How do you become a teacher? On a wish, a whim, a command? And when you do a la your mother’s instructions, how do you teach your younger sister all the ways she must get ready for her ‘husband’s house’? Will simple instructions do? How do you compel her to invest in the process, convince her it’s worth it? And couldn’t you even say no to your mother? Sigh.

The thing I think about the most in My Sister, the Serial Killer are dual concepts of parenting and sisterhood and the intersections. What does it mean to be a sister? How far do you go with your loyalties. What does it mean to show up for your sister  – the one you’re constantly being pitted against by ‘apparent’ well-meaning family members and friends who put ‘everything’ side by side – height, weight, shape, face – never mind heart or mind? What does it mean and how do we learn?

Korede is doing her best to get Ayoola ready for a future, whenever – a promise of happiness that she may never experience but Ayoola is herself, unbothered.

To make the best Efo, all you have to do is pay attention and wilt your greens – nutrition buff or not, you’ll be rewarded with a promise, of deliciousness. I promise.

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Recipe

Prep time:       20 minutes

Cook time:       30 minutes

Tips

I like to wilt my greens before adding to the sauce – it creates a silky, unctuous texture. Here’s my oven-wilting method – skip the oil and do it on the stovetop if you like. When you’re ready, squeeze the liquids but don’t discard – you might want to add some to ‘loosen’ your sauce. You can also use frozen greens directly from the freezer, and without wilting.

Ingredients

Stew base

2 small (red) onions, 1 roughly chopped and 1 sliced

1 medium plum tomato, roughly chopped

2 small sweet red peppers, cut in half and seeds saved to plant or discarded

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Efo

⅓ cup unrefined red palm oil

1 medium plum tomato, sliced

1 – 2 teaspoons une/ iru/ locust beans

1 teaspoon ground dried prawns/ crayfish/ Fresh prawns/ flaked fish

1 hot pepper – scotch bonnet/ habanero/ your favourite, finely chopped

½ – 1 cup cooked protein (meat, mushrooms, tofu or a mix)

2 cups wilted greens, roughly chopped – amaranth, sweet potato, spinach are common

Salt, to taste

Dry / cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. In a blender, pulse the ingredients for the stew base – the roughly chopped onion, roughly chopped tomatoes and sweet red peppers with a touch of water till you get a coarse mix
  2. In a wide pan/ wok, warm the palm oil on medium to low heat. Add the sliced onions, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 3 – 5 minutes till the onions soften
  3. Add the sliced tomatoes, locust beans and ground crayfish. Cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes so the tomatoes soften and the locust beans become aromatic
  4. Add the blended tomato and onion mix and cook on medium to high heat, stirring. Put the lid on and let cook for 5 minutes till just reduced. Add as little or as much of the finely chopped hot pepper as you like. Stir and continue to cook for another 2 – 3 minutes
  5. Add your protein, stir well and put the lid on to simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Stir well and adjust seasoning lightly
  6. Add the chopped greens, stirring well so they are coated in the sauce. If you’d like it looser, add some of the reserved green juice. Taste, adjust and put the lid on and simmer for a couple of minutes then turn off and take off the heat

 

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Read Eat the Book: Lemongrass & Coconut Milk Soup with Potatoes, Carrots and Greens | Igifu by Scholastique Mukasonga