Ofada Stew (Ayamase Stew) is a delectable stew that originates from Western Nigeria. It’s packed with deep and bold flavours from bleached palm oil, bell peppers, fermented locust beans and crayfish.
Ofada Stew took its name from Ofada rice, which is often served with it.
I was on a day shift when I was pregnant, and my co-worker (a Yoruba Lady) was having this for lunch. I couldn’t resist the flavour. I asked about the dish, which she told me. She cooked it and brought mine another day. Since then, I have fallen in love with it, and it has become a staple in my home.
What’s the Difference Between Green and Red Ofada Sauce?
All taste the same, but the only difference is the colour. Green Ofada sauce is made from green bell peppers, while Red Ofada sauce is made from red bell peppers.
- Bell Peppers: I used green peppers to make green Ofada stew. You can also roast the peppers before blending. But there is no need to sieve liquid off the roasted peppers.
- Bleached Palm Oil: This gives the dish a unique flavour. It can’t be substituted for other oils because you won’t have that unique taste and flavour.
- Fermented Locust Beans (Iru): A traditional spice popular in Nigerian cuisine. Adds deep flavours to this dish. If you don’t have it or like it, skip it.
- Meats: I used a combination of beef, beef tripe and cow leg. Use any meats, boil them until tender, and save some stock for the sauce.
- Habanero Peppers: For a kick of heat.
- Onions: To boil the beef and for the stew. I prefer using red onions because of their bold flavour.
- Crayfish, Salt, and Seasoning powder to taste
- Boiled eggs: They must be hard-boiled.
As A Plan Ahead Recipe
To reduce cooking time;
- Boil the meats the day before and store them in the fridge with the stock.
- Boil the eggs the day before as well.
- I usually prep and blend my peppers and preserve them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Bleach the palm oil ahead of time. It can be stored in an airtight bottle on the kitchen shelf at room temperature.
How To Bleach Palm Oil
Bleaching oil is very common in the African cuisine. This is done for unique and bold flavours.
Add the oil into a pot, cover it, and heat it on low heat for 5 minutes until the colour changes from red to dark yellow or orange. I prefer using a pot with a transparent lid to see it when it changes quickly. This is to avoid opening the pot because of the smoke, which is choking. Let it cool before opening the pot.
What to Serve with Ofada Stew
This is often served with Ofada rice. But I served mine with regular white rice.
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Ayamase Stew (Ofada Stew)
- 6 large Green bell peppers
- 1.5 lb. Beef, tripe and cowskin
- 2 large Red onions diced
- 3 Habanero peppers
- ¼ cup Crayfish ground
- 1 tbsp Locust beans Iru
- 1½ tsp Seasoning powder use 1 tsp to boil meats
- 1 tsp Salt use 1 tsp to boil meats
- ½ cup Palm oil
- 5 Hard-boiled eggs
- Season meats with salt, seasoning powder, and some diced onion (save some onion for the sauce). Add water and boil until tender. Make sure you have some stock for the stew.
- Wash, deseed and slice bell peppers. Transfer to a food processor with the habaneros and process until coarse or smooth. Strain to remove some liquid.
- Add the palm oil into a pot on medium heat, cover and bleach until it turns pale or dark yellow. See notes for tips on how to bleach palm oil.
- Fry the meats until golden brown. This step is optional. Remove and set aside.
- Sauté the onion and locust beans until the onion becomes fragrant.
- Add the pepper mix, some beef stock, crayfish, salt and seasoning powder. Stir to combine.
- Let it cook for about 15 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency. You can add water or stock, depending on how you want it.
- Add the meats and boiled eggs. Stir well to combine and let it simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
- Serve with rice.