Way back during my Uni days, Street food was one of the fastest and most popular food a student could get without having to go through the stress of cooking up something decent after lectures and Stressful practicals. Besides, it was simpler just walking out of your hostel door and Ordering whatever you wanted. One of the popular street foods then was Ayaraya. I remember having to stand in line on a Queue with angry girls waiting for my turn. The best part of the wait was usually when the Ayaraya hawker would take note of how patient i had been on the queue and reward me with Extra Onion with Ugba topping 😀 …..Total bliss!!!!!!!!!!!
Ayaraya oka is a meal made from a blend of cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) with slightly ground maize (Zea mays) and vegetables. Cowpea is an important source of protein in both urban and rural Nigeria.
*Red Oil (3 cooking spoons)
*3 medium sized Pepper
*Oil Bean “Ugba”(1 medium wrap)
*Fresh Maize (5 milk cups)
*Cowpea “Vigna unguiculata”(6 milk cups)
*Scent leaves “Nchuawun”(A bunch)
*Bitter leaves “Onugbu”(A handful)
*2 Seasoning Cubes
*Salt to taste
– Soak the cowpeas for about 12hours preferably Over-night prior to when you are going to cook. This helps reduce the cooking time as the peas take a very long time to soften.
-Wash the peas and place in a pot of water then leave to cook for about 1hr 30mins – 2hours
-While the peas cook, wash the maize and Mill lightly ( Not into a paste but into small Bread like crumbs then place into a large foil and wrap tightly then set aside.
-About 40minutes before the cooking time of the cowpea elapses, Add the seasoning cubes and salt and leave to cook till the water reduces a little. At this point, place the foil wrapped maize into the pot of peas and leave to steam then turn off the burner.
-In a different pot, pour in the palm oil and leave to bleach for about 3minutes then, pour in the chopped onions, pepper, Ugba(Oil bean) and leave to fry for 5mins.
-Reduce the burner to medium heat then pour in the steamed maize and Boiled cow peas into the fried onions and pepper and stir to incorporate the mixture together.
-Add the washed Bitter leaves and Scent leaves, stir and leave to cook for about 10minutes
-Turn off the burner and serve.
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