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BN Cuisine with Dooney’s Kitchen: Good Frejon

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Today is one of the most significant days in the Christian calendar and as with all traditions, food plays a major role. Frejon is cooked and served with Fish stew and Garri. Mounds and mounds of Frejon is cooked in homes in Lagos Island (Isale Eko) and shared with neighbours on Good Friday. Its origins are from the Portuguese Quarters of Lagos. It is made with black beans, popularly called ‘Ewa Ibeji’ and Coconut. it is then seasoned with sugar, salt, and cloves (optional). I must say Lagosians have a fascination with Coconut, I guess its abundance in their vicinity is to blame. They gave us Baba Dudu, Coconut Candy, Coconut rice, Shuku shuku (please don’t ask me what that means in English) and now Frejon. I must say a big

Thank you to a very good friend of mine, my personal person Kemi Adeniyi Kale, who brought the idea of Frejon to me. Never heard of it before, and she shared a recipe from memory which I took on board and cooked.

I wrote to BellaNaija, asking if I could submit Frejon for BN Cuisine as it is so poignant on Good Friday. Atoke’s first response was ‘Frejon!? Iyama’ –  (the Nigerian slang for ‘eeeeeeew’, grammatically correct) Ugh! Not like I blame her though.

The images of Frejon I managed to find online were not that appetising, so I took it upon myself to upgrade a little, to make it more appealing. I went back to her with the words, ‘when I make Frejon, I dare you to say eeeeew!’ She laughed and said, ‘I trust you. Because it is you, I know your Frejon would turn a frown upside down’. The challenge was on. First batch wasn’t so great, off to the bin it went. By the next batch, I tweaked a few things and was quite pleased with the result.

Frejon is normally made as a fluid, creamy dish, but I found that was the problem with it. With food, you sometimes have to improve it and still stay with its flavour profile. So, if you are used to making frejon watery, try letting it thicken a bit to form a paste. Less eeeeeew-inducing.  To enjoy Frejon in your homes on this very commemorative day, here’s how.

You will need

2 cups of Black Beans – i substituted with Nigerian Honey beans
1/2 – 3/4 cups of Coconut milk
2 heaped tablespoons of sugar – or more
A pinch of salt
5 cloves

How To

I found black beans, but I wasn’t sure if it would work, mainly because of the colour. I looked at the black beans and what my image of Frejon would look like and the words that came to mind. I am too polite to write it here, so I stuck with honey beans.


Boil the beans till it gets very soft, and I mean very soft. Salt is not needed when boiling.

Once the beans is cooked and has absorbed all the water, pour into a blender, add coconut milk.

Pulse till smooth.


Pour the beans and coconut paste back into the pot.

add cloves.

Season with sugar and salt.

Set the heat to medium or low, and allow the bean and coconut paste to cook until it thickens. Ensure that you stir fairly constantly to prevent it from burning and forming thick lumps. To enhance the coconut flavour, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of coconut milk.

You can decide when you want to take off the heat. If you want to enjoy it with a creamy consistency, take it off the heat after about 10 minutes.

IMG_9828_watermarked

If like me, you would rather enjoy it as a paste, like mash, leave it in for another 5 – 7 minutes.

As with tradition, serve with fish stew and Garri.

I went with smoked fish stew. To make this is simple, I had leftover Mama Deola Stew (recipe on the blog), in which I tossed in, softened and shredded Eja Osan, a little bit of water, and allowed to simmer for a few minutes, to allow the flavour of the fish to be infused into the stew and Voila. Stew done.

