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Hello all,

Now we move on to what most of you are familiar with; the West African stock.

The most typical way Nigerians are used to making this stock is by using a few ingredients: Onions, ginger, garlic, curry powder, thyme and then bring all that together with the strong flavour of stock cubes. Stock cubes were created for situations where you are unable to make stock, it seems ironic and really quite funny that we use them to flavour stock.

One of the aims of this class is to bring you to a point where stock cubes become optional and not the only source of flavour in a dish. yes, it is completely possible to make great tasting dishes without stock cubes, even Nigerian dishes, and as most of our Nigerian cuisine uses stock, it makes sense that the first thing we perfect is how to make a great tasting stock with the use of layering flavours rather than stock cubes.

Layering flavours just means that while building a dish, we utilise a variety of complementary tastes beyond just the basic ingredients to improve flavour. As you can see from the images above, these are just a fraction of the amount of spices, herbs and seasoning we can use to layer great flavour into our stock. In my video, I use a varieties of seasonings to flavour my stock, but let me elaborate about some of the others from the gallery above that can be used to impact more strong flavours:

Herbs (Rosemary, sage, bay leaf, thyme, majoram) : These add a nice earthy flavour to the dish, this is where your savoury taste comes from. some herbs have different attributes as well that accompany that earthy flavour, for instance, rosemary and majoram have a sweetness to it, sage contributes a strong aroma and warm flavour, bay leaf is earthy and slightly bitter, which might make you think "why would I want it then, if it's bitter", but remember, great flavour combos are not simply just sweet, or just bitter, or just sour, or just salty, or just savoury (Umami). It is a great combination and balance of all these tastes that create great flavours.

The first image (top left of the gallery) is Uziza: Uziza is a West African spice, I use it as a substitute for black pepper, unlike black pepper, uziza has a warm flavour, and also contribute a nice warm amount of spice, not too harsh.

Smoked Paprika: There is no denying the scent and flavour of smoked products. In my opinion, smoked anything trumps its non-smoked counterpart. The thermal degradation of wood used to flavour this paprika creates a lovely smoky flavour that is transferred over to your stock and just adds that oh-so-good layer of flavour.

Mushrooms: These are just so earthy and umami, and add a rich savoury flavour. The best way for you to understand just how great mushroom flavours are; Get some mushrooms, chop them up, put them in a pan, no oil, maybe a tbsp of water here and then if you notice it getting too dry, just sear them until they get really soft and completely mush, keep stirring, after they get mush, taste it, and you will see what I mean. combine this with other seasonings to create a lovely layer of flavour and your stock will reach new levels of lovely.

IRU (Locust beans): This really are just like mushrooms, and are very savoury and add a rich earthy warm flavour. They have a sweetness to them as well.


- Some of the ingredients you see above are different from the ones I used in my video and here is why. The stock I make in my video is for when I intend to use that stock and meat to make a Nigerian soup. When I intend to make a full pot and save the liquid for other dishes, I add way more water, and add more ingredients like the ones about to boost the flavour.

- Speaking of water, you will notice I added only a little bit of water in my stock, more water than recommended: 1 cup per kilo of meat, will result in a diluted stock, and the flavour will be reduced, just like our western stocks, this is ok if you are just going to use it to add flavours to another richly seasoned dish, but if you intend on using it to season Nigerian soups where the stock is the powerhouse, you will want to follow the recommended amount. One of the best way to do this and avoid losing water from the little you have is to use a pressure cooker, which will also help in cooking tougher cuts of meat faster.

- Using smoked goods like smoked turkey, you will notice in my video, I mentioned 2 ways to use them: either by cooking them straight in with the stock, or by grilling them first and then adding them and their rendered fat to the stock. Smoked goods are great ways to improve flavour because, they are usually brined in a salt solution before being smoked, so aside great flavour, they are excellent ways of adding salt to a dish, saving you having to add a lot of salt grains to boost flavour. These 2 ways are if you are making any other dish that does not use a fat as a starting base (i.e. oil), when making Nigerian soups, we use palm oil as our fat, in this case, my recommended usage of smoked turkey is not to put it into the stock, but to grill it, and then add it to the fat. This will greatly boost flavour.

- Using different cuts and types of meat such lamb, smoked turkey, cow foot, gizzard, tripe, beef, goat meat (with the bone), is a great way to add flavour, these meats have different flavours that add to the stock and boost flavour. you will always get a richer stock using different types of meat that just one type.

I hope all these information will help guide you in layering flavours and making a great stock

see you next week guys :)

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