Palm Oil stew and its advantage over groundnut/ vegetable oil. Palm oil was initially found in a cave in Abydos, Egypt dated 3000 BC after which the Arab traders started trading it around central Egypt. Currently, Oil palm stretches to the tropical rainforest region of West Africa. These include countries like; Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo and other parts of Angola.
The stew is prepared just like our usual tomato stew but has its secret ingredients as a red oil which is produced from the popular oil palm fruit, the Igbos call it Akwu.
Generally, palm oil has an aromatic taste and is popularly used in the preparation of so many dishes. It is also a great source of Vitamin E and Carotenoids, which act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage. Although, factors like its fat contents and cholesterol can create problems for some people, which is why it’s advisable to take it in moderate quantities especially while making red oil stew.
The speciality, palm oil stew is an unpopular kind of stew most common to the Yorubas and some other parts of Edo state, it is also known as Red oil stew. It is prepared with a substantial amount of pepper due to the neutralizing effect red oil has on pepper.
Let’s dive right into the ingredients which are necessary for palm oil stew:
Firstly, remember that any type of protein goes well with this kind of stew but fish and chicken gives a unique type of flavour to it. Depending on your choice of protein, adequate spices should be used to make their respective broths. For instance, while using chicken or turkey, chicken spices are like the popular fung yue spice.
• Three cooking spoons of palm oil.
• Six medium fresh sized tomatoes
• Two sachets or one medium-sized tin tomato.
• Seven medium-sized chilli or bell peppers.
• One ball of onion.
• Two fish or 1kg of chicken/meat/turkey.
• Three seasoning cubes, preferably Knorr chicken.
• Grounded crayfish (optional)
• Salt for taste.
Also, note that preparation time can extend from 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on how fast your source of heat is. However, for that incomparable aromatic smell, it is better to use firewood, which has become rarely used these days though.
Step One: Shred the onions, remove stalks from the chilli and ball peppers and finally wash them with the fresh tomatoes in clean water. After which, blend the combination until they are well-grounded. Boil the mixture in a pot sizeable enough to contain it, leave the pot lid open until the water dries up and becomes a puree.
Step Two: Wash your fish, meat or chicken and put it inside another pot. Add one cube of Knorr seasoning, some salt to taste and slice some onions into it as well. Steam your choice of protein until it becomes tender then put away while ensuring that some broth is left.
Step Three: Place a dry pot on the burner and add the three spoons of red oil ( make sure the kitchen is well-ventilated to let out smoke to avoid choking and intense inhalation) slice some onions into the already blanched oil while adding the sachet or tin tomato. Stir the tomato for five minutes, making sure it doesn’t stick to the pot. However, if this happens, you can add another cooking spoon of red oil to ease the burning.
Step Four: Add the Tomato Puree and stir for five minutes still ensuring that there is less stickiness to the pot.
Step Five: Add the fish, meat or chicken broth and stir thoroughly for two minutes then allow to simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.
Step Six: Finally, remove the pot from the burner and serve the aromatic stew with rice, white spaghetti, macaroni or yam.
Moreso, this stew can be served with sensational amala and ewedu. Fufu and pounded yam can also be used to eat this delicious stew.
BENEFITS OF USING PALM OIL ( RED OIL) OVER VEGETABLE OIL
- Palm oil is used to prevent vitamin A deficiency.
- It has a high flavor and smoke point which makes it best for making several dishes.
- Palm oil has less fat and cholesterol when heated than vegetable oil.
- Palm oil is gotten from palm fruit while groundnut oil is mostly gotten from animal fat.
- Palm oil is also a vital ingredient in the mitigation of diseases such as cancer, brain breakdown, malaria and aging.
- Palm oil is vastly produced and less expensive than groundnut oil.
DISADVANTAGES OF PALM OIL
- Palm oil is a dense kind of vegetable oil hence, it has very high saturated fats and that is why it’s advisable to blanch it a little before intake.
- Reheated oil can cause terrible heart diseases like atherosclerosis.
It is not advisable to avoid palm oil intake but moderate use should be put into consideration while cooking or eating palm oil.