Here’s to Good Friday

______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dunni Obata is an IT Project Manager by day and a cook the rest of the time. She loves entertainment and one of her bad habits is feeding people. When she’s not cooking, she’s watching the Food Network. Dunni is very passionate about Nigerian food and believes it has a lot to offer globally. Visit her blog –www.dooneyskitchen.com

I'm an IT Project Manager by day and a cook the rest of the time. I love entertaining, and one of my bad habits is feeding people, so guests beware. When I'm not cooking, I'm watching Food Network, American TV series and National Geographic in that order. When I want peace and quiet, I curl up on the sofa and read a good book I'm very passionate about Nigerian food. I believe our food has a lot to offer globally, and with the right exposure, it can stand proud alongside food from other cultures. I'm hoping to get us all fired up and talking about Nigerian cooking irrespective of whatever part of the world you live in. Welcome to Dooney's Kitchen

33 Comments

  1. mrs A

    April 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks Girl, you are always on point!

  2. Laide

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Father Lord, some people are so gifted..where’s my gift?

  3. Laide

    April 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    By the way dooney, that looks really good..well done!

  4. Lilly

    April 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I really appreciate your work Dooney, am a fan. but if this is the upgraded version of Frajon i wonder what the original will look like. but i still wont mind to have a taste sha cos my tongue tell me what to try not my eyes

  5. Cheliz.

    April 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I ate frejon once when i was little and hated it! My mum then mentioned it yesterday, i almost puked. I will try it with honey beans and see. i love honey beans. Thanks Chef Fregz. pls check out my blog for weight loss tips and more: chelizrubycube.blogspot.com

  6. Cheliz.

    April 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Oh sorry, its Dooney!! Luv you dear and thanks for the recipee.

  7. Oluwatoyin

    April 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks Dooney!

  8. @edDREAMZ

    April 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Mehn, this is food of the gods no doubt…
    .
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  9. Concerned_Boyfriend

    April 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    OMG!!…My very first reaction when I saw Frejon on the headline was “Oh no she didn’t”…What!..*doffs hat*. My late Grandmother would always cook this special dish on Good Friday. According to her, Frejon came from the Brazilian slaves that returned to Lagos in the early 19th century (Cardoso, DaSilvas and co). The returnees were predominately Catholics and the dish became widely popular among Catholics in Lagos Island (Holy Cross Cathedral). I remembered my Grandma would start preppin for this dish at least 2 days in advance because it requires a slow and intricate cooking process. She would soak the black beans first in water for a day and cook the beans at low heat for hours.
    Those days, there weren’t any food processor, so you have to manually do most of the preparation : Peeling off the back of the coconut then grating it for the milk, soaking the residual chaff in water and then sieving out the milk….Oh!..Memories!..

    Making Frejon from Brown Beans or Honey Beans was a No No.. It was almost an abomination to do that. I have a little reservation with your final presentation as well. The dish is served with cooked fresh fish and garri on the side. I think you owe it to your readers to show them the real Frejon. Let me know if you need help and I’d be glad to be of help 😉

    • Author Unknown

      April 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      God Bless you! I felt like I had just written your write-up. If you can’t cook Frejon with the right specie of beans, don’t even bother. I saw the one in the photo and I cringed. No Good Friday in my home is complete without it, and we still do to this very day. Frejon might look ‘yucky’ but it tastes amazing. I like it with very light farinha (garri) so it forms a smooth paste. Yum!

    • Author Unknown

      April 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      That you had just written MY write-up rather, LOL. I think I need a serving of frejon.

    • Cynthia

      April 19, 2014 at 1:02 am

      If that is your experience with cooking frejon sorry o please invent a time travel device and go back to the days of cooking over firewood and stone. Fish stew is fish stew. Fried, smoked, boiled, grilled all na fish stew. If chicken or meat stew was used I can understand. Do you have the same phone you used 10 years ago? Is it not still a phone but another version? Lord help us. On top food food matter again we must do things the way it is done 50 years ago. Did your late grandma eat tastee fried chicken or did she cook with gas cooker? Not attacking your comment but if your reservation is based on how things were done in the past you have no leg to stand on. I await your bn cuisine post where you cooked with firewood, clay pot, grinding stone complete with mortar and pestle since you are so all for how things were cooked in the past. How about that

  10. xoxo

    April 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    @ concerned_boyfriend, Same story here . You read my mind, are you sure we are not related? Lol.
    Miss my Grandma too. But I know Frejon is usually darker than this – chocolate pudding dark.
    There must be something Dunni must be missing. But, she tried , good job Dunni.

