Creative and Easy Ways to Serve “Swallow” Dishes: The Swallow Saga

Wanna hear the story about the Òkèlè that went to Harvard? Let it be your good time story of some sorts today. Enjoy!

Hello everyone and welcome once again to this space. I really enjoyed the comments from last time and I’m glad you found the post very relatable, judging from your responses. Today we’ll be taking a look at another very practical topic, which I’ve titled: The Swallow Saga.

“Swallow,” (òkèlè in Yoruba, émà in Edo, etc.) as we probably already know, is what Nigerians call foods that are mostly eaten with the bare hands, and swallowed rather than chewed (well, except you chew your own eba or fufu😂😂). They are also very popular because they are indigenous, as opposed to foods like spaghetti, Indomie noodles, etc., which are more western. They include foods like eba, amala, wheat, semo, fufu, pounded yam, starch, etc., and are mostly taken alongside soups.

In time past, these foods were stereotyped as local foods with little or no potential to be viewed as “posh” but interestingly, in this age of creativity, there are better ways we can serve and present these foods. It may be for a special occasion or for someone special like your boo or your mother-in-law whom you’re hoping to impress. And at the same time you can just make it special for yourself to eat and enjoy the same posh feeling you would have if you had ordered that same glamorised plate of swallow for 10,000NGN from a 5-star restaurant🤩

So without further ado, The Swallow Saga 1.0, we moooovvvvee✈️✈️✈️

What you’ll be needing:

-Your already prepared desired swallow; can be freshly made eba, fufu, pounded yam, wheat, etc.
-Rolling pin or you can improvise with a clean glass bottle
-Transparent nylon
-cutters of various shapes and sizes
-A little vegetable oil

Take note that:

• You should only make use of finely sieved garri, wheat flour, or properly pounded yam, etc., for whatever swallow you decide to use. It is important that it is well-sieved and well-made so it wouldn’t be lumpy and rough.

•When you make use of the “cutters” to cut out the shapes you’ll need, rub a little oil inside them especially at the edges before using them. This is to allow the eba for instance to come out of the cutter easily without ruining its shape.

Now I’ll be illustrating three simple styles you can practice by yourself right away. Pictures are also available so you can make reference to the pictures.

The Rolly-polly

This is a favourite at most five-star hotels and restaurants because it is very simple, classy, and easy to manoeuvre if you’re using a fork to eat. It involves rolling as the name implies but you can also refer to it as the “sausage”. The steps to create this include:

  • Spread a sheet of transparent nylon on the table and place your eba (for instance) on one side of it. Then cover the eba with the remaining parts of the nylon such that it is sandwiched between two layers of nylon.
  • Flatten out the eba with a rolling pin (or a clean glass bottle to improvise). Make sure it’s evenly flattened out
  • Use a kitchen knife to cut out the excesses and shapen it into a rectangle or a square.
  • Now for the rolling, use the nylon to roll the eba evenly, pushing back the nylon with each new fold. Repeat till you’ve folded it all in.
  • Illustrations are in the diagram below.
steps 1-3
steps 4&5

The Cutter method

Images of various types of plastic cutters

I’m sure you liked the picture of the star-shaped eba that’s our featured image for this week. It’s so classy and also way easy to recreate. All you have to do is to buy doughnut cutters of your desired shape and size if you don’t have one handy and you’re good to go. Note that both the metal and plastic types of cutters would work well for this.

  • Flatten out a piece of eba or fufu as illustrated above with a rolling pin
  • Rub in a little oil on the inside surface of your desired cutter shape, can be star-shaped, polygon, heart-shaped, etc.
  • Place the cutter on the flattened eba, push it in and remove it to create the cut as many times as you want till you can no longer cut a full shape on the remaining piece
  • Mould the remaining pieces, Flatten and cut again till you finally exhaust the eba.
  • Then arrange the cut-outs in which every creative way you choose like the stacked-star shape above or arrange them singly round the plate or one side. It’s your call!

The Good Ol’FootBall

. You can never go wrong with the good ol’ football as it’s the conventional method and works well for all types of swallows. To make it perfectly rounded and more presentable, place a piece of eba in a transparent nylon, roll till you achieve the desired shape and remove the nylon. Voilà you’re good to go!

So there you have it. Three creative easy and fun methods that would make your swallow dishes look more appetising and presentable than you just slapping it on plate with soup at the sides…lol.

Now just for laughs, what’s the swallow saga really about? It’s about the Òkèlè that went to Harvard and came back to say that its artificial American accent would make him win an argument faster than its Nigerian counterpart because the average African man would first access Him

The end….

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