During the early days of chili production in Nigeria, we are told that chilies were grown in patches near houses and as field crops under the shade of locust bean trees. The planting season was late May and the chilies would be ripe and ready for picking by November.
Soon after Nigerian farmers began planting chilies, they were getting a two-metric tonne to four metric tonne yield per acre. As early as 1938 they were exporting more than 100 tonnes a year. Today, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are major producers of many varieties, including the moderately pungent funtua chili.
In Nigeria, 200,000 acres of all varieties of chilies are under cultivation; it is the largest producer of chilies in Africa accounting for more than 50 per cent of all production. Most of the chili is for domestic production with a small amount being exported to Europe and UK.
As might be expected, the food of Nigeria is distinguished by seemingly an inordinate infusion of hot chilies. As Ellen Wilson, author of A West African Cookbook observed: “Learning to eat West African food means learning to enjoy (chili) pepper.”…“West African dishes can be searing or simply warm, but it is noticeable that the chili pepper never conceals other ingredients. It seems to enhance them.
In the ever-competitive world of local food the biggest competition is in the low-end price category which would be priced between Shs5,000 to Shs10,000. Faced with this challenge, 3 Little Ducks Restaurant at Kampala International University, Kansanga has seen the need to come up with a niche menu; Nigerian food.
One dish dinners are beloved in Africa, and this rice dish is popular in West Africa, Sierra Leone, and Gambia. It is served with many kinds of meats, depending on what is available and it can be served without meat at all.
Jollof is undoubtedly derived from an ancient tribe called “Wolof.”
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 kg breast of chicken (cubed) 2 bay leaves
¼ kg boneless beef cut into cubes
2 cups beef broth
2 cups chopped onion
200g smoked ham, cubed (optional)
3 cups pureed tomatoes
1 small cabbage, cut into small wedges
6 Scotch Bonnet finely chopped chilies
6 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons ground Cayenne
1 kg Basmati rice
1. Heat the oil in a large and heavy casserole. Add the chicken and the beef and sauté until browned. Add the beef and onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
2. Stir in the pureed tomatoes, chilies, cayenne, ginger and crushed garlic as well as the bay leaves. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes then add the stock or broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and cover and simmer gently for a good hour.
3. Add the ham and cabbage and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Mix the tomato paste with the rice and add the rice to the simmering meat before stirring in the four cups of water.
4. Bring them mixture to a boil and cover and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes until the rice is done.
5. Allow the dish to sit covered for a good 15 minutes before serving.
Plantains, what the Baganda call gonja are eaten as a vegetable and are cultivated in several African countries.
2 or more yellow plantains
2 green plantains
2 teaspoons Cayenne
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1. Peel one of the green plantains and cut into very thin rounds using a vegetable peeler.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat and fry the plantain rounds in the oil for about three minutes, turning until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm.
3. Coarsely grate the other green plantain and put on a plate. Slice the onion into wafer thin shreds and mix with the grated plantain.
4. Heat a little more oil in the frying pan. While it is heating, peel the yellow plantains, cut in half lengthwise and dice. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, a bit of salt and cayenne pepper and then fry in the hot oil until golden brown, turning now and again so brown evenly.
5. Drain on a paper towels and then arrange the three varieties of cooked plantains in shallow dishes and serve with the Jollof rice or as a snack with your favourite hot sauce (stew).
DAILY MONITOR http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Life/Relish-Nigerian-food/689856-3865362-6sjb95z/index.html