Necessity and the Birth of a Nameless Dish

They say necessity is the mother of invention.  Ancient Egyptian civilisation was preserved by the need to develop a means to combat the increasing desertification that was encroaching on their territory and the destruction that came with the overflooding of the Nile as a result of the annual rainfall in the southern part of Africa and thus the need to develop irrigation canals, food management system and best practices to ensure its maintenance which guaranteed their sustenance in an increasingly arid land. Hence, although people have asserted that “Egypt is a gift of the Nile” because it is believed that she owes her sustenance to the river Nile, to the contrary, it’s not just a gift of the Nile but also a creation of man. Without human intervention the contribution of the Nile would have been worthless.

The summary of the above is basically that our environment – household, nation etc – defines us. Life throws challenges at us daily and it’s our reaction (action or inaction) to this that determines what we get out of life.

(Having said that…) I was faced with a peculiar situation the past Sunday. I got back from church and was extremely hungry. I headed immediately for the kitchen, scampered around for what to munch on or cook quickly but to my amazement and to the detest of my rumbling stomach found none. What to do? ‘Huzzled’ around for some ingredients to make something original (or at least some dish I have never made before). I was able to get some carrots, green pepper, red pepper (ata rodo), minced meat, red wine, onions, garlic, brownie, freshly ground black pepper corn, seasoning cube (to taste), salt (to taste) and flour. The product of it was an excellent experimental sauce

I do not have exact measurements for this recipe because I was too hungry to measure. However I was gracious enough to take pictures despite my hunger (I think I deserve an ovation for that). Hopefully you can tell the quantity of ingredient from the photos.

Direction

1. Turn the minced meat into a bowl and soak in wine for 10 minutes to absorb. When the time is up, use a strainer to extract wine. Set aside.

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2. Peel carrots and julienne.  Slice every other ingredients.



3. In a pan, put half a cooking spoon of oil and turn on heat to medium. Stir in the garlic and onions and allow to cook for about one minute. Caution: Stir continuously as these ingredients can get quickly burnt.

4. Now, add green pepper, red pepper and carrots. Increase heat to high (regulate continuously to prevent burning). Cook until almost done.


Tips: You will notice that the colour of the vegetables will become pale that is how you will know it’s ready.

5. When ready, set aside in a bowl and keep warm.

6. Extract wine from minced meat using a strainer. Add 2 tablespoons cornflour (mine was exhausted, used all purpose flour) into the extracted wine and stir to make a slurry. Set aside.

7. In a pan, add a little oil as required.  Introduce the minced meat and stir.


When cooked reintroduce vegetables.  Add seasoning cube and salt to taste. Also add freshly ground peppercorn and one teaspoon Oregano. Let it cook until satisfied then make a well in the pan and add slurry. It will thicken up almost immediately. Stir all ingredients together.  Wait another one or two minutes before adding one tablespoon brownie to give it a richer colour.

And viola! Your sauce s ready. You can serve with rice as I did or pasta.


Caveat: The dish tasted wonderful, however, it could be that the hunger amplified the taste. So, do not have overly high expectations ;).  And like every experiment, there may be side effects (not as bad as the scientific ones though); I noticed that in less than an hour after eating I was hungry again. I guess it was the effect of the wine (afterall they say it aids digestion). So if you are looking to eat once a day ‘don’t do this at home’! Lol.

If you decide to try this dish please do let me know how it turned out for you. Are you aware of any sauce prepared exactly the same way? If not, I think I can claim ‘cooking property rights’. What do you think this dish should be named? In short let us play a game. Who does not like games?!!! The person with the most befitting name stands a chance to win N1,000 airtime . This is open to contestants in Nigeria only, however that should not stop others from outside Nigeria from commenting. So get commenting people!!!!

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