by Khadija Garba | Oct 24, 2020 | Food & Kitchen
Yam has been a Nigerian food far back to the history of food and Nigeria itself. It has been a source of delicious meals generation after generation. In addition, it is a tool of employment for its farmers and suppliers and an empowerment strategy for both genders across the food industries. It is a whole in which multiple varieties can be sourced out. In this article, I will be sharing with you dishes you could make with yam.
Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in many temperate and tropical regions, especially in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania.
Yam is edible tubers and they are found majorly in Niger, Benue, Edo, Oyo, Taraba, Abia, Sokoto states of Nigeria. In Nigeria, here are all the dishes you could make with yam.
Yam Recipes from Nigeria
1. White Yam
This is the second easiest yam recipe for me. All one has to do is pill the yam, cut it into pieces, wash then boil until it is soft. Why did I say it’s easy? Because during the cooking, you don’t have to stand in front of the cooker dreading it burn, you just have to put enough water. Then go about your other activities while checking on the pot from time to time.
White Yam is mostly served for lunch and it is enjoyed with stew, either cabbage, onion or egg sauce, and sometimes just oil and pepper. It depends on the mood and pocket of the eater.
2. Fried Yam
Fried yam is also one of the dishes you could make with yam. In most cases, this yam goes directly from cutting (slicing) and washing to been pushed into hot oil after sprinkling a little salt/maggi. Only a few people boil it before frying. Boiling usually makes it softer even after being fried.
Fried Yam is enjoyed as breakfast or dinner. It is preferably taken with pap, (kunu) or custard. In some cases, it is garnished with a little egg or onion sauce by the side of the plate. It is the easiest yam recipe for a few people.
Also, fried yam has been a source of livelihood for a lot of people. It is fried and sold to people side by side with Akara. I remember my secondary school days, we used to have women whose canteen consisted of this yam and akara. Then, we could eat something tangible during break periods for as low as 50naira.
3. Golden Yam
Golden yam, laced yam, yam, and eggs are all names used to identify the recipe of yam dipped into eggs. It is a famous yam recipe within Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large for different reasons:
First, it is a devotedly patronized recipe amongst the Nigerian Muslim communities during Ramadan for iftars.
Secondly, it is a variety that can be made out of leftovers. Throughout my life, each afternoon, we make white yam and it stays overnight, we preserve it then wake up first thing in the morning to wash, slice, and fry with eggs for breakfast.
Thirdly, it is an additional source of livelihood for a lot of people especially men. In my life, I know some men who fry yam with egg in the evening (7 pm to 10 pm) and they are making it. As a matter of fact, one already has landed from it, not to mention restaurants with it on their menu.
Yam and Egg is prepared by peeling off the skin of the yam. Instead of cutting into pieces, the yam is sliced into pieces, then washed and boiled. Note that the boiling doesn’t take time like in the case of the white yam. After the boiling, it is sieved to drain out the water and cool it down a little.
Meanwhile, you break and beat in your egg inside a bowl. Put on a frying pan with oil on the fire. When it’s hot enough, you pick a slice of the yam; dip it inside the egg before throwing it into the oil for frying. Frying doesn’t take long least the egg around the yam crisps into something not desirable.
On an ordinary day, this yam recipe is a breakfast goal for most people.
4. Yam Porridge
Instead of just boiling in water, here, it is chopped into medium size cubes and the water is no crystal clear water. It is a combination of onion, tomatoes, pepper, meat, palm oil, and maggi. In some cases, beans and spinach are added to the mix.
It is one of the afternoon dishes you could make with yam; lunch. As the name porridge implies, this yam recipe comes out looking yummy.
5. Roasted Yam
This is the easiest dish you could make with yam. As roasting implies, locally, the whole tuber is placed atop a grill that has an open fire underneath. When it’s done, the yam is then sliced and peeled to be eaten with oil and pepper. It is a lunch menu.
Using today’s technology, however, it is sliced circularly before been soaked in salt water for some time. Then, it is placed in an oven and grilled at low heat. It is enjoyed with any sauce. This type of roasted yam recipe belongs to both the breakfast and lunch menu.
