Obe Eja is a national dish of Nigeria. Rich and sumptuous, you will savor this stew and want to prepare it many times.
Obe Eja (Nigerian Fish Stew) Recipe-
- 8-10 catfish fillets and/or tilapia fillets
- 2 large red bell peppers, quartered
- 4 scotch bonnet peppers
- 4 Roma plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 large red onion, quartered
- 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
- Fresh ginger root, equal in size to the garlic, peeled and rough chopped
- 3-1/2 cups water
- 3 knorr cubes, or 3 maggi cubes (a must ingredient, this uniquely African seasoning)
- 1 tbsp. Goya Adobo seasoning (the kind with pepper) (you have to have this ingredient)
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup safflower oil (or your favorite vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup red palm oil (another must ingredient – no substitute will do)
- Using cool, to room temperature water, rinse and clean the fish. Pat dry and salt both sides of the fillets well, rubbing the salt into the flesh. Place the salted fillets in a deep bowl and cover with cool to room temperature water for 25 to 30 minutes—this ensures the salt seeping deep into the fish. But no longer than half an hour, or it will get too salty.
- In a blender, add the quartered onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes, along with the scotch bonnet peppers, ginger and garlic, with one cup of water. Blend until completely liquefied.
- In a large cooking pot, heat both oils until they are smoking hot—seriously. Exercising caution, add into the pan your liquefied mixture. Now reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and allow to cook for about 45 minutes. Every so often, check on the soup to see if you need to add more water. You probably will, or else the soup will become too thick.
- By now you should be ready to drain the saltwater off of your fish fillets in a colander.
- 30 minutes into the soup cooking on medium, crush your knorr or maggi cubes and add them along with the Adobo seasoning into the pot. Stir and let cook another 15 minutes.
- Now add in the fish, stir well, and let cook another 12 to15 minutes—until you can see the fish starting to flake. Remove from the heat, and allow the soup to cool for about 4 or 5 minutes before serving your Obe Eja.
Nigerian Obe Eja is traditionally served either with white rice or Ugali. Also, sometimes, it is taken together with okro soup—which makes a wonderful compliment of textures and flavors.
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