Ayamase stew also called Designer stew or Ofada sauce is a green bell peppers stew, which happens to be a delicacy common in the western part of Nigeria. This stew is actually different from ofada stew but seems to have adopted the name because of the Ofada rice with which it is most often served. This sauce with its unique bleached palm oil flavor, signature boiled eggs and assorted meats is one of the easiest African stews you will make.
[bctt tweet="I bet you never knew green bell peppers can make this amazing sauce." username="mydiasporakitch"]
Ayamase Stew Recipe (Designer stew)
Ayamase has many names, it's called Designer stew, Obe Dudu (meaning black stew/soup) Ofada stew which has transitioned to being called Green Ofada stew to differentiate it from the original Ofada stew which is made with red bell peppers.
The very first time I tasted this stew, it was from a Mama-put joint. My aunties came home from Unilag with this packaged rice and stew they called designer rice. I discovered later that it was from a popular restaurant in Bank Olemo Street Surulere where this Designer stew /rice aka Ayamase stew was their signature stew. After tasting it, as young as I was I knew that I had to make this someday. I never got to make it until I got married though, hence my bleached palm oil story which you need to read by the way 😀
What is Mama Put?
Mama put is a coined word that is now used to refer to road side restaurants. It is believed to be the words used by customers asking the food seller to put the food in their plates. ('Mama put' plate in hand)
Eating out in 'mama put' joints wasn't what I grew up doing. In fact it was unheard of until I got into college. Those days fast foods were not encouraged in many homes. All our foods were made at home and from scratch even our pap was made from scratch.
Back then Mama put was frowned upon for the following reasons.
- If you get used to eating mamaput, because of the convenience you become too lazy to cook
- Mama put food is super addictive o
- Some Mamaput environment are usually not hygienic
- You save money when you cook your own meals
What is the difference between Ofada Stew and Ayamase Stew? Are they the same?
These two stews are very similar but different. The only major difference is the type of bell peppers used. The terms Red Ofada stew and Green Ofada stew came form this only difference.
Have you guessed yet? Ofada stew aka Red Ofada is made with only Red bell peppers while Ayamase aka Green Ofada is made with green bell peppers. Easy right.
To be honest, that's the only major difference. Every other thing is the same.
Ingredients needed to cook this Ayamase Recipe
- Green bell peppers
- Bleached palm oil
- Boiled Eggs
- Assorted meats: This includes honey comb tripe, Tripe, (Shaki) cow skin, (Pomo) cow foot, beef etc. You can use only one type of meat if you prefer.
- Locust beans (iru)
- Salt and bouillon
- Ground Crayfish
How to bleach Palm oil
Bleached Palm oil is a must use ingredient in this recipe for that authentic taste Ayamase stew is known for. Of course you can use vegetable oil for this sauce but it won't have that unique taste bleached palm oil adds to this stew. It would taste more like this African beef stew or this Tomato free stew.
Bleaching palm oil requires a few tips and tricks which is covered fully in this post about bleached palm oil . But I will give you a run down here.
- Pour a good quality palm oil in a clean, dry pot (I prefer stainless steel)
- Cover pot, turn on heat to medium and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until the palm oil becomes transparent and no longer red.
- Let oil cool completely before opening the pot. Use immediately or store for later.
How to make Ayamase
During my search for the best Ayamase, I found some recipes that included tomatoes which I tried but didn't quite hit the spot. One day during a discussion my friend told me Designer stew was made with only green bell peppers.
I decided to give it go and oh my! Was I pleasantly surprised, this bell peppers only version took me down memory lane and my mama put escapade partner aka my hubby agreed with me that we had hit a gold mine lol. I knew I had to share this with you my amazing online friends.
This is exactly how I prepare it,
I usually Roast my bell peppers but you can either blend and sieve or boil till it reduces in quantity. All these methods are aimed at making the purée fry faster and reducing overall cooking time.
Pic 1-3; Roast Peppers and blend
Pic 4-6; Sauté the onions in the bleached palm oil, add the iru
Pic 7-9; Pour in the bell pepper purée, crayfish and meat stock
Pic 10-12; Let the stew cook for sometime then pour in cooked meats and finally the boiled eggs.
How to serve it!
Ayamase is traditionally served on banana leaves over Ofada rice with a side of fried plantains which is optional. Ofada Rice also called African wild rice is said to be more nutritious than parboiled rice because it's not over processed.