    • Concerned_Boyfriend

      April 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      You never know..we might be related. Wish there are way to exchange contacts without looking like a desperado on BN…LOL!.

      Dunni’s frejon was from brown beans and not the traditional black beans used for Frejon.

    • Ada

      April 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      You know the problem with Nigerians? You guys don’t read. She said she didn’t want to use black beans. She gave you options. If honey beans makes it look more presentable. I support 100%. If anyone can take a well hated food and make it more appealing, we should champion the person. After all chefs all over the world are making millions re-inventing food. You guys don’t read. She has given you options. Make it watery, yucky and disgusting or make it thicker. She did not change ANYTHING but leave it on the heat for longer. Read, Read, Read. It is right there. She wrote there (IF YOU READ IT) the flavour is still the same thing. Just thicker. You know the other problem with Nigerians? You are stuck in your ways and will never accept change even change for the better. Frejon is gross, Frejon is yucky. All the images you find on Frejon online apart from Dunni’s own is disgusting. Someone took it upon herself to upgrade and make it acceptable. You still want to stay in your backward way of doing things. How many people plate and present Nigerian food like it can compete with food from around the world? Live in the new times now people and stop being the backward, sleeping on trees people, the world view us as. Well done Dunni. For once Frejon looks welcoming. Even the Brazilians who invented it would be proud. I am a Dunni Voltron. BITE ME

    • Concerned_Boyfriend

      April 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      “Why evus ?”.. I don’t think anybody denigrated Dunni’s Frejon. People have a right to their opinion as much as you have a right to yours. Your post made it as though people were criticizing her version of Frejon, which wasn’t the case. Your belligerent post was totally uncalled for…(Ki la gbe ?). It’s absolutely fine to “Voltron” for your friend or idol, disturbing the spirit of brotherhood and peace that Dunni’s post celebrates each week is sabotaging her efforts. Please go take your meds and take one of these several seats while you’re at it \__ \__ \__

      Tenx!

    • aj

      April 19, 2014 at 1:50 am

      Concerned boyfriend..u didnt have to tell her to take her meds.be nice!!!

    • Her Excellency!

      April 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Exactly @ Ada,
      She put the options on the table, d picture of the black beans and brown are there, she said she prefers brown…the option of watery vs thick too, she said she preferred it thick…
      some pple sha……

  11. simi

    April 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you soooooo much, Been searching for the right receipe… My grandma used to bribe me with this whenever we had a fight. Now on my to make list.

  12. OmoMakun

    April 18, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Frejon…who knew i would ever hear that word again. I think I’ve only tried it once as a child and that was enough for me. Thanks for re-inventing it Dooney!

  13. D

    April 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Dunni, you know I got love for you but this is one recipe I have to keep walking. Frejon no matter how upgraded it is, I’ve been scared for LIFE!!!! unless I am dying and that is my only hope. I will just have to pass.

  14. jinkelele

    April 18, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Dooney… dont like the upgraded version
    Just because the beans are black doesnt make it yucky
    Try the black bean version, the taste is the same
    And like some others have said its fresh fish soup
    This ur take on it almost seems like agonyin beans with fried stew and eja gbigbe

    The only reason why i dont like frejon personally is that the beans is mixed with coconut and I’m not a fan of coconut dishes.

