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October 1, 2009 | 50 Comments

This is a stew that originated from the Ijebus in Nigeria. I had it for the first time a few years ago and fell in love at first bite. It’s a dark green stew and is uber spicy. If you don’t like heat, this would probably not be for you, though you could reduce the scotch bonnet pepper, it just wouldn’t be the same.

When done right, it should have your nose runny after the first couple of bites. That said, this is my first time making it, so I’ll share some of my findings at the bottom of this post. You can find it at most Nigerian restaurants and it is mainly served with white rice. For ingredients with a star at the side, info can be found below for that.

To learn how to make this, here’s what you’ll need:

3 large green bell peppers
1 s red onion
*5 green scotch bonnet/ habanero peppers
15-20 pieces goat meat
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Palm Oil
1 tbsp Goya Adobo seasoning w/ pepper
1 tbsp Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy seasoning
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tsbp red pepper powder
3 Maggi cubes
2 Knorr cubes
6 garlic cloves

1. Preheat pot on stove over medium heat.

2. Cut meat into small/medium pieces. Rinse, add to pot.

3. Add seasonings (incl. 2 chopped garlic cloves), minus oil and Knorr cubes. Work into meat and let sweat for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add enough water to cover meat. Let boil for 2-3 hours till soft.

4. In small batches, blend green bell peppers, onion, 4 garlic cloves and scotch bonnet peppers (include most of the seeds and you want to blend in smal batches as you don’t want a smooth consistency, it should be somewhat chunky).

5. In another pot, heat oils over medium heat. Let oils get smoking hot (literally; open your windows). Add blended peppers. Let boil for 30-45 minutes over medium heat.

6. Meat should be soft now, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Layer a baking pan with foil. Spray with cooking oil spray. Layer meat on foil. Let bake/brown for 10-15 minutes.

7. Add browned meats to boiling pepper. Stir, still over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes, then taste. If needed, add the 2 Knorr cubes. (If it thickens up too much, add 1 tbsp stock at a time, it shouldn’t be watery).

8. Let boil another 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Serve with white rice.

*Though I used 5 scotch bonnet peppers, it wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be. Maybe I got some fake pepper, who knows?! I used the red scotch bonnet/habanero peppers, but you should probably use the green ones. I also think the green ones are spicier, so gauge the number you add carefully; 3 might suffice.

Anyways, if you decide to use the red ones, depending on how hot you can handle it, you can up it from five to 7 or more. Some add Iru (Locust beans) to it and actually at the Nigerian restaurants I get this from, I always see it there. I didn’t add any to mine, I just didn’t think to and I’ve never cooked with Iru before, it stinks yet makes food taste good! Weird, eh!

So, here are the things I didn’t do that you should do: (not to worry, these are already incorporated into the steps above)

I blended everything at once, as such, as you can see, it was a tad over-blended. Like I mentioned, this stew is supposed to be somewhat chunky

I didn’t blend the seeds. It was later I realized I usually see some seeds in the restaurant’s recipe. You don’t have to use all the seeds, maybe from just one bell pepper or two will suffice.

This dish is usually made with goat meat and shaki, all cut into small, bite sized pieces. I didn’t have any shaki on hand, so I made do with just goat meat. Even though all blended, it looks light green color, not to worry it will get darker.

I’m not sure if the recipe uses tomatoes, but I didn’t use any and even though it’s only pepper and onions, it came out well. Tomatoes generally are used to temper the heat in stews and liquefy the consistency a bit. You could add a small one if you prefer.

Some also call this ‘designer stew.’ For my first time though, I think I did pretty good! Though it’s mainly eaten with white rice, I think you can eat it with whatever you choose really, be it pounded yam/iyan or eba/garri, maybe even amala.


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50 Responses to "Ayamashe"

  1. November's Child says:

    I love ayamashe, had it for the first time in a restaurant and had been looking for a recipe since. I find it's a great dish for small parties as an alternate to jellof rice.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi there,

      Yup, I love it too, spicy and delish! Glad you found the recipe, hope you try it out and love it!

      I would've never thought of using it as a substitute for jollof rice, but I guess it would be a nice change though.

