The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

Ditch the Ofada stew for this


A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that ofada rice is a version of brown rice and though not as nutty in taste, it was our own version of that ‘healthy rice option’ that’s actually rice rather than the confusion things like couscous, bulgur and quinoa bring to the faces of Nigerians. Again something struck me. Why are we using mainly ofada or any brown rice from this side of the world as the special rice to the ofada stew? Why don’t we offer it as solution to our ‘fitfam’ options? Why aren’t we making it into other dishes from jollof rice to fried rice. Did I hear you complain about the smell just now? It has been proven that if well-treated, the odour disappears so what really is our excuse?

Before you begin to question my motive, I have decided to offer a recipe that would open our eyes to the possibilities that ofada rice can evolve beyond the moi-moi leaf and bleached palm oil stew.

Without further ado on how and why we are so one note when it comes to ofada rice, I present to you a fried rice that packs so much flavor and it’s a little forgiving starch wise so you can boast you ate healthy.

I used the Adjele brand of brown rice. It is not labeled as ofada rice in its packaging but they look really similar.
Here is what you would need for your fried rice.
Serves 4
1 ½ cup brown rice boiled with a pinch of salt and left to cool
1 medium onion chopped finely
2-4 garlic cloves minced depending on your taste
1 small knob of ginger to a heaped teaspoon of finely chopped or pureed ginger
1 small bunch spring onions sliced in thin rounds
2 large carrots sliced and finely chopped/diced
1 large or 2 medium sized green peppers finely diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander*optional
¼ cup or more frozen peas or fresh peas (please never the canned stuff yuck!)
2-3 Shombo Pepper aka Thai Chillies
1 ½ tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup or 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 heaping table spoon oyster sauce
½ tablespoon brown or white sugar
½ – 1 tsp salt if you feel it needs
1 serving spoon groundnut or vegetable oil

Chicken and Fried Egg to serve Chicken Marinade
2 large chicken breasts or 2 thighs deboned and cut into medium sized cubes
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
Zest of one lime (key lime if you live outside Nigeria)
¼ tablespoon dried chillies
1 ½ tablespoon sesame oil
1-2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 heaping table spoon oyster sauce
½ tablespoon brown or white sugar
½ – 1 tsp salt if you feel it needs

How to,
Start by heating up a fry pan. Add the oil groundnut or vegetable oil. Add the chicken pieces and leave to sear well on one side so it gets caramelized all round as you don’t want boiled looking chicken. It is very essential your pan is very hot to give that effect. Once well browned all over which should take about 1 minute or till cooked through. Take out of the pan and add a little more oil.

Once smoky, add the onions, chilli, ginger and carrots and stir-fry for about 20 seconds. Add the garlic, sugar, frozen peas and all the sauces and sesame oil. Stir all together and 5 seconds after throw in the rice.

The point is to have base to welcome the rice. Make sure the heat is high for that good stir fry feel. Toss the rice through the sauce. Cook for a minute since the rice is already cook it wouldn’t take long. Add the spring onions and green at the end so it doesn’t go all black on you. Check for seasoning. You can add the extra pinch of salt if you feel you need more salt or maybe you added more vegetables.

And think of it as balancing out the dish not so much making it salty Allow the rice to sit for about 2mins to allow the flavor quickly settle and marry a little more. To serve, garnish with coriander and more spring onions. Add the fried egg. I like mine a little runny. You can add your favourite chilli sauce at this point or during cooking as you like. We have one at Chef Fregz now that’s to die for!

To make it a healthier dish, poach your chicken, substitute egg for white egg omelette, use coconut oil or whatever healthy oil you have to cook instead or use a canola oil spray. This way you feel even better about eating rice. Have a great weekend and hope I have inspired you to get into the kitchen to do something different with ofada or what some love to call Nigerian brown rice.

In this article:
Gbubemi FregeneOfada stew
Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

  • Ah Ah. No photos?? Makes it hard to imagine!

  • Tomiwa Aladekomo

    Oga, give us pisho of the food na. How will we know if we have got it right?