Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nigerian Sweet Potatoes Porridge




Every mother as a home maker is faced sometimes with the dilemma of what to prepare for their family especially her growing children. I have being in situations where I run out of food ideas especially when it is for my kids to eat or take to school.
Even though I have a recipe suggestion chart pasted on my kitchen wall I still have to call my siblings sometimes for ideas or experiment with the available ingredients and this is how I came up with this Sweet Potatoes Porridge for kids. Did I hear you say “Please, sweet potatoes porridge is no special recipe for kids or anyone, is it not to just add up all the ingredients together and cook it?

Well, well, sweet potatoes are a readily available root tuber food in Nigeria but from my observation, it is not highly consumed by most families except in the northern part of the country where it is cultivated most. This sweet tuber food is rich in vitamins and fiber which is very ideal for growing children but that is not to state that sweet potatoes are not ideal for adults too. From my experience, adults eat sweet potatoes by chance.  They are not usually keen on adding it as a major food to their food chart due to its overwhelming sweetness. So let’s try my sweet potatoes recipe together…

This meal is expected to serve 3-4 toddlers/children or 2 adults.

Ingredients
 -4 medium sizes of yellow/pink Sweet Potatoes.
-half sachet of coconut milk powder or half cup of fresh coconut milk.
- Canned fish or ice fished (de-boned)
-3-4 fresh tomatoes
-3-4 fresh chili bonnet peppers.
-1 tablespoon of clean crayfish.
-half of a medium size onion.
-1 medium size green pepper (optional)
-small bunch of spinach for garnishing (optional)
-2-3 tablespoons of palm oil or groundnut oil.
-2 cubes of seasoning.
-1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt.
-Water.

Method of Preparation
 
*Wash and dice the green pepper, tomatoes, chili bonnet peppers, onion, spinach and lastly the potatoes. The diced potatoes should be put in a bowl filled with water, to avoid a change in the color. Also pick out any debris from the crayfish, blend or pound and set aside. If you are using ice fish or smoked fish, do ensure that the bones are taken out completely (ice fish should be fried or par boiled with salt first) and if it is a canned fish, use less palm oil due to the oil of the canned fish. If you are using coconut milk powder, you can mix it with the quantity of water needed to cook the entire porridge. Use your discretion to gauge the amount of water and it should be slightly above the potatoes when placed in the cooking pot. You can add more water later but you might not need more because the potatoes should not be over cooked and be marshy, it should be cooked in whole sizes except you decide to mash it for feeding a younger child with no teeth.

*Now that all the ingredients are ready to be used, place the cooking pot on the fire and pour the palm oil or groundnut oil or any vegetable oil into the pot. When the oil is hot, pour the diced onions and let it fry well but not burnt, then add the blended crayfish. When the crayfish fry a little, you can now add the fresh tomatoes and chili bonnet peppers, add one of the seasoning cube, stir and leave to fry. 

*Next, when the tomatoes have fried enough, you can now pour the coconut milk mixed with water into the fried ingredients. Then add the second seasoning cube, fish, and salt. Allow the stock to boil slightly then add the diced potatoes, stir gently and cover to cook for 35-40 minutes. After the stipulated time, check how soft the potatoes is and taste for salt finally, if you see that it is soft enough the way you want, then add the shredded spinach and green pepper. Allow it to boil for 3 minutes maximum on a lower heat, to preserve the vitamins and green look. Finally stir gently and put off the fire but ensure that the stock is not completely dry, serve it warm to your child/ward to avoid scalding of the tongue. This simple and light meal is also ideal for supper for the entire family likewise the kids’ school food.

Please leave your comments on how your porridge turned out and also your kid’s reaction.  Watch out for the Irish potatoes version sauce adults would prefer.Enjoy!

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