6. Pounded Yam
This is one of the dishes you could make with yam. Just like the name has a ring of the pound to it, the processing of this meal includes pounding. Yam is boiled to a serious level of softness, followed by a vigorous pounding session in the traditional pestle and mortar with as much as little water as possible. When it has been beaten into the desired finesse, it is moulded into a medium ball-like shape and it is served with traditional soups like Egusi, Okro, Beans soup, etc.
This process requires raw power which is why women in this generation stay away from this yam recipe as much as possible. Though the machine has been invented for the pounding process, it is not popular amongst households. It should be noted that not every yam is a fine agent of this swallow. The specific types for a tasty swallow are the ones gotten from Niger state because of their powder-like capacity, not to mention the starchiness that is responsible for sticking.
It should be noted that this is one of the best dishes most men like. It is probably their best swallow.
7. Yam Balls
This is a yam recipe not funny to achieve at all. Why? This is because it has a lot of processes to go through before its perfection. First, the yam is boiled, then pounded inside a mixture of sauce (ground tomatoes, onion, and pepper with maggi fried in very little oil) whilst it is still hot. After the smoothening, it’s moulded into small ball-like sizes. These ball-like sizes prepared yam are fried in oil after been dipped in a bowl of the beaten egg. See! This is why I labelled it “the not easy recipe you could make with yam’.
Yam balls are an afternoon package that is sometimes used as snacks during events related to weddings.
Bakin (black) Amala just like pounded yam is a swallow; a category of food taken with Nigerian soups such as Egusi, Okro, Ewedu, etc. This type of amala is made from the peels of yam. First, the sandy/brown part of the yam is stylishly scraped before the main peeling occurs. The peels are then washed and dry before grinding into powder. The ground powder is what is used to make this meal.
First, water is put on fire. When it boils, a handful of this powder is made into a paste then poured into the boiling water. After a few minutes, another handful is fetched and added to the already boiling paste while been seriously turned with a swallow stick (“mucchiya in Hausa) into smoothness and desired thickness. Amala is ready for consumption. This is surely one of the dishes you could make with yam.
Yam is an important type of food in Nigerian societies which is why it is enjoyed in different recipes. The above mentioned are 8 dishes you could make with yam. A lot of festivals are centred around yam. It provides a healthy amount of potassium, metabolic B vitamins, fibre, etc. Not to mention, it is a good source of energy.
by Khadija Garba | Oct 22, 2020 | Health & Wellness
Ulcer medically means a wound that does not heal and becomes ulcerated. It is a sore that forms in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine and it is researched to be majorly caused by helicobacter pylori (H. pylori); a bacteria that attacks this lining. This bacteria however is not the only thing that can cause ulcer. Chronic use of NSAIDs is also an agent of ulcers. Forgetfulness and negligence can also lead to ulcer.
People tend to get so busy that they forget to respect their food on time. This forgetfulness gives birth to a habit of neglect for food or a balanced diet in general. The stomach has hydrochloric acid to enable digestion and it follows a chain pattern to get realized at some certain time. Now when there is no food in the stomach, it ends up burning the stomach lining, creating a path for ulcer.
Ulcers are classified into three categories:
Oesophageal ulcers are ulcers that develop in the oesophagus.
Peptic Ulcer develops in the stomach lining or small intestine.
Duodenal Ulcer is a type of peptic ulcer and it is formed in the upper small intestine.
The Best Way To Handle Living with Ulcer Patients
Almost every household (either nuclear or within the extended) have people who are victims of ulcer. As someone who grew up around these patients, a lot of adjusting and getting-used-to in our kitchen menu was something that was inculcated into me at quite a young age.
For instance, we could not be using pepper (attarugu) for soups or stew and even with other options. We had to ensure the meal prepared isn’t pepperish in any way. When it’s that time of the year (Ramadan), pap is the constant, “kunun tsamiya” was a limited variety. This is all because the body system of people with Ulcer does not react to situations the same way with ordinary people. They can’t wake up and decide they want to eat anything and everything thing out there. Even if they want to, their stomach would not grant them that liberty. Some food options are always a gamble for them.
