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BN Cuisine with Chef Fregz: The Green Plantain Pottage

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IMG_6421In the last few months one thing has been on my mind: to eat better. I’m not totally succeeding at it, thanks to my friends that bake cakes and the thriving production of Ribera. However, I have been trying. I have also been craving green plantains in general. I love the almost flavourless flavour it has. The dry almost gritty texture it has when it’s not piping hot anymore and how it’s a perfect vehicle mopping up other flavours.

This pottage also features a Guinea Fowl stew (or sauce as you may call it). I know I wanted this fried palm oil stew-like sauce to go with the meal. I added some peppersoup spice to the plantain mix. That earthy,almost-smoky taste it has, brings a new level of flavour… just  by adding crayfish and dried fish to the dish.

Ugu leaves are my new obsession. I just love its tough, bitter taste; yet you can take the nutrition it is giving you. It also adds serious flavour depth to your food  – especially when you use it fresh.

Periwinkles and some snail went into this because I remembered my Bayelsa people and Kekefiye; but I had to spin it by doing some chicken with it and that south-south pepper soup /Banga flavour.

Please note that you do not have to use Guinea fowl here. I would just say use any “locally” smoked meat you can find. Or simply ask them in the market to smoke some turkey for you, or talk to your Suya or asun guy down the road. There’s nothing one thousand Naira cannot solve.

I have emphasised locally smoked so that you don’t rush down to buy some regular smoked chicken. That’s not completely the flavour of smoke I’m looking for. In the event you don’t have anything but it please by all means use it.

Here’s what you need: {This recipe serves 4}

3 large unripe plantains
1 1/2 to 2 litres of water
2 tablespoons finely ground crayfish
6 medium or 3 large snails cleaned and build till soft
1 cup dried fish like Sawa or Smoked Catfish (Eja Kika) shredded into sizeable bits
1 cup periwinkles shelled (leave some cleened unshelled ones for garnish, if you like. I personally hate that sucking sound)
1/2 teaspoon peppersoup spice or 3/4 teaspoon pepper soup spice for a stronger pepper soup flavour
Seasoning cubes to taste … I recommend 2 sets
Salt and Black pepper to taste
1 cup Ugu leaves shredded in large bits (use more if you like)

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Guinea Fowl Sauce
1 whole Smoked Guinea Fowl cut into 8-10 pieces
1 teaspoon tomato puree/paste
4 ata rodo a.k.a Scotch Bonnet peppers roughly chopped
6-10 Long Chillies a.k.a Shombo Peppers
3 Small Red Capsicums a.k.a Tatashe Peppers
1/2 tablespoon pureed garlic
1 large onion sliced or roughly chopped
1/2 cup palm oil
1 seasoning cube
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon ginger

How To
Place your water in a wide pan or pot to boil.

Then proceed to peel and cut the plantain into cubes. Do so by cutting in half length ways and cut into small semi circles…or cubes.
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Add the crayfish, dried fish, seasoning cube, pepper soup spice and plantain. Leave to cook for about 25 minutes or till the plantains start to soften.

Use the back of your cooking spoon to mash the plantains slightly as you go to create the porridge effect. Add the snails at this point and the periwinkles as well. If it needs more water just top up slightly.
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Check for seasoning.

While the plantain is bubbling away, get to work on your guinea fowl sauce. Pour the plan oil in to a hot pan. Add the onions and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds.

Add the guinea fowl, the chillies, tatashe and tomato paste. Add a splash of water and put on a low heat to bubble away slightly so the flavours can permeate the smoked guinea fowl. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, topping with water just in case the dish starts to dry up.

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To serve, place the plantain pottage and top with the guinea fowl.

Many thanks to @chefnylah for help out on the day and God for giving me light to shoot these images.

Enjoy this simple treat, guys!

Chef Fregz loves to cook! He is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris Culinary Arts School in France and hosts monthly “Chef Fregz Specials” where he whips up a yummy menu with a different theme each time then everyone enjoys a taste. He also caters special events and private dinners. To find out more visit www.cheffregz.com. Chef Fregz provides premium private catering services. For bookings and orders email [email protected] – @Chef_Fregz on Instagram and Twitter. You can check out the Chef Fregz Page on Facebook as well.

11 Comments

  1. pretty girl

    November 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    This i must prepare very healthy

  2. Tina

    November 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Looking at this makes my salad for lunch so bland.

  3. Mz Socially Awkward...

    November 20, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Hmmmm. E no bad as I see am…

    Fregz, I’d like to pose a challenge for you to throw it down with ukwa. Given this current path of preparing healthy-Naija-dishes (with copious use of ugu leaves), how would you create a fancy and previously unconsidered but yet, generally authentic means of serving that Igbo and protein rich dish?

    We know it probably won’t be a party fave but are curious as to what spin you might decide to approach it with … Thanks in advance.

    • Iya

      November 21, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Ukwa not a party fave??!!! Mbanu!! Ukwa ALL DAY EVERYDAYYYY!!!!

    • been there

      November 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      really? what parties have u been attending? Ukwa is typically at most igbo events and weddings

  4. gucci

    November 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    @Mz socially awkward, there are lots of beautiful ways of preparing ukwa and they all come out delish. You can substitute Ugu for onugbu, you can cook with sweet corn, dry fish, and you are wrong about one thing tho, it’s a party fave for people who know it cos it’s not a regular dish. it was on the menu for my wedding and my friend’s as well. Personally, preparing it with sweet corn and okporoko (stockfish fillet) is my fave. I also use streaks of utazi ( don’t know the English name) lol.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      November 20, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Nne, ezi okwu?? Sweet corn? *taking notes diligently*

      I always get dried ukwa from my Enugu connections always generously sow into my life but I’m terrified of cooking it, lest I mistakenly recreate the bland, unimaginative dish that I remember the help making when I was growing up. And ever since I overcame my aversion to it as an adult, giving it a second chance to wow me, I’ve found that there is no middle ground with ukwa. It’s either very delicious& makes me reach for seconds or it’s very unappetising. Unlike its cousin, beans, that still proves edible in any cooking condition.

      Thanks for sharing inspirations, I may try it with spinach and goat meat or something (not a fan of that traditionally cooked ukwa with plenty dry fish). Thanks again. ?

  5. Buchi Obichie

    November 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    My father would give a leg and an arm for this!!! Lol

  6. Ttt

    November 21, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Mehn, the lucky girl that would marry Chef Fregz… congrats to her in advance even without me knowing who it would be.

  7. Kabir

    November 24, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks Fregz…..Weldone

  8. marini

    January 11, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Please where can one get guinea fowl in Lagos or can it be substituted

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