For photographer Brad Ogbonna home cooking is “a source of enjoyment, a connection to my family and the places I have been and the memories attached to them...Cooking and sharing a meal with my chosen family is what keeps me motivated to keep on cooking and to keep learning along the way.”
What is your food heritage?
I’m Nigerian and grew up with a lot of Igbo cuisine: Tons of soups and stews, grilled meats and vegetables, rice, and other unique items. Generally, foods with a lot of flavor and spices.
What is your personal mission?
I love to create, document, and share things with the world, put people onto new things, and most of all just be genuine and radiate positivity.
What spices, herbs, or recipes remind you of home?
Habaneros and scotch bonnets, definitely. Spicy peppers remind me of my mom’s cuisine. A lot of onions and different spices do as well.
What have you prepared today? What are the roots of this food? How did it come into your life? What does it mean to you? Describe how it tastes.
I prepared steamed red snapper with steamed okra, baby broccoli, and plantain with coconut rice and a spicy tomato stew. This dish is inspired by a Nigerian staple of rice and stew, as we call it. It’s something that you’re going to end up seeing at a lot of Nigerian restaurants and in the home of everyone that makes Nigerian food regularly. It tastes like home and reminds me of my family and our history.
What are your Always (go-to) foods?
A lot of seafood and roasted veggies. Salads and healthy but flavorful foods.
Brad’s Nigerian Spicy Tomato Stew
- 6 - 8 plum tomatoes
- 12 oz. tomato paste
- 2 large red or yellow onions
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 - 3 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers
- 3 garlic cloves
- Small thumb-size of ginger
- 1/2 cup grapeseed or avocado oil
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. of bouillon powder or paste (or 1 cube)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Blend the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 onion, bell peppers, Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, garlic, and ginger. Set aside.
- Cook the tomato mixture in your Always Pan on medium heat until it forms a paste and reduces to about half. While that’s reducing, slice the other onion and set aside.
- Scoop the tomato mixture out of your Always Pan into a bowl and set aside. Heat oil on medium heat in Always Pan and add sliced onion, caramelizing until mostly soft. Add the tomato mixture back in and cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and season with curry powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and bouillon. Stir for 10 minutes on low heat.
- Cover the stew and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. You can add any type of cooked protein to the stew here. I prefer a meaty white fish like red snapper, branzino, or cod, but chicken, beef, lamb, or goat are all great, too.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes, covered.
- Ready to be served!