Obe Ata Dindin – Lafenwa Stew is a very popular fried stew recipe from the Egba people of Abeokuta, Western Nigeria. It is also referred to as Itoko Stew.
Well, I’m definitely not Egba so I’ll tell you how I came to know about this amazingly tasty stew. A lovely lady and friend, Abbey Jimba of Chop’N’Lick posted this stew on Instagram a couple of months back, I fell in love at first sight. She captioned it “Itoko Stew”, curiously, I tried to search online for recipes and background information but found none, so I was forced to contact her, She was really kind enough to send me the recipe that same day and also sent me background information about this lovely stew recipe.
Apparently, it’s served at Nigerian parties in London these days and it’s called, “Iyawo Ole” meaning, “The wife of a thief”, please don’t ask me why….LOL! This, I’ve confirmed from an aunt who lives in London. Interesting!
What really makes this stew stand out is the fact that you don’t need too much condiments or seasoning to make it look and taste great. The Shawa fillet incorporated gives it a very tasty and distinct flavour. Curry and thyme are a No No! Tomatoes are also not used for Obe ata Dindin – Lafenwa Stew.
It’s taken me a while to put up this recipe, that’s only because I wanted to taste this stew first from an Egba person before attempting it. I had the pleasure of tasting it at the weekend at a friend’s, she actually made it after I’d disturbed her for weeks. One word, Amazing!! Well, then, I knew I had a point of reference…Yay!
After I’d finished making this stew and tasted it, it tasted sweet just like my friend’s but I still kept wondering why….and then it struck me, The Onions! You fry them to an extent that they begin to taste sweet and you do need lots of onions as well to get the authentic Lafenwa Stew taste.
I must mention beforehand that this stew consukes quite a lot of Palm oil, so if you’re not one who fancies palm oil, then this recipe is not for you.
I won’t bore you any further with my introduction, let’s get to it…
Assorted meats ( Shaki, Ponmo, Beef, Goat meat, Inu eran (Offals) are ideal)
4 Red Bell Peppers (Red Tatashe)
3 Green Bell Peppers (Green Tatashe)
30gms Dried Chilli Peppers (Ata Ijosi)
2 Whole Onions
1 Chopped Onion
3 Tablespoons Iru (Locust beans)
2 Cups Shredded Fish (Eja Shawa)
2 Tablespoons Ground Crayfish
Boiled Eggs (Optional)
1 Full Cup Palm Oil
3 Knorr Chicken Cubes
Salt to Taste
Boil your meats, remember to boil bloody Offals like Kidney, Liver and Heart separately. When they’re cooked, fry the goat meat or beef or you can choose the healthier alternative; grilling. I grilled my Shaki and Cow leg too…
Soak your dried pepper in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes…
Wash your green and red peppers thoroughly, then blend roughly with two onions, the dried peppers and with very little water. This is the consistency you should achieve….
Add the dried Shawa to the blended pepper, add the Knorr cubes and salt to taste, place on a hob on medium heat, boil till most of the moisture in the pepper dries off.
While that’s boiling, get another saucepan, place on medium heat, when it’s hot, add the palm oil
The Oil should not be smokey or bleached, you can throw in a slice of onion, when the onion turns black, you’ll know it’s hot enough.
Add the chopped onions, sauté till brown, be careful not to burn it, then add the Iru to release the flavour. The onions should look like this….
Please, ignore the foaming mess in the background, the palm oil I recently got is one heck of a nuisance?!
Check on the pepper, when it’s boiled and looking like this…
Slowly, add the palm oil, along with the Onions and Iru into the stew, also add crayfish. Leave to cook for 5 minutes, turn the heat down to low..
Be careful not to add too much Crayfish, this is so that the very potent flavour of crayfish does not overpower the authentic flavour of the stew.
Now, add the boiled eggs, taste for salt/ seasoning, adjust if necessary, leave for 2-3 minutes….
Then add the meats, stir and combine, leave to cook for 7-10 minutes with the low heat…
And it’s done…You’ll see the oil flowing to the top at this time…
Serve with boiled rice, plantain, pasta, yam or potatoes….
I should mention as well, I’ve got recipes for similar and amazingly delicious stews, please click on whichever one interests you from the options below;