Usually, this set of people come out surprisingly stubborn to their predicament because living with ulcer means given up on a lot of things that make eating food interesting (pepper for instance). So, you’ll find them bending and breaking all the necessary actions that are supposed to keep them off triggering their wounds.
The most common symptom of ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the stomach (between the breastbone and belly button),then nausea and a lack of appetite.
Here are ways to keep people living with ulcer healthy and out of attacks
1. They Should Not Starve
One of the many reasons people end up with Ulcer is that they get so busy they forget about food. Naturally, if you go long hours without food, at some point you’ll hear your stomach growling, and the pangs joining later. You should always make sure they stay away from angering their predicament by making them eat three times daily; breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This should also follow a healthy timing because some people will eat breakfast at 9 then lunch at 5. For ulcer patients, their eating timetable should be; breakfast by 7-9 am, lunch should be around 2 pm and dinner should follow at 7-8 pm.
Snacking can happen in between the mealtimes but it’s of importance you try to adhere to these timings especially when living with ulcer patients. You are sure to witness improvement.
2. Lots of Watermelons!
Fruit is naturally a good monitor to our health but when it comes to ulcer patients, nothing can beat a sweet ripened watermelon. So, if they end up staying too long in a meeting, the market, etc. and they miss the appointed time lunch, watermelon is a great thing to have before the main deal. It makes peace with the stomach first, then the main food can stomp in without causing any harm.
Also, if it’s time for fasting, the second thing they should eat immediately after breaking their fast is watermelon, water being the first. It’ll be healthier for them to make watermelon a daily habit. My momma never makes the mistake of breaking her fast without watermelon for she knows the kind of consequences that follows are things she does not enjoy.
3. They Should Eat Bananas
Sitoindosides in dried, unripe banana increases mucus in the digestive tract which provides a strong coating to help prevent and heal ulcer.
There was a time in my life I made the habit of getting my mom watermelon and banana each time I was out. You should totally do the same with your beloved patients.
4. Limit Spicy and Oily Food
Have you experienced what it is like to add salt to open wounds? Pepper has the same effect on ulcers which is why you’ll hear people living with ulcer complain of explicit pains each time they eat their food peppery. Always take out the inside of every agent of pepper before making their food.
This will in turn reduce the rate at which pepper becomes pronounced in the final meal. Fried food or food with too much ulcer should not be their average reality. Living with ulcer means no pepper and less vegetable oil.
5. Cut off Carbonated and Caffeinated Drinks
Sodas and Colas irritate the stomach, this is because of the phosphoric acids in them. Drinks like coca-cola, sprite, caffeinated coffees should be kept out of their sight.
I’ve heard countless doctors tell their patients during consultations to stay away from soft drinks for it does more harm than good.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Whether it’s weed or shisha or even cardboard, an ulcer patient should stay away from smoking completely. Smoking is naturally a harmful thing to our human bodies then imagine smoking when you’re already not 100% per cent healthy.
Meanwhile, alcohol increases acid production and exacerbates symptoms in individuals. Alcohol erodes the protective mucosal lining along the gastrointestinal tract which leads to further inflammation. So alcohol and smoking is a no-no for people living with ulcer.
7. Stay off NSAIDs
Ibuprofen, diclofenac amongst others can cause damage to gastroduodenal mucus, reduction to gastric mucosal blood flow and interferes with the repair of superficial injury. It also causes impairment of the barrier properties of the mucus.
NSAIDs translates to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and you shouldn’t give it to an ulcer patient for temporal relief because it does more harm than good.
Doctors are to be consulted before any drug prescription.
8. Feed Them Vitamin A
Foods with vitamin A increases the production of mucus in the gastrointestinal tract. So, vitamin A carriers like broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes are a must for a diet rich in vitamin A reduces the development of ulcer.
9. Lots of Water and Honey
Warm water has a soothing effect on the wound this is why its consumption is encouraged, likewise honey.
My sister used to have this funny craving for honey. She uses it to butter her bread instead of normal butter/cheese, she fetches a spoonful and just throws it into her mouth, and sometimes, she dilutes honey into lukewarm water before drinking. For someone who doesn’t fancy honey, I find her actions weird but apparently, she knows what works well for her body and predicament.
