this meal. You could skip the Okra if you really needed to (and I can’t imagine why you’d want to), but you definitely can’t skip the Stew. The stew is where all gorgeous the flavor is concentrated.

Obe Ata  literally means Pepper Soup or Pepper Stew. However, Obe Ata is heavily tomato based. It is definitely NOT like spaghetti sauce, tomato soup or anything else that’s heavily tomato based. It has a more complex flavor due to the slow cooking and the inclusion of the broth from the meat prep.

Here’s a little chemistry lesson: Cooking tomato sauce with protein neutralizes the acids and lends it a mellow flavor. In return, the acids further tenderize the meats. It’s a win-win.

You’re welcome

So, here’s what you need for the stew:

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Ingredients:

4 medium Tomatoes cut up
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 sweet red pepper (not pictured) cut up
1 medium onion cut up
1 habanero pepper, cut up, seeds discarded (or 1 teaspon pepper flakes)
***habanero is of THE hottest peppers, so handle with care.***
1 Tbsp palm oil
1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil.

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Method

1. Cut up and place all ingredients except the oils in a blender. Blend to a fine puree. Blend in 2 batches if needed. Set aside.

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2. Add the oils and the pureed tomato mixture to the chicken broth from the meat prep.

Bring to a rolling boil, then turn down and simmer on low heat.

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3. Continue to simmer until the stew has thickened a bit (approximately 30 minutes). Taste and add a little more salt you’d like.

4. Once the sauce has thickened a bit, it’s time to add the meats that have been dried in the oven.

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5. Cook for another 5-10 minutes to allow the meats to soak up the stew.  Set aside until ready to serve.

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Making the stew is the bulk of the work for this mean. Luckily once it’s made the stew can be kept in the fridge up to 1 week after cooking, and used for several meals. To reheat, I suggest scooping out what will be used for one meal, in order not to further break down the meats.

So now the stew is done, it’s time to make the Okra Stew!

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Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Ingredients/Shopping List
Part 3: Prepping the meats
Part 4: Making the Stew/Obe Ata
Part 5: Okra Stew!
Part 6: The Pounded Yam (Iyan)
Part 7: Putting it all together/Conclusion

Traditional Yoruba (Nigerian) Cooking–Part III–Prep The Meats

So, let’s get down to brass tacks, it’s time to prep the meats!

You can use any meat or combination of meats of your choice. I am using 2 Ibs of Chicken thighs and drumsticks, ad 2 Ibs of cubed Goat meat, because I loves me some goat!

Note: I f you are cooking Goat meat I suggest cooking it separate from the chicken.

Here’s why.

Goat has a distinct musky flavor and can be quite fatty. I prefer to let the fat render out during the cooking process, then I discard the broth.  I do not want the extra fat/cholesterol and musk in my stew. That’s just me.

Ingredients:

2Ibs of Chicken or 2Ibs of Goat: (The spice mixture is the same for both meats, but double if doing only one kind of meat)
The spice mixture is the same for both meats.
1/2 Medium Onion, sliced thinly.
2 Bouillon cubes (maggi cubes’ target=_blank>Maggi cubes, or any other variety)
1/2 Tbsp Thyme
1 Tbsp Jamaican Curry powder
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Prep the Meats by removing and discarding any unwanted parts such as skins and excess fats. Rinse the meats thoroughly. Place the meats a sauce pan and cover with water up to approximately 1 inch over the meats.

2. Add the sliced Onions, spices, bouillion cubes and salt to taste.

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3. Cook the meats on medium high heat. Chicken: Boil for 20 mins. Goat: Boil for 40mins.

4. While the meats cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the meats from the broth and place in a lined cookie sheet. **Reserve the chicken broth for the stew***
The boiled meats should look like this:

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The cooked Goat.

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The cooked Chicken

4. Time to dry the meat in the oven. This step is what takes your meats to the next level of flavor greatness. Drying further cooks the meats and condenses the flavor. Place the meats in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30-45mins.

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Dried Goat

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Dried Chicken

This concludes the Meat Prep. At this point you can bag and freeze the meats for another day.
Sometimes I cook extra so I can skip the meat prep the next time I want to make some stew.

Next stop, we’ll work on the sauce portion of the stew.

Please subscribe to this blog here so you don’t miss a post!

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: The Ingredients/Shopping List
Part 3: Prepping the meats 
Part 4: Making the Stew/Obe Ata
Part 5: Okra Stew!
Part 6: The Pounded Yam (Iyan)
Part 7: Putting it all together/Conclusion