‘Thank you Mama, I appreciate you a lot’, as I ended the call with my Mum. I asked my Mum if she could get a few bags of Ademe or Molokhia leaves, since a friend was visiting London.
Mum advised, she’ll have them vacuum packed to protect its freshness and strict instructions on cooking them immediately I receive them. Mum handed the bag of food items with their certificates to my friend an hour before take off and sent a text to say it was on its way to me.
After 7 hours, I had a call from my friend to say she’d arrived. I arranged for a Taxi to pick the items up to my house and I started cooking straight away.
Ademe or Molokhia leaves are very nutritious and have a high Iron content. It’s great for your digestive system and bloating due to the mucilaginous structure of the plant.
During my childhood, we were at the market at dawn to get the freshest of ingredients. Ademe was one of the vegetables Mum needed as fresh as possible. She insisted on the small like looking ones (which I believe were the Organic ones) and were the tastiest. Immediately we got home, we had to pick the stalks from the leaves, which was time consuming, considering how small they were. During the process of picking, which involved a few people, we had our chats including how we’re looking forward to the dish.
Mum always had specific ladies she bought specific ingredients from, with clear instructions and the Ademe had to be less than 12 hours old from picking when she purchased it.
I couldn’t understand her fuss and questioned what difference it made? On our next visit, Mum purchased both the small and large Ademe leaves. She cooked the large leaves separately from the small leaves and left some of the small leaves in the fridge for 3 days.
I loved the taste of the small leaves as they were intense with flavours in comparison to the large leaves.
After 3 days in the fridge the remaining uncooked leaves looked different. The stalks and leaves didn’t have their fresh green colour, instead they had a deeper green colour with a few leaves turning black and not smelling particularly nice.
I picked the bad leaves from the rest and noticed the stalks were harder. I learnt a valuable lesson that day and vowed to always cook my leaves within 36 hrs of picking.
It’s almost impossible to get these fresh leaves here in London. What’s readily available are the frozen ones, which are okay but can’t beat the taste of the small fresh leafy type.
I had a big smile on my face as I knew Christmas came in early for me, because this is my favourite dish in the whole wide world.
Ademe or Molokhia leaves dates back to 5000BC , where it was and still is consumed by Egyptians and named as the ‘food for Gods’, due to its high nutritional content. Subsequently the leaves have been enjoyed in Sudan, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria , Sierra Leone and the Middle East. The Ewe tribe of Ghana and Togolese do make Ademe Detchi or Dessi with the leaves and the Northerners of Ghana do make Tuo Zaafi with the leaves.
Nigerians also use it to prepare their soup called Ewedu.
Traditionally Smoked Or Grilled deboned Mackerel is used alongside Crabs and Prawns for this soup. I used grilled Tilapia and Barracuda instead, because that’s what I had available.
If you’re using the frozen leaves, defrost it naturally and it should be the last thing you add to your stock. Cook it for 4 minutes and no longer to keep the green colour of the leaves.
1kg of picked fresh Ademe / Molokhia leaves
1kg of Smoked or Grilled Tilapia or Mackerel
500g of Smoked Barracuda (Known as Lizzy)
300g of fresh Crabs
300g of fresh Prawns
700ml of Water
40g of blended Ginger, Onion, Aniseed and Garlic
2 large sliced Onions
1 Habanero chilli or 10 green Ghanaian chillies
Optional Shrimp stock cube
1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate Soda or Akaun
Salt to taste
Watch how to prepare this dish below and don’t forget to like the video😘
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