10. Ulcer Patients Should Take Lots of Cabbage
Scientist thinks that it may be the amino acid gluten that gives cabbage it anti-ulcer punch because it does not just prevent healing, it speeds healing. So, get those cabbage and start making them salads and juices.
11. Avoid Them Taking Acidic Foods
Fruits like lemons and pineapple do more harm than they are beneficial to ulcer. Foods that have a sour taste should be regulated. For instance “kunun tsamiya”, you either break down the amount of tamarind to be used while making it or you don’t allow them to drink it.
12. Milk is Bad For Ulcer Patients
This only provides a temporal relief of symptoms because it coats the stomach lining temporarily also, its slight alkaline gives it antacid property. In the long run, however, milk and milk products increase acid secretion, digestive enzymes which aggravate ulcer, making symptoms worse. It is a rich source of protein after all so it’s best if its intake is kept on a low level (say once daily). Yoghurt however is believed to be good for ulcer.
Food like garri and yam causes heartburn and takes a longer time to digest due to their dryness. So it’s either you serve people living with ulcer really overcooked yam while refilling their glass of water every minute or, you don’t serve that to them at all.
Ulcer can heal but the rate at which its victims do not enjoy following doctor’s orders and the above tips on living with ulcer makes it healing process close to the impossible mission.
by Kabir Salisu | Oct 20, 2020 | Health & Wellness
The rambles of traditional medicine sellers through loudspeakers is the hallmark of Arewa markets. We buy a myriad of regimens to strengthen our physical health, but the noun ‘mental health’ sounds unfamiliar to our intellects, even though many people suffer from mental health conditions in Arewa. To the average northerner, the mentally ill are those communally neglected people that are left to roam the streets with rags, eating insects, worms, and whatever is within their reach in the garbage and dumping sites. Well, you will no longer look at mental health from this angle after reading this post.
Are We Mentally Healthy?
Mental Health simply means emotional well-being, the ability of a person to cope with the normal stresses of life. Look at its positive side, and do what is beneficial to his/her immediate community.
Research has shown that one out of four people suffers from one mental health condition in Arewa. This means, if there are 8 people in your family, 2 are mentally ill, one might ask: why don’t we see them eating sand or greeting the clouds? It’s because mental illness is wider than what we imagine it to be.
My question goes: are you always able to manage with normal stress, see positivity, and do what is beneficial to others? We all are/might be patients at some point in life I suppose.
Time to Change Our Mindset
An average northerner does not count mental disorders among the major causes of physical ailments and morbidity. Also, an average northerner does not believe that western medicine can cure/manage mental disorder patients; hence, we associate mental illnesses with entirely different causes. Take a look at the following instances;
Children with attention deficit disorders who struggle with understanding concepts in school, yet we call them dullards
People with schizophrenia hear, see, and react to hallucinations, they relate with subjects that aren’t real. For that, we blame sorcery, witchcraft, or jinn possession
We believe people with amnesia (memory loss) and dementia (continuous loss of cognitive function) are caused by magical attacks from rivals.
Those suffering from social phobia and find it hard to relate with others and prefer staying in solitude are tagged as arrogant and masu-ji-ji-dakai. If they try socializing, they end up with anger issues due to anxiety disorders and we say they are jarababbu.
Someone afflicted by depression is tagged mai-ƙunci. After enduring and they decide to opt for suicide, they get judged by the community as someone that has no trust in Allah’s plan (maras tawakkali)
Whilst all the above boldly mental health conditions in Arewa and many more could be prevented by family support or managed by doctors, out of unawareness and negligence, we subject the patients to stigma and inhumane treatments.
How Do We Handle the Patients?
Most families regard it as an insult to have a mentally ill individual as their member; others imagine it to be a curse upon the lineage. For that, families and companions relate to the mentally ill in the following inhumanely ways;
Turning deaf ears to the stress, and not giving a damn about the emotional stability of fellows
Restriction of amnesia and dementia patients from meeting friends and guests in a bid to conceal their situation
Chaining schizophreniacs with shackles to restrict movement and ensure the privy of their status
Taking panic attacks and epilepsy (not purely psychiatric) patients to traditional or religious rehabilitation centres, where they get whippings and incantations. A pity!
