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Make this Nigerian stew recipe, then check out this West African peanut stew with sweet potato, chicken yassa and more West African recipes.

Akoko executive chef, Ayo Adeyemi, is all for comforting stews, with a modern twist. “As squash is commonly seen as an autumn/winter vegetable, it would be fitting to feature this signature northern Nigerian stew. This can normally be eaten with green leafy vegetables, goat meat, lots of chilli and spices, and paired with masa waina. My interpretation of the traditional recipe contains locally sourced cured mackerel, ehuru seed, which is an African nutmeg, and red miso, which helps contribute to the dish’s bold smoky and umami flavours.” akoko.co.uk

Ingredients

Mackerel

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 25g caster sugar
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ lime, zested and juiced
  • 25g fine salt
  • 6 fresh mackerel fillets, pin-boned

Soup base

  • 1kg butternut squash or Delica pumpkin
  • 40g runny honey
  • 10g ground ehuru seeds
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 300g red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 200g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 200g red onions, finely diced
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 litre good-quality vegetable stock
  • 250g coconut cream

Garnish

  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp red miso paste (we used Marukome)
  • 1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 10ml sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish

Method

  • STEP 1

    Put the coriander seeds in a small dry frying pan and lightly toast over a medium heat for 2-3 mins or until fragrant. Lightly crush and combine in a mixing bowl with the sugar, citrus juices and zests, and salt. Put the mackerel in a shallow dish, big enough to fit all fillets in a snug single layer. Add the cure mixture, coating the fish and leaving them skin-side up. Cover and chill, leaving to cure for 1 hr.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Peel the squash and cut the neck into 2cm cubes. Put this aside for later. Remove the seeds from the remaining squash and cut into large chunks. Put in a bowl and toss with the honey, ehuru and half the olive oil. Line a large baking tray with foil and add the squash. Roast for 30 mins, tossing halfway through, until tender and starting to char. Remove from the oven and set aside.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, as the butternut roasts, blitz the peppers, tomatoes, half the onion, the scotch bonnet and some seasoning in a blender until smooth. Empty into a wide frying pan and cook over a medium-high heat for 30 mins until halved in volume and reduced to a paste, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Put the remaining olive oil in a pan and cook the remaining red onion over a medium heat for 4-5 mins or until softened, then add the pepper paste with the squash. Add the stock and coconut cream, and simmer over a low heat for 15 mins. Transfer to the blender and blitz on a high speed until smooth. Pass through a strainer and season to taste. Keep warm.

  • STEP 4

    For the garnish, put the butter in a medium frying pan and melt until foaming and starting to smell nutty. Add the miso and the reserved cubes of squash from earlier. Cook over a low heat for 10-15 mins or until caramelised and golden brown. Add the pumpkin seeds and finish with the sherry vinegar and coriander leaves. Rinse and pat dry the mackerel. Use a blowtorch (or grill) to torch the skins until deeply golden and crispy. Portion each mackerel into three pieces using a sharp knife and put in the bottom of a shallow soup bowl. Pour in the warm miyan taushe soup and garnish with the roasted pumpkin mixture on top and extra coriander leaves.

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