Nigeria – Porcupine Stew with Gari

We miss bush meat most of all,  Este and her husband say as they describe the different types;  bush deer, bush pig, bush rat… They laugh when I make a face and explain that a bush rat is nothing like an Irish rat. Most striking of all is their favourite, porcupine. It tastes sweet, so sweet, much nicer than chicken or beef.

I ask their young son, busy with his homework, what his favourite food is. He thinks hard for a minute and answers fish fingers.

They bring out ingredients for me to see; ogbula, the halved nuts look like large chestnuts but smell spicier; tiny red crayfish (the size of a baby’s finger nail) which are ground to a powder and used as a thickener; palm oil or red oil which is an acquired taste. It is very strong so should be used sparingly! Most of these ingredients can be bought in African shops in the larger towns, but not bush meat.  You can substitute beef or chicken in the recipe. 


Vary quantities according to taste

  • Porcupine (you can substitute beef or chicken for this)
  • Ogbolu (nuts)
  • Palm oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Maggi (African stock cubes)
  • Ground cray fish

Place the meat in a pot of cold water, bring to the boil and then simmer. Add seasonings; salt, pepper and maggi, and ground crayfish. Grind the ogbula and mix to a paste with palm oil. Cook for at least 30 minutes depending on the meat used.

Serve with gari.

Gari is a coarse grained flour made from the root vegetable, cassava. The cassava is dried and would then be brought to a grinding machine and left over night for grinding. You could substitute semolina or ground rice for this.