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Recipe for Pepper Stew

In 2016 and 2017, the price of fresh tomato skyrocketed by 400% within three months; Tuta absoluta destroyed the annual harvest. Tomato farms across Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Plateau states were affected. Overnight, fresh tomatoes became nwata nwoke, an Igbo expression that means a scarce commodity.

However, scarcity of fresh tomatoes did not stop Nigerians from cooking stew. White rice and stew is a traditional Sunday delicacy in most homes; not even tomato scarcity was allowed to mess with this sacred tradition. So, the good people of Nigeria improvised. While some made stew from processed tomatoes, others turned to Yoruba pepper stew popularly known as Obe Ata Din Din or Buka Stew. In fact, pepper stew became so popular at that time that food presenters on radio and television starting dishing out the pepper stew recipe. Today, I bring you the recipe for pepper stew.


Meat (beef, shaki, kpomo)

Eggs (optional)

Palm oil

Red bell peppers (tatashe)


Habanero peppers


Locust bean

Seasoning cubes

Curry powder

Dried thyme

Salt to taste

How to cook

Rinse, spice and cook meat till tender. Set aside for later use. Eggs are optional in pepper stew. If you want to add them, then boil the eggs (they should be hard boiled), peel the shell and set aside. Peel the onions, then rinse together with tatashe, shombo and habanero pepper. Deseed the tatashe; chop some onions then put the rest in the blender. Add the other rinsed ingredients to a blender and blend with as little water as possible.  However, if you end up with a watery mixture, you can either use the flour sieve to drain out excess water or you add the blended paste to a pot and boil to remove excess liquid. Blend the crayfish as well.

Afterwards, place a pot on low heat, pour the palm oil into it and cover it. Covering the pot while bleaching helps to contain the smoke. Let the palm oil bleach for about fifteen minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the oil cool for about five minutes before removing the lid. Put the pot of oil back on fire, add the cooked meat and fry until dry. Scoop them out and set aside. Add the chopped onions and locust bean into the hot oil, sauté for a minute then add the blended pepper mix. Stir and combine, then fry until the mixture loses its sour taste, or until you begin to see the oil rise to the top.

Add the meat stock, crayfish, stock cube and salt. Cover the pot and allow the content to come to a boil. Stir the stew and taste for seasoning. If the taste is satisfactory, turn down the heat and add the fried meat. Stir well; allow the stew to simmer for 5 minute. Add the boiled eggs, stir and turn off the heat.

Your Buka Stew is ready. You can serve this stew with white rice, boiled yam, obe ila /obe ilasa , fried plantain, boiled sweet potatoes, boiled Irish potatoes, or fried yam.


My Diaspora Kitchen

Sisi Jemimah

Featured image source: PBS

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Obiamaka Angela Udevi

Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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