Tomatoes in Nigeria is a commodity for which the demand is constant and it is no more a news that tomatoes are now as costly as gold (like my mum would always say) and this has made a lot of people turn to using the processed
tomatoes (sachet and canned tomatoes), which makes our stews loose the taste of freshness.
I know you might have been seeking alternative stews and sauces that can be made without tomatoes, if you have, i am glad you are reading this post because I have done a few researches and I am able to put together a list of 7 economical and local stews and sauces that can be made without tomatoes.
Okra Soup (Asepo)
This might be a completely bias opinion but I think Okra is one of the most versatile ingredients in the Nigerian kitchen. There is so much that can be done with it. The famous mixed okra soup aka Ila-asepo doesn’t need tomatoes to shine. Ground dried pepper is all you need to make this delicious pot of amazingness.
Ogbono Soup or Draw Soup, is a popular Nigerian soup recipe made with Ogbono Seeds(wild African bush mango seeds). This is one of the first soup given to kids when trying to introduce them to Nigerian soups.
Ogbono soup has a slimy texture, similar to okra soup. Ogbono do not tomatoes and might not be cooked with vegetables.
Garden Egg Sauce
Garden egg sauce can substitute for the tomato stew any day. The basic ingredients needed include: den eggs (either purple “aubergine”, white or green), palm oil, smoked fish, ground pepper (either chili or scotch bonnet), iru (rinsed), onion, crayfish and salt to taste. It can be used to eat rice, yam or plantain.
Popularly referred to as Ofe Akwu, banga stew is a palm nut stew native to the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. While making this stew can take a lot of time as you have to extract the palm oil juice from the palm nuts, it is usually worth the stress in the end as the taste is absolutely yummy. The only ingredients you need include: palm fruits or palm fruit concentrate, beef, dry fish, vegetable (scent leaves for ofe akwu or dried and crushed bitter leaves for Delta-style banga soup), onions, crayfish, stock cubes, iru, salt and chilli pepper (to taste).
Also called “Ayamase”, Ofada stew that is usually made to go with a special kind of local rice referred to as Ofada rice. The sauce can however be used to eat normal white rice, yam, plantain and even spaghetti. The sauce is pretty easy to make and the only ingredients you need include: unripe habanero peppers, green tatashe or green bell peppers, locust bean seasoning (iru, ogiri okpei or dawadawa), red palm oil, onion, crayfish, assorted meat and fish.
A delicacy from the northern part of the country, Miyan Kuka is also known as the Boabab leaf stew. It is a favorite of the Hausa tribe and is usually served with white rice. The key ingredients for preparing this stew include : beef, onion, dried fish, hot peppers (washed, soaked and flaked), kuka [baobab] leaves (pounded to paste), dawadawa(fermented dried seeds of the African locust bean pressed into a ball or a cake), yaji(suya seasoning), a pinch of potash, palm oil, seasoning cubes and of course, salt to taste.
Pumpkin leaf sauce
Pumpkin leaf, otherwise known as Ugu, is one of most widely used vegetables in Nigeria. Pumpkin leaf sauce which is not only very tasty but also very healthy is basically a sautee of fluted pumpkin leaf and onions. It certainly does not taste a long time to cook. The ingredients needed include: chopped pumpkin leaves, seasoned beef or chicken, sliced to strips (optional), meat stock, vegetable oil, chilli pepper, onion bulb, seasoning and salt to taste.
Dont miss this comprehensive article on 5 Benefits of Eating and Growing Tomatoes (with list of health benefits, how to choose the right tomato, how to grow it, some tomato recipes & more)