Giving food leftovers to the mentally ill, abandoning them to sleep on the streets with some even raped in the process.
The Good News Is…
When talking about physical health, we all know that some diseases are curable while others are manageable but none is invincible. The same applies to mental health, by consulting your primary care physician. You can be referred to a mental health specialist for proper treatment of your own or your loved ones’ mental disturbances.
The common signs of mental disorders include:
- Extreme anger and frustration
- Difficulty to sleep or sleeping excessively
- Excessive fear of events or imaginary situations
- Excessive eating or depressed appetite
- Inattention, depressed mood, and fatigue
- Alternating episodes of fanaticism and depression
- Restlessness for not taking a drug or drink
- Hearing, seeing, believing, or reacting to things or events that are not real.
When you have any of the above signs or notice any of them with a friend or family member, you shouldn’t delay consulting doctors for the condition to be curbed before getting worse. Just like malaria, mental illnesses are trials one should not be ashamed of suffering, seek out proper care. Please.
In addition, you should keep an eye on this space for subsequent posts about mental health awareness and improvements.
Remember; healthy mind, healthy life!
by Aeesha McOsei | Oct 9, 2020 | Health & Wellness
Labels on food products are one of the must-haves of packages or processed food. This is to ensure food safety giving the consumer more information on the food e.g. ingredients etc. In this article, I will be focusing on what you should do when your food exceeds its Best Before (BB) date.
Attached to every processed and packaged food item are two dates, the production date and the best before or expiry date. The production date does not cause any confusion but the other two dates do. People misinterpret the two dates leading to unnecessary waste of food.
What Is the Definition of These Dates and Why Are They Important?
It is a less common cautionary date used in the food industry. It states the last day food is safe to eat. Any food beyond the expiry date should be tossed out immediately. Mostly written as EXP.
Best Before Date
It is the most commonly used cautionary date in the food industry. As the name implies, it states the date a food item is best to be consumed by. Foods that have passed their best before dates can be consumed on the condition that their appearance and odour are still agreeable. Bear in mind that this only applies to previously unopened food items. Mostly written as BB or Best Before.
Expiry dates denote food safety, while Best-before dates denote food quality.
Even though best before dates are beginning to sound like good news, it does not mean you have to keep food forever. That is why I’m here to tell you what you should do when your food exceeds its Best Before.
How Long Some Common Food Can Stay Even After the Best Before Date
First on my list for obvious reasons. With a best-before period of just a week after production, they’ve been turned down severally for being “expired” and unsafe to eat. On the contrary, they are still safe to eat. Maybe not at soft or fresh but they’ll still be fit to eat 3 – 4 days after their best-before date.
2. Soft Drinks
As a testimony, I once drank a chilled bottle of La Casera that was 3 months behind its best before date. It tasted the same and I didn’t suffer any complications.
A bottle of soft drink will still be fit to drink 3 months after the best before dates.
3. Canned Foods
Like sardines and Geisha, corned beef, sweet peas, and corns, etc. As long as the cans are not previously opened or pierced, they are still safe to consume as far as 3 months after their best before dates.
4. Jams and Other Condiments
According to Waste and Resources Action Programm (WRAP) in the UK, jams and the likes of it are still fit for consumption3 years after their best-before dates. Anyways, let us bench it lower at 6 months after the best-before date because we have village people.
Furthermore, WRAP cautions on ensuring that the seal on the jams has been firmly intact.
5. Biscuits and other snacks
These are also safe for consumption up to 3 months after their best-before dates.
With the intention to reduce food waste, please bear in mind that food safety is paramount. Ensure checking the labels on the food products to confirm it is the Best Before date and not Expiry date.
If the packaging is still intact and the appearance and odour are agreeable to common sense, only then should you consume food after their best-before dates.
Once again, under no circumstances should you consume any food past its Expiry date!