How to store
White Rice and stew is one of my family's favorites. I usually have my African Beef, Chicken or Fish stew in my freezer. This Designer stew or Ofada is another stew you are likely to find in my freezer as well.
And if I don't have any of these, which is very unlikely, be rest assured I have my homemade stew base frozen and ready for whenever I want to whip up any Nigerian stew.
This Designer stew can stay frozen for up to 3 months. To store, let stew cool completely then transfer cooked stew into freezer friendly bowls and freeze. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then warm up in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Quick Recipe Notes and Tips
- You can boil your eggs up to a week ahead and leave them in the shell stored in an air tight container.
- If making ahead for storage, skip the boiled eggs and boil on the day you would be eating the stew.
- Having stew base in the freezer also speeds up your cooking and saves you time.
- Though bleaching palm oil doesn't really take time, I like to bleach my palm oil and store for future use. Bleaching palm oil requires skills, seriously. Please make sure to read my post on how to bleach palm oil so you don't make the same mistake I made.
- Leaving the pot open after pouring in the green bell pepper purée helps it fry faster.
- The oil may look like it's a lot don't be tempted to reduce it while cooking because it helps fry the purée. If after cooking you still think it's too much, you are free to scoop out the excess.
Frequently Asked Questions
This means 'Iya Mase' in Yoruba language which when translated to English means Mase's wife. This sauce was said to have been created and cooked often by Mase's wife many many years ago.
Two things can make your ayamase bitter, the type of pepper used and if the Green pepper puree gets burnt. Some green peppers and red peppers can have a bitter taste if blended with the seeds.
Yes you can but it won't taste exactly like ayamase because the smoky and unique favor added by the bleached palm oil will be missing.
This will depend on the overall ingredients used. this recipe makes up to 16 sevings and has about 312 kcal per serving.
Did you enjoy this recipe or found it helpful, please leave me a comment and share the link to this recipe with family and friends and in your favorite facebook group.
*This Recipe was first published in January 2018. It has been updated to include better images, a recipe card, more tips, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Ayamase (Designer Stew / Ofada Stew)
- 10-12 large green bell peppers (or 3 cups of my green pepper stew base. see note 1)
- 2 cups bleached palmoil
- 3 green habanero/ scotch bonnet pepper
- 2 medium onions (chopped)
- ¼ cup iru
- 2 ½ lbs (1.2 kg) Assorted meats (Precooked see note 3)
- 3 cups beef stock
- 2 Tbsp ground crayfish (Optional but recommended)
- 10 boiled eggs
- Salt/ bouillon cube to taste
Using the Stew base.
- Saute onions in bleached palm oil, add the iru and stir.
- Then pour in the thawed stew base, ground cray fish, the meat stock, stir and allow to cook for about 20 mins until the stew begins to thicken again. Stir at close intervals to prevent it from burning. (the thickness of the sauce is a personal choice. I like mine thick but not too thick.)
- Taste for seasoning and adjust with more if needed. When the sauce has reached your desired consistency, add the precooked assorted meats, lower heat to a simmer to warm meat through for about 5 mins. Turn off heat the add the boiled eggs. The residual heat would warm the eggs through.
- Serve with ofada rice or any medium or long grain rice.
If using Freshly blended green bell peppers
- Clean and deseed the green bell peppers. Blend with as little water as you can manage without over working your blender. alternatively, blend and sieve or roast and blend.
- Heat up in a sauce pan, sauté onions in bleached palm oil, then add the iru (locust beans.)
- Pour in the freshly blended green bell peppers into the oil. Add the crayfish and meat stock. Stir to ombiner. Cook till the sauce thickens to your desired consistency. This can take up to 30 mins depending on the quantity.
- Add precooked assorted meats. Lower heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes then turn heat off before adding the boiled eggs.
- If you intend to roast the peppers, I suggest you do that a day before to save you time. Alteratively, blend peppers and sieve out the liquid to cut down on cooking time. This is the stew base I use when I have it available.
- Preparing ingredients ahead helps save time when cooking African dishes. If possible bleach your palm oil ahead. Bleached palm oil can be made and stored up to 1 month ahead.
- I pre cook the meats the day before most of the time. If you are cooking meat from fresh, add 30 mins more to this cook time in this recipe. Cook the meats first, then follow the rest of the instructions.
- The nutritional information doesn't include the iru (locust beans) at the time of this recipe card was published, my nutritional info database didn't have it.
- See body of post for answers to more frequently asked questions.