Growing up, rice dishes especially with stew was a weekly essential, so if I do not have rice at least once in a week then ………. Until recently, I had been used to the regulars; rice and stew, jollof rice, rice and beans, ofe akwu rice but now I have graduated to preparing other diverse cuisines which I can attest are super delicious as well.

I love rice, if not even one of my favorites and I usually  prepare it in different ways for different cuisines. I try not to compare the different rice dishes because each one is totally/slightly different from one another although the most important thing is that they all taste very palatable and tasty.

No doubt there are several rice recipes, however this post features a special local stew, which is often eaten together with a special rice known as ofada rice- – – – Ayamase Stew!
This stew is a popular Yoruba stew that is often prepared with loads of local ingredients which renders some distinctive appetizing aroma and taste to the stew.

Ayamase stew-2

Ayamase stew is such an interesting stew you can think of if you are passionate about traditional food because the local spices used for the preparation are such that will awaken your traditional taste bud {Winks}.  Sounds funny yeah,  but it is true because the stew is so delicious that you will want to go for a second round.

Although it is not as classy as the regular tomato stew but yet the taste is very superb and worth giving a try. The local spices {Iru, dawadawa and ogiri okpei} used for preparing the stew gives the ayamase stew a very strong aroma that can even attract your neighbours from far and near and personally, I think this is the best part of this stew. The ayamesa stew is basically served with ofada rice and the pair are just a perfect combination.

When cooking the ayamase stew, I usually sieve the blended habanero and bell peppers to get rid of excess water which helps to reduce the frying time as well as helps get the peppers dry up very easily. This sometimes involves blending the peppers a lot more earlier and putting it in the sieve for few minutes before I start the actual cooking and this works perfectly fine for me.

The first step to preparing ayamesa stew is to boil the assorted meat with spices, salt and herbs, then blend the bell peppers, habanero peppers, red chilli peppers and onions together and then pour it into a sieve to drain excess water.

ayamase stew

Red palm oil is the main oil used for this stew however, some people use vegetable oil or sunflower oil for the preparation. For this recipe, I have decided to use palm oil. So add the oil in a slightly heated saucepan, place the oil on a low heat and allow to bleach.

Oil bleaching simply means heating up oil until the color changes from red to light yellowish color. Most importantly, never abandon the oil to do some other things while bleaching as this can cause the oil to overheat due to high temperature which can cause the oil to catch fire.

The easiest way of bleaching palm oil is to cover it up with a transparent pot cover which will help you to detect when the oil has changed colour. Once the oil has changed colour, still leave the pot covered and place it close to the window or a ventilated area where the fumes can disappear from without spreading through the kitchen.

Allow the bleached oil to cool down before stirring in onions. Don’t forget to allow the oil to cool down so as to avoid oil splash when adding the cooking ingredients. Place the oil back on medium heat, slightly saute the onions then pour in the blended mixtures.

Ayamase stew-3

Continue stirring the blended peppers until cooked and dry. Then grind the iru, ogiri okpei, locust bean spices and crayfish before adding it to the stew. At this stage, you can also add the  already cooked meat into the ayamase and then continue cooking until the stew is done.

Ayamesa stew is so delicious and I encourage you to give this stew a try and I bet you will enjoy it.

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About Chef

Blessing Okpala

HI THERE.. IT IS GREAT TO MEET YOU.. Cooking is a passion I developed at a very tender age from my mum and this online platform is where I aim to ...

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  • I love traditional cooking (and learning about it) but I confess I do not recognize most of those ingredients. Any chance you could translate or suggest subs? Amusingly the one sub I do have is pigs feet!

    • Laura, it’s a pleasure to hear that you love traditional cooking. Well, you can get the ingredients from any African shop near you.

  • Michelle@HealthiersSteps

    Blessing I really enjoyed reading your explanation about oil bleaching. Is this step mandatory in traditional Nigerian cooking? I do have a lot of African stores so I will be able to purchase the spices. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Oh glad to know Michelle. No the oil bleaching is not mandatory for all Nigerian dishes but mainly for this particular type of stew.
      Give it a try and you will definitely enjoy it..

  • What an interesting dish!

  • I love reading about different cuisine. I will have to look for these ingredients at a international store nearby

    • Glad to know Christie. Give it a try and you will enjoy it.