Benefits of Eating Offals and Three Recipes You Can Try
One aspect of Nigerian and some African cuisines that may be less familiar to those outside the continent is the use of offals in cooking.
While many people may be put off by the idea of eating organs, offals are a highly nutritious and delicious addition to any diet. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of eating offals and provide three easy-to-follow recipes that you can try at home.
WHAT ARE OFFALS?
Offals refer to the internal organs and entrails of animals, such as the stomach, hooves (trotters), shin, intestines, liver, head, tongue, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, udders, and, very rarely in certain communities, testicles.
BENEFITS OF EATING OFFALS
1. HIGH IN NUTRIENTS
Offals are excellent sources of several essential nutrients that are not found in significant amounts in other foods. For example, liver is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy vision, immune function, and skin health. It is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is essential for the formation of red blood cells and nerve function.
Other organs, such as the heart, kidney, and spleen, are rich in iron, which is essential for the formation of red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Additionally, offal is a rich source of minerals such as copper, selenium, and zinc, which are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, metabolism, and brain function.
Eating offal is an excellent way to reduce food waste and make use of the whole animal. Many people only consume the muscle meat of an animal, while the organs are discarded. This practice is wasteful and environmentally unsustainable.
By consuming offal, you are reducing the demand for muscle meat, which can help reduce the number of animals that need to be raised for food. Additionally, using all parts of an animal helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of meat.
Offal is often less expensive than other types of meat, making it an affordable way to incorporate high-quality protein and essential nutrients into your diet. This is especially true for people who are on a tight budget or living in areas where meat is expensive.
In many cultures, offal is a traditional food that is valued for its nutritional and economic benefits. By incorporating offal into your diet, you are not only improving your health but also supporting sustainable and ethical food production.
THREE NIGERIAN RECIPES YOU CAN TRY WITH OFFALS
Suya is a popular Nigerian street food that consists of skewered meat that has been marinated in a spicy peanut sauce and grilled over an open flame. While suya is traditionally made with beef, it can also be made with the offals of your choice.
To make suya with offals, start by preparing the marinade:
In a blender, combine:
1 cup of roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and
Salt to taste.
Blend until smooth, then add enough water to make a thick paste.
Next, cut the offals into bite-sized pieces and skewer them onto wooden or metal skewers. Brush the marinade onto the offals and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Grill the skewers over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, until the offals are cooked through and the edges are charred. Serve with sliced onions, tomatoes, and more of the peanut sauce on the side. (Read about how to make homemade suya and its sauce here).
Nkwobi is a popular Igbo delicacy that consists of spiced cow foot and is typically served as an appetizer in Nigerian restaurants. To make nkwobi:.
Start by cleaning and washing the cow foot thoroughly.
Cut the cow foot into small pieces and place them in a pot of boiling water.
Boil for 10-15 minutes
Then drain and rinse the cow foot.
Next, season the cow foot with a mixture of salt, bouillon cube, ground crayfish, and chopped onions.
Add enough water to the pot to cover the cow foot and bring to a boil. .
Reduce the heat and let the cow foot simmer until it is tender and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
To serve, place the cow foot in a small bowl and pour the sauce over it. Garnish with chopped onions and sliced utazi leaves.
3. PEPPERED GIZZARD
Peppered gizzard is a popular Nigerian snack that is often served at parties and social gatherings. To make peppered gizzard, start by:
Cleaning and washing the gizzards thoroughly.
Cut the gizzards into small pieces and season with salt, bouillon cube, and a mixture of ground chili pepper and paprika.
In a frying pan, heat up some oil and fry the gizzards until they are golden brown and crispy.
Remove the gizzards from the pan and set them aside.
In the same pan, sauté chopped onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes until they are soft and fragrant.
Add the fried gizzards back into the pan and toss them in the pepper sauce until they are well coated.
Serve the peppered gizzard with sliced onions and more chili pepper on the side.
You can try this with liver, kidney, intestines and virtually every other offal meats.
There are diverse ways you can use offals in the kitchen. For instance, they can be well cooked and incorporated in soups or stew also. Some of them can also be fried and well peppered.
In conclusion, offals are an important part of Nigerian cuisine and can be used to make a variety of delicious dishes. From suya to nkwobi and peppered gizzard, these recipes are a great way to experience the unique flavors of Nigerian cooking.