I promised lots of folks a recipe and photographs of this delicious fusion meal. My mouth is still burning from an encounter with this clash of continental cuisines! Without further ado, I present Nigerian Tacos!
The recipe is a bit complicated if you’re not used to Nigerian stews and soups. Actually, I don’t think we make this the Nigerian way at all. We make it the convenient for a family of seven with varying preferences way. I hope to update this post with process photos in the future.
Basically, all a Nigerian taco consists of is a soup called efo riro and a nice, warm corn tortilla. You can buy tortillas at any grocery store, but the complicated part is the efo riro. The efo riro pictured above is made of red pepper soup, smoked turkey chunks, onions, and chopped collard greens. So most of the recipe focuses on getting the perfect pepper soup. The key word here is ‘pepper’, but if you don’t want the spice, skip the habenero pepper and creole seasoning. Also, don’t use both the habenero pepper and creole seasoning because even I can’t handle that. Either or should work fine.
Ready? Let’s go!
Ann D’s Red Pepper Soup
4 medium onions, 10 roma tomatoes (or 5 large round tomatoes), 5 red bell peppers, one habanero pepper (optional), four bunches of greens of your choice (I use collard greens but mustard and spinach will work just fine)
2 tbs vegetable oil, chicken bouillon to taste, salt to taste, any type of creole seasoning to taste
4 cups of meat. You can use any meat of your choice. Smoked turkey is handy because of the extra no-hassle flavor, but we have used chunks of chicken and beef when smoked turkey wasn’t around.
1. Chop three of the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and habenero pepper into blendable pieces and then blend them until you get a nice creamy texture. Pour the mixture into a good-sized pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, simmer until all the water is gone and the soup is very thick, about one hour. We kinda cook the vitamins out of those vegetables.
2. While the soup is boiling, chop the greens and the remaining onion. I don’t know exactly how many pounds of meat equals 4 cups chopped, so this depends on your preference. Make sure the meat is cooked well before you throw it in! Cook it however you want (or not, use smoked turkey instead).
3. In another pot bring a quart of water to boil and throw the greens in. Boil until they are softened, about 15 minutes. Strain the water from the greens and then dump the greens in a bowl.
4. At this point you should have your red soup boiled through. In another pot (usually the same one you boiled the greens in), heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil and scoop the red soup into it. Save about a cup of the red soup on the side. It should be sizzling, so be careful. Add a cup of water to prevent burning while you go through the last cooking stage.
5. Add the chopped onions to the pot and seasonings to taste. I say to taste because we never measure this. You have to taste it to find out how you like it. If you put in a habenero pepper, all you need is about one tbs of salt and 3 or 4 tbs of chicken bouillon. This may not be enough or it may be too much. Use the soup you saved to adjust the flavor if necessary.
6. Once you’ve got the soup where you like it, add the meat and the greens. Let this simmer until the greens are soft. You don’t want crunchy greens! Or maybe you do. Either way, let everything simmer so the greens soak up the flavor, about 20 minutes or when the greens are soft.
Phew! Your efo riro is complete! Heat up a tortilla, scoop 2tbs of the soup into the middle and enjoy! Be careful! It’s hot!