Grilled Garden Eggs


Garden eggs are mostly eaten raw, often times with some peanut butter. But they can also be stewed with tomatoes and onions and served with boiled or pounded yam.

My memories of eating garden eggs when I was growing up are quite pleasant. I have had some experience hand picking the fruits from a nearby farm belonging to my father's friend (baba yaya) many many years ago. I remember how excited I was to find large fully matured ones and how I enjoyed digging my teeth into them.

Garden eggs are quite firm to the touch and may sometimes be tough to bite. They also have a sweet and bitter taste; with intensity in taste depending on their stage of maturity. For me back then, they were more valuable to eat raw and as an in-between meal snack. On occasions when we received an unusually large supply of them, specially when they are in season, the garden eggs are stewed and served with boiled yam. I quite enjoyed this as a meal usually served for breakfast. But over the years, because they were not readily available in my new environment, I forget all about them and eating them depended only on when I could get my hands on some.  This happened perhaps once or twice a year!

Grilled Garden Eggs with a Sauteed Veggie & Fishy Sauce

When I recently came to Nigeria, I rediscovered these quirky fruits all over again. They seem larger, more fleshy with less seedy now compared to the ones I used to know. All the same, they got me so excited. I got quite a few of them, some of which I eat raw,,,,delicious and the rest I decided to experiment with.

So I figured, just like their sisters, the aubergines, garden eggs are quite fleshy and therefore ideal for grilling...so I did. The only concern for consideration was how best to reduce the bitterness. That was simple to tackle...I soaked the sliced garden eggs in some salty water for a few minutes before grilling! I also ensured that the grilled garden eggs were served with a fishy / vegetable saute with super bold tastes and flavours with should match and suppress their typical bitter taste.

Grilled Garden Eggs with a Sauteed Veggie & Fishy Sauce

Check out the recipe

What you need
  • Garden eggs
  • Smoked mackerel (skinned, boned and flaked)
  • Pre-made red pepper sauce
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
What to do
  1. Wash the garden eggs and then carefully slice them thinly using a mandolin slicer (if you have one). Let the garden egg slices soak in some salty water for about 3 minutes and then place the slices one at a time on a griddle or grilling pan. Grill on either side for a minute or two depending on the thickness of the slices and the heat of the griddle. Turn over regularly to avoid burning.
  2. Simultaneously, add the chopped onions into some heated coconut oil in a sauce pan. Add a generous amount of your pre-made red pepper sauce, (get recipe here)  and stir well. Continue to cook until the onions soften and the sauce combines well with the oil. Then add the smoked mackerel. Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust salt.
  3. To serve, alternate the garden egg slices with layers of the mackerel / onion saute. This dish can serve as an excellent starter/appetizer or also as a light meal.

Grilled Garden Eggs with a Sauteed Veggie & Fishy Sauce

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