Ogiri is a paste of fermented oil seeds. There are many types of ogiri but the most common varieties are Ogiri-Ijebu, Ogiri-Igbo and Ogiri-Nwan. The names are derived from the region of origin.
-Ogiri-Ijebu is made from fermented Egusi seeds and is of Ijebu Yoruba origin – a south western Nigerian tribe.
-Ogiri-Nwan is fermented fluted pumpkin seeds
-Ogiri-Igbo are of two types and is of Igbo origin – a south eastern Nigerian tribe.
1. The ones prepared with a combination of melon seeds (egusi) and castor oil seeds (ugba seeds)2. The ones prepared exclusively with castor oil seeds (ugba seeds).
Castor oil seeds are available in all parts of Africa. In old times, castor oil was valued for its laxative properties and it is used by many new parents in caring for their newborn children
The Egusi seeds/ugba seeds are boiled until very soft. They are then wrapped tightly in banana leaves and left to ferment in large clay pots for about five days. After fermentation is complete, it is smoked for 2 hours and mashed into an oily paste which is ogiri.
Ogiri igbo follows the same process but the fermentation process could take three to five days. The longer the fermentation process, the stronger the Pungent smell, flavor and value .
Ogiri has an oily gray pasty consistency and a very strong pungent smell. The smell is greatly reduced when frozen.
Other local Nigerian favor enhancers :::
1. Iru (Yoruba)
|Iru (Fermented locust beans), mostly used by the yorubas|
|2. Dawadawa (Hausa)|
|dawadawa (fermented and compressed locust beans), mostly used by the Hausas|
How to make dawadawa:::
1. Sort the locust beans to remove any foreign particles. Soak the locust beans in hot water and leave for seven days or boiled for about 8 hour to de-hull.
2. Place the seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle to de-hull. Sieve off the chaff. The cleaned seeds are then steamed and spread inside a calabash whose inside had previously been rubbed with wood ash and covered in leaves.
3. The calabash is covered and wrapped with clothes or sack for about 24 to 36 hours for fermentation to take place. Dawadawa is then pressed into cakes in form of discs. This can now be used as a condiment for soups or stews. Research has shown that fermentation of the seeds increases its digestibility and vitamin content. Dawadawa is a rich source of protein, vitamins and nutrients.
3. Ogiri Okpei (Igbo)
|Ogiri Okpei (Fermented, mashed and compressed locust beans), Mostly used by the igbos|
How To Make Ogiri Okpei
1. The seeds of choice are first sorted, washed and cleaned thoroughly in clean water. Remember that you can use either egusi seeds, fluted pumpkin, Prosopis africana (Mesquite seeds), castor oil seeds or sesame seeds.
2. Cook the seeds until they get softened so that the seeds coverings can easily peel off for easy removal. Afterwards wash the cotyledons and pour in a sieve to drain excess water.
3. Then add the cotyledons into a canister or vessel then cover with local leaves like plantain leaves etc and allow to stay for at least 4 days to undergo fermentation.
4. It is optional to place the vessel under sunlight during the process of fermentation so as to hasten up the fermentation process.
5. Once the fermentation process is complete, ground the fermented seeds into a smooth thick paste, then mold into small balls and allow to dry under the sun.
6. Once the ogiri okpei is sun-dried, it is then ready for usage.
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