The Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom was once again filled with vibrant children from Camp Oasis TWU. Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman decided to focus her last lesson with the campers on harvesting more vegetables. With a pair of gardening shears in hand, Roytman cut several pieces of okra (a fruit) for the students to examine. She explained to them that this edible green seed pod is packed with vitamins, including B6, B12, thiamin, folic acid, and zinc. Although this small green fruit looks similar to a jalapeno pepper, it actually tastes like eggplant, (or something you would compare to an earthy flavor) but with a slimy texture.
One of the campers immediately recognized the fruit and said that her family uses it in their Nigerian Soup. Roytman explained that there are various ways of cooking okra, and sometimes if the okra plant is very large it’s best to not eat it, but remove its seeds to plant for next year’s harvest. Not many people are aware of the ways to cook okra, so Roytman looked up a recipe following her camper’s suggestion for Nigerian soup. Traditionally this recipe is known as Miyan Kubewa or Hausa Okra Soup and is considered a delicious dish in Nigeria.
The main ingredients are:
- Five cups of okra
- Three table spoons of red palm oil lBeef
- Cow tripe (also called Shaki) lIced fish (Mackerel/Titus)
- Dry fishS
- Stock fish
- Three bouillon cubes
- Boil the stock fish for 20 minutes and leave it in the pot with the hot water to soak for about two hours.
- Cut the okra fingers into tiny pieces, applying vertical and horizontal cuts. The tinier you cut the okra, the more it will draw.
- Grind the crayfish and the drypepper.
- Cut the spinach into tiny pieces. lIf you use shaki (cow tripe) for the soup, wash and boil until it is done. Add water sparingly because this soup needs to be thick. Add the soaked stockfish and dry fish to the cooked shaki. The length of time it will take to cook shaki depends on the cooking appliance utilized. You can take a bite to confirm this. lWhen you are happy that the shaki and stock fish are well-done, add the beef, onions and stock cubes and cook till done. Then add the iced fish and cook till done.
- Pour red palm oil in another pot and heat the pot to dissolve the oil if it is congealed. Add the diced okra and start frying to kick-start the drawing process, add some meat stock from time to time till you notice the okra start to draw. This process should take a maximum of 5 mins to avoid over-cooking the okra.
- Now add the spinach and stir well. Add all the meat and fish, crayfish, pepper and salt to taste. Then stir well.
- Cover the cooking pot and leave to simmer and it is ready to be served.
The Oasis campers were excited to learn about the different types of vegetation growing the garden, and they were happy to share how each vegetable is used in their families’ recipes.