    • Molara

      April 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      t black beans version is yucky. Lets not deceive ourselves. It looks like poo. My grandma used to make it and nobody eat it with her. Even her own children. When I saw the title Frejon I only clicked on it because it was Dunni. I wanted to see what she would do with it knowing Dunni. I wasn’t disappointed. My grandmas own you will run 440. I like this upgraded version. I will send it to my cousins just for laughs. They won’t believe it

  15. Warri Babe

    April 18, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Babe, take chill pills…Jesus loves you :). I get the angles concerned boyfriend and dunni are coming from, so please take it easy…..I missed my aunt today ’cause of Frejon *covers face*and I prefer the black beans recipe. It is really tasty with the fried stew and fish (garri makes it too thick for me). Weldone dunni but you should show how the ‘real’ Frejon is…nothing beats it 🙂

  16. Cynthia

    April 19, 2014 at 12:49 am

    I really don’t know what the problem is here. The beans abi. Has it occurred to any of you that dunni doesn’t live in Nigeria therefore she may not have access to the black beans used. So since she did not use the black beans that you guys are whining about it can’t be Frejon? I read above that black beans is used but if you cannot find it substitute with honey beans. Are you saying if one lives abroad and doesn’t have access to some ingredients used in Nigerian cooking one cannot enjoy the same meal. Would you have not wanted to see a frejon recipe on bella naija today because she could not find black beans. The process is the same and the cooking is the same. You are just nitpicking. If you were so concerned about frejon why didn’t you send your recipe in. If someone tries let’s encourage them please.

  17. Silky

    April 19, 2014 at 3:36 am

    Am saving this for my Bonbon…

  18. Missus

    April 19, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Allof y’all criticizing Dooney’s way of making Frejon… Why don’t you make yours the “right” way and find someone else who has a blog to feature you? Rubbish. Sitting down behind your computer screen and criticizing someone else’s hard work. Lazy fools. (Tee hee)

  19. Thegirlnextdoor

    April 19, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Omg I had this like 15 years ago when I went to Nigeria. My aunt made it…..I came back thinking frejon was a popular Naji Easter dish but coming bk to London nobody knew what it was, at one point I even thought made I had frejon in my dream! Til date only one person knows what it is from my side! This post has made my day….imma copy the link and send it to all those people who thought u was chatting rubbish loooool
    I need to taste it one more time

  20. Thegirlnextdoor

    April 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Error galore…….! Too much excitement whilst typing *coversface*

  21. Dunni Obata

    April 19, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I loved reading the divergent views on my recipe and I’ve had a good laugh so far. I enjoy it when food brings out conversation in people, but conversation within reason. I have never been one who is rigid in the kitchen. I like experimenting and I am an unconventional cook. No point sticking to a traditional recipe if it is going to be puke inducing. That is The Dooney’s Kitchen Experience. No offence but the first batch I made exactly as it should be (except the brown beans of course) was binned. I couldn’t get past the look and texture. I almost did not want to write this post for Good Friday because I can’t write about something I myself can’t eat. Yesterday, it occurred to me to let it thicken into a paste and that was very palatable. Atoke had two helpings and this is someone whose first words when I mentioned writing about Frejon was YUCK!!!. My job is done, if by changing a few things here and there I can turn a dish many people hate to something they enjoy. As for the fish stew, no comment. @Cynthia has said it all

    • Mariaah

      June 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Dunni you know frejon?????!!!! I am late on this post but Dunni you know frejon??? Oya gba mii lowo love… You are my final food hero!! During Easter I thought and thought of the recipe and nt once did it occur to me to google.. Hiss** LOL….

      We had a neighbour “Mama no13” who moved to my street (Araoti Street, Yaba meanwhile, shout out if you know where I am talking about.. Area!!!) from Isale eko lonng looonngg before I was born.. She loved my Maa like her own and she made frejon at Easter during the 90s until she died in the late 90s.

      I only remember it as something that had coconut flavour, couldn’t recall if it is a drink or meal.

      I will try it out someday..

  22. layinca

    May 15, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Dunni you rock girl, never had Frejon, but will definitely try it. What’s clove and is there a local name for it, where can I get it? I live in Lagos. Thanks

  23. Sharon Godwin

    March 25, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Gud1. Pls add me to your blog

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