Eru is one meal that everyone in my house loves. From Mr N. to baby girl, no leftovers are guaranteed. Some weeks ago, my parents sent me some dried Eru and crayfish all the the way from home. I leaped for joy knowing it will be a while before I visit an African store to purchase these leaves. My parents eh. They wrote my names on the packs as though they were sending me off to Form 1 in boarding school. See the packs below.
Eru is a wild plant that is harvested from the forest in Cameroon. In Nigeria, it is called Ukazi or Afang. Natives of Cross Rivers State use it to prepare the famous Afang soup. Afang soup has a striking similarity to Eru but it is more “soupy’ and the Eru is ground or pounded prior to preparation. Another soup that really looks like Eru is the Edika Ikong, also prepared by the Calabar people of Cross Rivers State in Nigeria. It looks almost like Eru. Permit me to say that Eru is the grandmother of Afang! I have tasted the two and I know who the mama is and who pikin is. Lol!
I’m yet to see someone who doesn’t like this delicacy. It is that meal that will make a responsible man fail to follow the queue when he notices it is almost finished at a party. Lol. But seriously people just love this dish. I’ll show you below how to make the perfect Eru everytime but first let’s look at some Eru don’ts:
-Don’t add water after adding in your Eru. It is a ‘dry soup’ You sure need water to cook your meat/fish but make sure the water is dried before you put in your spinach/waterleaf. The spinach will provide the moisture you need.
-Don’t add onions to Eru. I have seen some recipes including onions and that is just out of place. Original Eru needs no onions.
-Don’t cook Eru without crayfish. My Mom always says, “crayfish is the ingredient of Eru.” No amount of dried fish can replace crayfish in Eru.
-Don’t eat Eru with a spoon (okay, I’m kidding on this one!)
Let’s start cooking, people.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
6 cups of Eru/Ukazi
3 bags/bundles of spinach/waterleaf
2-3 pounds of meat/fish of choice(beef skin/canda, beef stripes, beef, goat meat, dried/smoked fish, stocked fish, snails, and/or others)
2 cups of crayfish
3 cups of palm oil plus half cup of canola (or groundnut) oil
1 crayfish seasoning cube (Maggi Crevette)
1 Habanero pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
If you are using dried Eru, start by soaking it in water.
Wash your meat and put in the pot to boil. I used beef skin and beef stripes AKA canda and towel.
While the meat boils, chop your spinach or waterleaf and set aside.
When your meat is half-boiled, season with salt. When it is cooked, add in spinach and start stirring. Spinach is quite soft and will shrink fast as seen below.
Then you drain Eru and add to pot. The small liquid from the Spinach will make the Eru soft.
Add in your fish and mix. I had some already boiled stock fish so I threw it in.
Then add the oil, seasoning cube and lastly crayfish. Tip : Mixing palm oil and canola/vegetable oil keeps the oil from becoming hard when the Eru is cold.
Stir well and voila, Eru is ready. Serve with Water Fufu (Akpu), Garri or even Pounded Yam.
The works of Mr N’s hands-
Ehen, if you try this abeg come back to gist me by dropping a comment below. Enjoy!