      Thanks for stopping by, hope to see u around again! :)

  2. Renee says:

    looks so good. ill try it

    • Yetunde says:

      Hope you like spicy food, cos it is hot, hot, hot! ;)

      Ahhh, and I see you’re a beauty/food/fashion addict like me…yay…even more <3!!! Wait, I know you didn’t showcase your bra on there, omg, lol…

  3. onyinye says:

    my husband loves his food extra spicy and as hot as it gets, so I hope I get some extra sometin wen he tastes this.

    • Yetunde says:

      Ok now, if that’s the case, I’ll still stick with the pounded yam and egusi, spicy jollof rice and chicken/meat/turkey, eba and okra soup or vegetable soup. If he eats beans, make it spicy and he could have that with either meat/chicken/turkey stew or with garri or even with bread.

      You can also make fish soup, he could eat that with rice (and plantain) or the stewed whiting fish (http://www.avartsycooking.com/2010/05/stewed-whiting-fish/), which he could eat with boiled yam for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Then there’s also moi moi and you can cut up fish/meat/chicken/boiled egg/corned beef and add to that while cooking it and serve it with white or jollof rice and stew.

      You can even make jollof spaghetti, which is just cooking spaghetti in stew like you would when making jollof rice. And of course, Ayamashe is also a good option.

      Hope this is helpful for now, as I think of more things, I’ll let you know.

  4. Anengiyefa says:

    On the way home from church last Sunday, I asked my neighbour sitting in the car with me how she made the ayemashe that she gave me the previous weekend. I’m a single man and I often get gifts of food from ladies at church, who when they look at me must think, “Poor thing, he must be starving..”, lol.

    Anyway when she explained how she’d prepared it, I decided I was going to cook ayemashe by myself for the first time, and even write a post about it on my blog. But first I thought I should check online to see if anyone else had done something similar and found this post.

    Ayemashe is delicious. Its was that delicious sauce that we as children called “Yoruba rice”, which we could only find at bukas in Lagos. We would spend our bus fare on hot rice and spicy stew and then walk to school, sweating from the heat of the food. It was a feeling that I craved for a long time as an adult, so its fantastic to find that more and more people are preparing it and I hear its now even offered at Nigerian parties, as an alternative to the usual jolof and fried rice. I’m going to follow this recipe here, which incidentally is almost exactly as my neightbour explained to me. The results should appear on my blog sometiime soon. Thanks for posting this..

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi Anengiyefa! (gosh, what a unique name, never heard it before!)

      LOL! You’re so funny! I absolutely love your story tale comment, very interesting to read. Ayamashe is very delicious and spicy to boot, and you should enjoy it even more when YOU make it, well, provided you make it well that is ;)

      I’ll keep an eye out for your version on your blog!

      Hope to see you around more!

  5. Tinuo says:

    Hi for this ayamashe what do you do with the stock of the meat that you boiled do you add it to the stew and can i just use normal canola oil instead of palm oil cant get any where i live

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi Tinuo!

      You can discard the stock once the meat is boiled. If you prefer though, you can add a few spoons of it to the blended peppers, though there really is no need for it.

      Canola oil should work fine by itself. If you can’t get palm oil, you could try annatto oil, if you’re able to get the seeds, if not, yup, canola is fine.

      Hope that helps!

  6. debbie says:

    anytime i make this it turns out larite but the smell of the green pepper is rele strong and for that reason i just get put off. but wen i eat it at parties it smells nice..

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi Debbie!

      Sorry to hear that. You didn’t specify which green pepper you mean, since there are the green bell peppers and the green rodo/habanero. Green bell peppers have a milder flavor so, I’ll assume you probably mean the green rodo/habanero. If that’s the case, you can try adding 1 tomato and blend it all together as the tomato reduces some of the strong flavor from the rodo. You can also reduce the amount of rodo to maybe 3 and gauge it from there.

      Also, be sure to boil the peppers for at least 30 minutes to get rid of that raw taste that blended peppers usually have before they’re thoroughly cooked. If you try those, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at the results!

  7. Courtney says:

    Can u make this with beef instead of goat?? I like goat I just cant eat alot of it because of its wild musty taste.

