Many people would agree that no home chore strains modern couples more than cooking. Laundry could be taken care of on weekends; the rooms must not be mopped every day; and the need to garden the compound doesn’t make a return every other week. But food? Food has to be eaten every day; even more than once a day.
Then come the questions: Who should cook? Whose work is more demanding? Who gets home earlier? And what should even be cooked, so that noodles don’t keep reappearing on the dining table?! Always, the preference for freshly cooked meals counters the option of cooking large and stocking it in parcels in the freezer.
This article presents nutritious meals that take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Perhaps, it will help families get around their cooking chore easier.
- Yam Porridge
This highly nutritious meal is pretty easy and straightforward to prepare. Peeling the yam might be a drag, but once you get around it, you’re halfway there.
Yam, palm oil, smoked or dry fish, ground crayfish, onion, fresh green vegetables, e.g. pumpkin, parsley or scent leaf (Effirin or Nchanwu), habanero or chilli pepper, salt (to taste), and seasoning cubes.
Peel & cut the yam tuber into cubes. Wash the yam cubes and place in a sizeable pot. Pour enough water to cover the yam cubes and start cooking at medium heat. (If you’re using dry fish, add it now). While your yam is on the fire, soak and pick the bones of your dry fish and introduce into the cooking pot.
Then get these ready: sliced onions, ground chilli pepper & crayfish. Also, palm oil, seasoning cubes, smoked fish, and salt (to taste). Add these once the yam cubes have got a good boil, and stir very well. Cover the pot and continue cooking till the yam is well cooked. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the green vegetable, stir and leave for about 3 minutes, then serve.
- Jollof Spaghetti
Jollof Spaghetti is simply a jollof rice-inspired method of preparing Spaghetti. All other kinds of Pasta can be used to achieve much the same thing. This recipe is very easy and definitely delicious. You can choose to do without the veggies and make it plain, or make it with veggies and proteins so that it’s more nutritious.
A packet of spaghetti, seasoning cubes, small red onion, teaspoon of dry pepper, leftover stew, and meat water.
Put enough water to cook the spaghetti in a pot, add chopped onions, a teaspoon of dry pepper and the spaghetti. Allow the spaghetti to cook until it’s soft enough to eat but not thoroughly cooked. Add the stew (about 3 to 4 tablespoonful), then the meat water and stir carefully. Reduce heat to allow the spaghetti cook slowly in the stew, and absorb and take the colour of jollof. Once achieved, let it cook for about a minute, then serve immediately.
- Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is one of the most popular meals in Nigeria. This is one meal we’d gladly recommend to anyone who needs to eat good food in good time, simply because it is very tasty and delicious and, of course, its preparation is not time-consuming.
4 cups of rice, 2kg of chicken/beef/fish, 1 cup of crayfish (optional), 1 litre of ground fresh tomatoes, 40 to 100 ml of ground fresh pepper, spices (curry, thyme, nutmeg), 2 seasoning cubes, 2 bulbs of onions, 20 to 30cl vegetable oil, salt to taste.
Parboil the chicken (or any meat of your choice) with the spices listed above, ensuring that half of the entire meat is submerged in water. Add 1 bulb of onion, sliced. Also add seasoning cubes, one tea spoon of salt, and maybe a little of curry, thyme or any other spice of choice. Set the pot aside afterwards.
Parboil your rice the normal way: boil about 3 cups of water in a pot, add the 4 cups of rice and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Then pour out and wash thoroughly with clean water and set aside in a bowl or plastic sieve.
Bring out an empty pot and then add sliced onions to the hot oil, add the ground tomatoes/pepper after about a minute. This is a trick that helps reduce burning. Divide the tomatoes and commence cooking with one of the halves in the pot, add the meat extract from your first pot, then add about 1 or 2 cups of water; add the ground crayfish (if you are using crayfish), a seasoning cube. If the meat stock is not as tasty as desired, add salt to taste, then stir.
Spice to your taste with your desired flavours and spices, add the rice from the plastic sieve, reduce heat, and cover to cook. You can add the other half of the fried tomatoes after cooking for 10 to 15 minutes. Also slice onions and spray atop if you wish. Cook till the rice is soft for eating (remember that you can add water occasionally), then feel free to add your fried protein atop to steam and cover for 5 final minutes.
- Ofada Rice & Beef Sauce
A local delicacy with numerous benefits, you can never go wrong with it. Dieticians advise to eat more of ofada rice than polished rice because of its immense health benefits. It contains vitamins B6 and B12, as well as more phosphorous and fibre which help in the reduction of the risk of bowel disorders and constipation.
4 cooking spoons of palm oil, 12 red scotch bonnet pepper (ata rodo), 1 green bell pepper, 2 heaped tbsp. of locust beans (Iru), 500g assorted meat, 500g beef (red meat), ground crayfish: 3 tbsp., 1 red onion bulb, 2 seasoning cubes, 500g ofada rice, 3 (red bell pepper a.k.a tatashe), salt to taste.
Rinse the Beef and assorted meat with clean water, dice into small bits, and place in a medium sized pot. Add the seasoning cubes and salt to taste, diced onion and 2-3 cups of water. Leave to cook till tender for about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Remove the seeds from the red bell pepper. Wash all the Red bell pepper thoroughly with clean water including the red scotch bonnet and place in a blender. Blend partly rough. Pour the pepper puree in an empty pot and cook till all the water evaporates leaving the puree concentrated. Set aside.
Before cooking Ofada rice, remove the stones. Wash the sorted rice thoroughly with clean water and place in a small pot. Add some water, just enough to cover the rice. Parboil for 10 minutes and turn out into a clean bowl. Wash the parboiled rice with clean water and turn back into the pot. Add some salt and clean water. Boil till the rice softens.
In an empty medium sized pot, heat the palm oil for about 10 -13minutes. This process is known as bleaching. Bleaching is best done in a ventilated kitchen. Add the pepper puree and locust beans (Iru) and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the assorted meat stock including the assorted meat and beef, Crayfish (whole and ground). Taste to see if you need some more salt, stir and cover the pot. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. Afterwards, you can serve for eating.
- Egg Stew
Egg stew can be eaten with boiled yam or white rice, or even plain boiled spaghetti. It can as well be eaten alone.
2 eggs, 4 – 6 medium plum tomatoes, 1 small onion, salt to taste, dry pepper or freshly chopped habanero pepper (ata rodo), 1-2 seasoning cubes, curry powder, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 garlic clove.
In a large or medium frying pan, heat the oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the onions and minced garlic and fry for about 3 minutes on medium heat or until the onions soften and become transparent; stir occasionally. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for about 7-10 minutes, or until the sauce begins to taste more like stew and the tomatoes and onions are completely separated from the oil.
Add salt, pepper, and seasoning cube(s) and stir the mixture. Slowly pour in the well beaten eggs, do not stir the mixture immediately. Let the eggs cook and set (this takes about 2 minutes); you will begin to see bubbles at the top of the mixture. Then you can stir the mixture for about 2-3 more minutes until the eggs are completely solid and cooked.
Are there other meals you know that take a short time to fix? Kindly share in the comments section.