Okay, just recently, I was introduced to a friend name Ruona Agbroko Meyer, who loves to cook traditional meals. Although she lives in Germany, yet she is very proud of her native foods and loves to cook different delicacies.
After several chats with her, here is one of her wonderful native foods known as “Iribotor” which she contributed for our beautiful audience to try and enjoy!
Iribotor is essentially a lighter version of the Igbos’ Nkwobi and Isi-Ewu recipes. Otherwise known as native pepper soup that is eaten by the Urhobo’s of Southern Nigeria. Iribotor’s distinctive taste lies in the same spices which are – Ehuru, Uziza and Efu – used for Nkwobi and Isi-ewu. The difference in consistency is merely due to the fact that Iribotor has far less amounts of kaun.
Iribotor is also eaten as a meal with boiled yams and plantains, starch or eba. Unlike the Igbos, who often eat the thicker Nkwobi and Isi-ewu alone as a starter.
But just like its thicker counterparts across the Niger, Iribotor is usually heavy on pepper, and should be eaten on the same day, as having to reheat it will destroy the consistency of the soup.
That is why every Urhobo knows how to cook a single person’s portion of Iribotor. So simply adjust the recipe to suit the number of people.
Ehuru, Uziza, Efu, Kaun, Palm oil, Crayfish, pepper, salt and stock cubes.
- Season your meat or fish with pepper, salt and stock cubes (and anything else) to your taste and boil until tender. Set aside to cool.
- Toast the Ehuru in an old pan and then grind it with dried Uziza and Efu. Place about half a teaspoon of the three-spice mix in a little mortar or a bowl large enough for you to maneuver.
Note: Iribotor is often made in a mortar because the cook can use the pestle to grind more kaun and mix thoroughly. So if you are using a bowl, then have a little pestle to make things easier.
Otherwise, you may buy your spices and kaun in powder form to enable you simply use a spoon for mixing.
3. To the spices, add a quarter of a teaspoon of kaun; you will be able to add more later, depending on the consistency of your palm oil.
4. Add one heaped tablespoon of crayfish and about half a cup of cooled meat/fish stock. Keep stirring.
Note: If you have no stock, use half a cup of water. You want the liquid not too hot so it doesn’t totally melt the palm oil.
5. Start adding the palm oil a little at a time, and keep stirring.
The kaun will thicken the oil, making it lighter. If need be, add a bit more native salt, rather than too much palm oil. As soon as you get a light soup, stop adding palm oil.
6. Add your meat/fish and stir thoroughly. You may wait a few minutes for the sauce to be fully incorporated into the meat/fish.
7. Taste for seasoning and you may add more pepper, crayfish or even the three-spice mix yo your liking.
8. Serve immediately with boiled yam or plantains, starch or Eba.
Contributed by Ruona Agbroko Meyer @RGAMeyer