    • Yetunde says:

      Yup, you can use whatever you like, but typically, it’s made with small cuts of goat meat, shaki and fried whiting fish.

  8. Augustus Mbwonda says:

    Thanks for the recipe – fantastic. As an alternative to goat, you can also use neck of lamb – get the butcher to cut the “roundels” of neck into rough pieces, and it’s amazingly like goat in both texture and taste. If you use lamb neck, you can cut the stewing time by at least 1hr.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Augustus!

      You’re welcome! I’ve never really cooked with lamb before and most Nigerians cook with goat meat, so it’s just makes more sense for me to use ingredients that readers can find easily. For those interested, however, lamb is always an alternative.

  9. redbonnie says:

    My husband and i are both Igbo but he grew up in Ibadan and so i’m always looking for nice Yoruba recipes to spice up my cooking. i tried this and it was amazing, i couldn’t believe the different take in the stew, totally different from my usual tomato red stew. Thank you so MUCH for the step by step process. this was fab fab fab. Ashe ooohhhhhh :)

    • Yetunde says:


      Ayamashe is nice take on your typical stew, glad you loved it and also glad you’re enjoying the site! Lol, it’s actually ooshe or eeshe, depending on the age gap, but you get pass marks for trying ;)

  10. Mary says:

    Hi, i would like to know what the equivalent of half cup of oil is in cookingspoon

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Mary!

      1 cup is 16 tablespoons, so half a cup would be 8 tablespoons.

      Hope that helps :)

      • mary says:

        thanks!! :)
        tried it on monday**!! it came out great!

      • Yetunde says:

        Yay! Glad to know ;) Congrats!

  11. Oby says:

    I made this today. I used 5 of the yellow habanero peppers and it was spicy enough. This is the first time I am having Ayamashe stew and I must say its really delicious! Thanks so much for this recipe. Keep them coming.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Oby!

      5 is good enough usually. It’s a change from the regular ‘red’ stew we always eat.

      You’re very welcome, glad you enjoyed it! Of course, that’s a given ;)

  12. Tolu says:

    Made me some ayamashe today.
    All I can say is, God made green peppers and goats on a very special day!
    Yetunde, are you sure you shouldn’t write a cookbook soon??

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Tolu!

      I saw!! Will post it soon! Lol @ green peppers and goats, sounds like a children’s story book! Yes o, a cookbook has always been on my agenda. When God says it’s time, I just don’t feel the time is ripe yet ;)

      • Tolu says:

        Maybe children’s storybook is something you could do too?? Who knows?
        Now i need to exercise self-control where this Ayamashe is concerned o.
        Whish kin temptation be dis??

        • Yetunde says:

          Lol! I love kids and I do have fun titles for children’s books, but that is not on my agenda, at least not now. But Ayamashe is not bad to eat though, it’s just like eating regular stew, so over-indulgence is more than okay ;)

  13. abby says:

    I just came across this website…it’s AMAZING!!! Keep up the good work :D

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Abby!

      Thank you! Glad you like :))

  14. Deborah says:


    I noticed you mentioned that we could use locust beans. If I wanted to use those, how would I cook them? :)

    PS I LOVEEEE your website!!! I learned how to make efo riro (my first Nigerian dish) from you :)

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Deborah!

      Thank you! I’ve never cooked with it before, so I had to call my mum and ask. She said: “You rinse it in a tiny bit of salt water to make it clean and add it to the soup towards the middle or the end, so it doesn’t overcook. Depending on where you buy it and it’s packaging, it might have some sand, hence the rinsing. Adding iru/locust beans/ogiri in the intial stages of cooking destroys the nutritional properties, as it is has yeast in it which is good for the eyes.’

      “You can store it in the freezer if you buy in huge batches.”

      She said ‘hope that helps!’ I hope it does too! :)

      • Sunflowery says:

        I think it’s adorable that you consult your mom for the site! Awwwww…

        • Yetunde says:

          Lol, aww, I love her to bits! She started me on this journey :)

  15. Enitan says:

    just came across this site, really love it keep bringing it dear, very helpful

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Enitan!