So here you go. I hope you now know what you should do when your food exceeds its Best Before. Tell me if you have any concerns in the comment box!
by Amina Lawal | Oct 6, 2020 | Who Is Who
The academic branch of Nothern Nigeria in 1933 organized a competition for educators who were interested in writing books in the Hausa language. Among the competitions were Abubakar Imam, who wrote the fabled Ruwan Bagaja and his brother Malam Bello Kagara. The competition was the first of its kind in the region, and it succeeded in bringing out some great erudition works in the North. Sadly enough, no woman took part in this competition.
Some 30 years later, in the 1970s, another writing competition was organized by the Nothern Nigerian Publishing Company (NNPC) in Zaria. This time around an 18-year-old teenager decided to enter. She entered a book she originally wrote in Hausa and only translated it to English when she heard of the competition. The book – So Aljannar Duniya (love is heaven on earth) – came second in the contest. The name of the author is Hafsat Abdul Waheed. She was the first female love novelist from Nothern Nigeria.
Who is Hafsat Abdulwaheed?
Hafsat Abdulwaheed was born on May 5, 1952 in Kofar Mata quaters, Kano. She did her primary education at Shahuci Primary School and secondary school at Provincial Girls School currently known as Shekara Girls Secondary School, both in Kano State.
Hafsat Abdulwaheed started writing when she was in primary school, where she wrote folk tales for which she received awards. By the time she has started attending school, she developed writing skills from the assignments she was given. She wrote her first published novel when she was in primary five. She has written more than 30 books, many of which have remained unpublished. Her famous book remains So Aljannar Duniya.
So Aljannar Duniya
The masterpiece—So Aljannar Duniya (love is heaven on earth)— came second in the contest. It was published in 1972 and republished in 1980. It became the first novel to be written by a female author in Nothern Nigeria. The theme of the book revolved around love and forced marriages, a subject that was considered taboo in society and was underrepresented in books written by male writers in the region. The book was inspired by the experiences of her elder sister who at that time married a Libyan and the cultural differences began to generate friction in the marriage.
The book has been translated into English, Arabic, and fulfude due to the demand. So Aljannar Duniya was later adopted by several schools and institutions as a study text in the curriculum.
Hafsat Abdulwaheed’s Other Books
Though “So Aljannar Duniya” was her was Hafsat’s first love novel, it was also her last. She wrote 6 more books exploring so many topics including two nonfiction, stories that teach morals and could be read to children, and one poetry book in English.
Some of Hafsat’s published books include;
Yar Dubu mai Tambosai (“Yardubu the Possessed” – fiction)
Nasiha ga Ma’aurata (Admonition for the Married Couple – non-fiction)
Namijin Maza Tauraron Annabawa (non-fiction on the life of Prophet Muhammad)
Tauraron Annaba (The Courageous Man: The seal of the Prophets)
She is now focused on writing Islamic books. Authors who have influenced her the most include; Abubakar Imam and Sai’du Ahmad Daura author of Tauraruwar Hamada.
The emergence of the first female author from Nothern Nigeria, threading on uncharted territories changed the dynamics of writing in Nothern Nigeria. This led to the rise of popular female authors of the so-called Kano market literature popularised in the 1990s. It won’t be an exaggeration if it is said that she paved way for authors like Zainab Alkali, Bilkisu Ahmad Funtua, Talattu Wada Ahmad, Balaraba Ramat Yusuf, and others in the region.
Along, with being a writer she’s also a women’s rights activist and politician. She has an NGO which assists women from Nothern Nigeria in dealing with domestic violence. Her journey into politics was spurred by the lack of inclusion of females in Zamfara state’s cabinet. The Governor of Zamfara at that time felt no female was educated enough to be in his cabinet, which Hafsat felt was an insult because in her house alone all her daughters were very educated.
She decided to contest the gubernatorial elections herself. Even though she ended up being denied the ticket by her party based on cultural and religious reasons, her courage to challenge the incumbency resulted in more women being appointed to the cabinet subsequently.
Hafsat Abdulwaheed’s Family
Through her efforts to contribute to society were truncated, she got to achieve that through her children. This includes Kadaria Ahmad, a prolific journalist and Zainab Ahmad, the wife of the current Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai.
She had ten children, seven of whom are alive. She is happily married to her husband, Muhammed Ahmed Abdulwaheed, with whom she lives with in Zamfara state.