What we refer to as garden eggs in Nigeria are vegetables, in the same botanical family as aubergines but are a lot smaller, with incredible shiny and waxy skin. Garden eggs (unlike egg plants - aubergines which are purple in colour) come in two main colours: white or green. Some come as a variegated combination of both colours.
Garden eggs are more common in southern Nigeria and featured prominently in some Igbo customs and traditions relating to marriages and deity worship.
Unlike aubergines, garden eggs are edible raw. Both varieties are incredibly healthy to eat and can be cooked and served in different ways. The most common way to cook garden eggs is to stir it into a spicy tomato base sauce and served with boiled yam. This sauce has been known to be served with pounded yam also.
So today's post features a recipe which is culled from my cooking app Cook! Nigerian (available on iTunes).
Why you should eat more garden eggs:
Garden eggs are full of beneficial vitamins (E, C, B6) and minerals (Calcium, Phosphorous, Copper, Zinc, Iron). They are also low in calories and high in fibre. They are believed to help lower bad cholesterol in the blood, help promote weight loss and contribute to the overall healthy function of the heart. Now these are reasons to incorporate garden eggs into your diet...
Try this recipe and serve for breakfast or as a light evening meal.
What you need
- 6 garden eggs
- 1 small onion; chop
- 3 firm but really ripe tomatoes
- Some palm oil
- Cooked prawns (dried prawns or bonga fish can be used as an alternative)
- Some slices of puna yam
- Spring onions or chives for garnish
- 1 bouillon cube
What to do
- Remove the stalk, wash and place garden eggs in a small pot and boil in water for about 10 minutes under moderate heat. Check the garden eggs to see if they are soft, then remove them and plunge into cold water. This will help with the ease of peeling off the skin. Peel and place the garden eggs on a plate, set aside.
- Heat palm oil in a pan and add the chopped onion and tomatoes. Stir well. Then add crushed bouillon cube. Taste for salt and adjust according to your taste. If the sizzling onions and tomatoes appear to be drying out, add a couple of splashes of water and stir. Allow this to cook until onions have softened then add cooked egg plants and mash into the onion/tomato sauce. Stir well and adjust taste with some salt if required. Allow to simmer through under low heat for about 3-5 minutes.
- Simultaneously, peel and wash the yam. Then boil in some salted water. Cook until yam is soft. Check softness by pricking yam with a fork.
- When cooked, serve yam with the garden egg sauce. Best served hot.