Also known as ewa-olyin in the language of Nigeria's Yoruba people, which translates to "beans naturally coated with honey," honey beans, native to Nigeria, indeed have a hint of sweetness. They form the base of this popular Yoruba soup. Optional crayfish powder adds a smoky-sweet pleasantly fishy flavor.
This is a popular dish of the Yoruba, one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. In the Yoruba language, dodo means fried plantains, and efo means leafy green vegetables, commonly spinach—here, the sweet plantains are a foil to the spicy spinach stew. Essential to Nigerian cuisine, unrefined red palm oil gets its color from naturally occurring beta carotene. For a vegetarian version, substitute 1 pound sliced mushrooms for the beef and use vegetable bouillon cubes. In Step 3, simmer the mushrooms in the sauce for 5 minutes.
Plantain puff puffs combine two of San Francisco chef Simileoluwa Adebajo's favorite things: fried plantains and puff puffs (Nigeria's nutmeg-scented fried dough). For the best flavor, be sure to use overripe plantains, which will have completely black or mottled black skin.
Garri is made from dried, fermented cassava, a tuber native to South America and introduced to Africa by Portuguese traders from Brazil in the 16th century. San Francisco chef Simileoluwa Adebajo says her family, like many in Nigeria, often eat garri mixed with ground nuts, sugar and milk, like a cereal. These subtly sweet cookies are crisp and delicious.
Egusi soup, which is thickened with roasted and ground gourd seeds, is the most widely eaten soup across Nigeria. It's usually served with swallow, a dough made from any number of starches, including pounded yam and dried cassava, that is used to scoop up the soup. But San Francisco chef Simileoluwa Adebajo's love of Chinese dumplings inspired this creation.
Suya, grilled skewers of thinly sliced meat spiced with ground peanuts, ginger and chiles, originated with the Hausa and Fulani people in northern Nigeria, but they are now a popular street food, wrapped in newspaper to go, throughout the country. Nigerian American chef Simileoluwa Adebajo, owner of Èkó Kitchen in San Francisco, created this dish one day when she sliced suya hot off the grill and placed them in fresh tortillas made by a friend with a cooking school in Mexico. For the best flavor, Adebajo recommends making your own tortillas, but here we use store-bought for simplicity.