      Thank you! Glad you stumbled across it, hope to see more comments from you :)

  16. Tola says:

    first i just want to compliment your website, i’m a student and at home i’ve learnt the basics of jollof, fried rice stews and asaros but your blog has helped me pick up on other meals i’m interested in cooking whilst at uni.

    I wanna give ayamashe a try and cook it by myself , i just have a few questions
    how much oil will i need to pre heat before putting the blended substance in?
    can i use vegetable oil?
    do i need to add water at any point?
    When you say blend in bits do you mean, blend and stop, blend and stop so it has a thick consistency?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Tola!

      Aww, well thanks for the compliment, always appreciated! I’m glad you’ve been able to learn the basics plus other recipes as well.

      You’ll need about a cup of oil, either a mix of vegetable/canola oil AND palm oil, or just one cup of either oil. Yup, vegetable oil is just fine and there is no need to add water, as the soup is meant to be of a thicker consistency. You got it! Blend and stop, blend and stop, till it’s of a thicker and chunkier consistency. You can add a small amount of water to help it blend.

      Hope that helps and keep me posted on the outcome!

  17. UGo says:

    I just made this. I added one red bell pepper and one small tomato cos I was scared it will be too green. Lol. Anyway, it turned out great. Reminds me of the bukka rice and stew from back home. thanks for the recipe

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Ugo!

      Lol, hey, I’m all for whatever works for you! Glad it turned out great and came with some memories. You’re welcome as always :)

  18. Esther says:

    This is the first time am hearing this name ‘Ayamashe’! Is it the Ofada rice stew?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Esther!

      Yes it is! Do you plan to make it soon?

  19. Juliet says:

    Hi yetunde,
    I have always wondered what Ayamashe means until recently when i came across it on your blog. Thumbs up to you cos I think you are doing great.
    I love cooking and have learnt a lot from your post. I say keep it up, and could you pls get me the recipe for making the stew usually eaten with beans which the yoruba’s call ewa agoyin. Thanks expecting your reply soon

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Juliet!

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re learning as I go along :) I will add it to my list of requested recipes!

  20. TolaNd says:

    Let me begin by saying God bless you! i am so thankful for your site. I’ve been wanting to make this famous stew but didn’t know how, so i am glad for your tutorial. I made a few modifications to my mine, i used 2 green bell peppers and 1 poblano pepper, 8 garlic cloves (we love garlic), used turkey meat (didnt have any goat meat,). it came out great, my husband LOVED it. thanks again and keep ‘em coming,

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey TolaNd!

      Aww, thank you! I’m glad you’re finding the site to be of help. I love that you adjusted the recipe to your liking and enjoyed the outcome.

      You’re most welcome, will do!

  21. mobolanle says:

    am a native of ogun state (Ikenne local govt) the word Ayamashe is not for the stew. the name Ayamashe is for our grandma married to a man called mashe so in Ijebu language Aya means wife, meaning wife of Mashe. so i think the name ayamashe is not for the stew, it rather called Ata dudu from any part of the yorubas and not Ayamashe.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Mobolanle!

      Ohh, interesting, thanks for the explanation! I think a lot of folks know it as ‘Ayamashe’ or ‘Designer Stew,’ and I doubt many would be familiar with it being called ‘Ata dudu,’ however, it is good to know the story behind the name.

  22. Kay says:

    I am trying to learn more about the diverse cuisines of sub-saharan Africa, so thanks a lot for your website with great pictures! Only thing is…. I am a vegetarian. I am thinking to use okra and/or eggplant and nutritional yeast (for a poultry-type flavor) instead of the meat in this dish. It might not be the same, but I bet it would still taste good. Do you have any recommendations for turning your stew recipes vegetarian?

    Also, palm oil we typically find in American grocery stores is not the thicker, flavorful kind used in Nigerian food, so I have read. Do you have an image of a jar/bottle of a reliable brand? Thank you!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Kay!

      Thanks! To turn stews/soups vegetarian, I would just omit the meat and use meaty type vegetables as a substitute e.g mushrooms. Palm oil here is not as red as palm oil sold back in Nigeria, unsure why that is, but I typically purchase the Carotino brand here.

      Hope that helps!

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