One of the questions we get asked most frequently is, “What do you eat when you’re in Nigeria?”
The truth is, we eat a lot of Western foods, often just modified a bit or making things from scratch that we wouldn’t necessarily make from scratch in the States. Still, we thought it would be fun to share some of the recipes we use, the foods we eat (or miss eating!) and even stories about eating and shopping for food here…. And what better day to do that than on Fridays? Because I’m an English major and like alliteration.
One of the things we eat quite frequently here is yogurt. Interestingly, Nigerians drink their yogurt and don’t eat it. Most any shop that sells food will sell yogurt, usually in boxes that don’t need to be refrigerated. There are stores, though, that sell cold yogurt. Unlike in the States, the yogurt is usually sold in plastic bottles. Because most of the yogurt is flavored – usually sweetened, vanilla or strawberry, though occasionally we see banana – we often make our own plain yogurt and use it as sour cream (which we never eat in the States, and in fact, neither of us even likes sour cream, but when we’re here, we use yogurt in all the sour cream-y sort of ways (on tacos, as a topping for baked potato soup, etc.). We typically eat yogurt at least once a day – instead of milk with cereal or granola, as a snack or dessert or as a topping. We make dips and Ranch dressing with it, mix it with fruit and freeze it for popsicles and use it in baking. We suspect that this habit actually helped prevent us from getting sick much during our first term.
Some people have actually asked us for the recipe we use for yogurt, so here it is in all its yogurt glory. It seems like everyone has his or her favorite way of making yogurt and swears by it, but this one has served us well. It’s easy to remember and tastes great. We know people have all these scientific theories about yogurt making, but we don’t get very scientific about anything; we just make it and eat it, and so far that method hasn’t failed us yet.
2 cups powdered milk
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons starter yogurt that you’ve begged off of a friend since the place from which you used to buy yogurt no longer sells it
Next mix in:
2 cups hot water.
Voila! That’s all! The hot water should not be so hot that you can’t touch it, as you don’t want to kill all those good for you yogurt-y bacteria. (That’s about as scientific as we get.)
Let yogurt sit for several hours – we usually do 6-8 hours – or overnight without disturbing it. We tell Judah that the yogurt is going to sleep for a little while before we can eat it. Some people wrap the yogurt in layers of towels, but we just use a big Thermos-type container, and it works great. No wrapping needed.
…Or, if you’re in the States, you can just buy Dannon All Natural yogurt or Stonyfield. 😉 When we were home having Jovelle, we lived off of that stuff. Though Chris says he likes the taste of the homemade yogurt better, I like the ease of buying it. For now he wins since we can’t really find plain yogurt anywhere here.