Shall we have Rice and Stew again?!

Growing up in a Nigerian-Igbo household in the Washington D.C. suburb that is Silver Spring, MD(shout out to all of my MoCo mans and dem’) — there was no experience more exciting in my childhood than the sweet aroma of a freshly prepared pot of tomato stew and its perfect compliment, the infamous boiled white rice. These simple blessings made all the difference as a kid.

My siblings and I would battle all of the time over who would get first dibs on the pot. It became so competitive that I stopped waiting for the stew to be officially done (stove light off). I learned how to time it just right so that I could make an early bowl with out getting sick from eating uncooked meat :/

As far as the type of meat selection was concerned, I usually opted for a drumstick or a wing. Chicken breasts were always more work for me than they were worth.

Lately, I have been caught in the middle senseless debates over whose Jollof rice is better and where jollof rice originates (Ghana vs Nigeria?!) I lived in Accra and was a regular consumer of Ghanaian jollof and so I have always been torn on this issue. All considered, the rice that trumps all rice — the King of Rices is undoubtedly Rice and Stew. It is undefeated in the world. It is the greatest of all time. It has no match. As far as the debate goes, I firmly believe that jollof rice comes from the WOLOF people of Senegal. I think ‘jolof’ is a bastardization of the word ‘wolof’ but I will be careful with this as I don’t have the exact historical evidence. See more on that here.

I wanted to use this Medium (see what I did here!) to share my recipe on how to make rice and stew in all of its simple glory.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Water
  • Lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sazonador Total
  • Brown Rice
  • Onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Maggi Cubes

Rice and Stew by Obinna Onungwa:

First step is to simply, clean the meat. I prefer using lime. Cut one in half and liberally scrub the meat with an open lime.

Secondly, add the right amount of water.

Season the meat of your choice with the right amount and boil in contents in water. Slice two onions and drop into the pot. Slice peppers (green, red or both!)and drop into the pot.

Start boiling rice in the second pot. Once rice has boiled, stop flame and rinse rice.

After rice has been washed, fill pot with water again and continue boiling.

Rice should be complete in approx 15 minutes. As your rice is finishing up, your chicken should be boiled (water is down, seasoning binds with chicken).

Turn periodically to make sure your chicken is soft! Put tomato, water and purée in blender and blend for 5 minutes. Slice one more onion! Pour meat and stock in a bowl. Add Vegetable oil at the bottom of the pot and take 3 Maggi cubes and toss in. Toss in sliced onions.Toss in two cans of tomato paste and one can of tomato sauce. It’s true, you are doing a lot of tossing. Stir! Pour in your purée Add meat, one by one into the pot. Add remaining stock last.

*Whew*

That’s how to make rice and stew — the Obinna way!

You may be curious, why all of this him haw over rice and stew? Well — food is quite frankly a spiritual thing. Amongst many things, we look to food to understand a people, their history and their way of life. Food, more so than any other cultural artifact, bonds you to a people. Rice and stew…..the intention and focus required to bring this delicacy to fruition is truly something to marvel over! Try for yourself. Rice and stew tastes far better than it reads.

For more information on Rice & Stew, perspectives on race theory, inquiries on whether or not holes actually exist or if you just want to say, Hi…

Please reach out to me at oonungwa@gmail.com

One thought on “Shall we have Rice and Stew again?!”

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