Photo of Winnie and Ike Ogbogu in Nigeria 1970s
Towards the end of elementary school the Ogbogues moved to Croton just around the corner from my house. Soon a close family relationship began between children and adults alike that still going on today. I spent a lot of time playing the sport in season with Fran and Ben the two oldest boys. We went in and out of each other’s houses all the time eating or drinking. Like me Fran and Ben ate a lot. So did the other six big boned children Mrs. Ogbogu had over the years. One of them, Eric, went on to play seven years in the NFL. I remember the smell of Nigerian food in Mrs. Ogbogu’s kitchen so well! Born and raised in Nigeria, she made traditional dishes like Akara (blackeyed pea type dumpling/patty), egusi (the seeds of fermented melon cooked with beef, oxtail, smoked fish) soup and ground nut soup. These soups one ate with yam fu fu. She also made fried plantains and many other dishes. But my favorite dish was jollof rice! Here’s the recipe below.
Jollof Rice Recipe:
Oil for frying (palm or regular vegetable oil)
1 or 2 finely chopped onions
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper according to taste
chopped chilli pepper
2 or 3 crushed cloves of garlic
2 cups of chicken or beef stock or Maggi cubes
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
bell pepper or sweet green pepper, chopped
green peas or string beans
four cups rice
4 tbsp can tomato paste
2 tbsp dried shrimp or crayfish
fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped
lettuce, shredded heat oil and brown chicken.
Remove the meat and add the onions, the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, bay leaf and curry in the oil.
Fry for a moment and add vegetables.
Fry the mixture until the onions become tender.
Add the stock and the chicken and boil for about 20 minutes.
Then add the dried shrimps/crayfish and the chilli and bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Put the rice in a separate saucepan. Add water and tomato paste.
Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is done (add warm water or broth if necessary).
Serve with garnishes according to taste.