Lagos Through the Eyes of a Nutritionist [Part 2]

Lagos Through the Eyes of a Nutritionist [Part 2]
Aug 2, 2016 Nitya Hullur
Nitya the Nutritionist

“Let food be thy medicine, medicine be thy food”

I am sure you will all agree that the best place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price in Lagos, is the “open fruit markets under the Falomo Bridge”. Yes, vendors can get a little out of control, but the fruits they sell are pure, whole nature – so it’s worth all the pushing, loud talks and giggles. So I took my time with this post, as now I am working on building my nutrition base in Lagos- where I will be counselling people on how to lose fat rather than muscle through healthy local food. So, I am hoping to see you all there soon, check my profile.

The latest nutritionist in town…

My diets will always reflect on what I believe most “We are not smarter than nature, we need to eat real, whole food”.
So getting back to my post, I was talking to my colleagues, just when a close friend from Benin made me try what he called “assonswen” which yorubas called “Awin” which I call “black velvet”- all these names for one very healthy fruit. These fruits are surprisingly high in proteins (which is very new as fruits are not protein sources). The high content of iron and vitamin C makes it a fruit to start your day with to give you those extra calories to push you off your bed. Oh yes, these are great for those with type 2 diabetes, fatigue and anaemia- a natural cure for all the complex health issues.

nutritionist Nitya with Awin

Now, I tried some very Indo- Nigerian recipes by using the leaves and the root as well- as they are known for their medical properties. So here are my favourites;

Awin mushroom fried rice
Awin fried rice

Source: Personal camera

The aroma of this awin mushroom fried rice is very unique and great, since mushrooms and awin puree are sauteed in soya sauce on a high flame. This can be served alone or with a manchurian or chilli gravy.

1. Heat a wok with oil on a high heat. Fry garlic until it turns aromatic without burning it.
2. Fry spring onion whites or sliced onions for 1 min.
3. Add the awin puree (so for this all you have to do is take out the seeds, soak the skin in water and puree it in a blender!!) mushrooms, capsicum and chili. Stir fry until they are cooked tender and soft.
4. Add soya sauce, vinegar and saute for a min. You may also skip soya sauce and vinegar and use any other preferred sauce.
5. Sauté for a min.
6. Add cooked rice, salt, pepper powder and spring onions greens. Sauté for 2 mins.
7. Serve hot.

Summer mocktail
Image source

This velvet mock tail is exotic and refreshing give it your kids when they are back from school, or have it at your house parties- it’s always a winner.
1. In a large jug add 2 glasses of fresh watermelon juice, some pieces of oranges and 2 tsp honey and blend
2. Add the 2 tsp Awin puree to this and blend again, garnish with mint leaves and serve chilled

Awin sauce with chicken balls
Awin with chicken balls
Source: Personal camera

This is the best of all the recipes I tried, it’s simple, fast to make and always makes people want more. So what I do, I make awin puree, add 3 tsp tomato sauce and 1 tsp tobacco sauce, I drizzle some oregano, basil and coriander and pour it on freshly grilled chicken-its protein treat to your taste buds! Yummy! You will lick your fingers after this one- it’s tangy, tasty and irresistible.

Bread fruit
Image source

Did you know?

Breadfruit is high on fibre, Vitamin A and potassium making it a healthy substitute to our baking flour. It has a starchy texture that holds up well when baked, boiled or when cooked in numerous other ways. It’s proven to protect the body against high BP, raising glucose levels and repetitive gut issues. The digestibility of it pounded can be increased by 50% if you soak it, dry it, roast it and powder it- all this basically kills the anti-nutritional factors that are responsible for you feeling bloated after you have eaten it. It’s also known as wild jack, breadfruit is a well-accepted delicacy all over Nigeria.

Making the bean flour…

I personally prefer yam over bread fruit though- so I tried to use breadfruit in different ways and came up with these delicious sweet treats- which are super healthy as I have substituted baking flour which is full of stubborn carbohydrate with this bean flour. So for the flour, clean and slice the breadfruit- spread on a wide tray and let the sun works its magic on it for 2 days, grind the dried breadfruit slices into a powder, use a sieve next to make the powder uniform and fine- store in an airtight container.

Ukwa chocolate stacks
Breadfruit chocolate stacks
Source: Personal camera

1. Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.
2. In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
3. Add sugar and mix well.
4. Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
5. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
6. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
7. Cut into blocks, pour some hot chocolate sauce and enjoy!

Walnut breadfruit cookies
Breadfruit cookies
Source: Personal camera

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda. Add the egg, vanilla, and butter; mix until dough forms. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now for the third one, I am so sure many of you saw it, passed it and bought raspberries instead- Pawpaw!! This fruit is a storehouse of vitamins like C and A. These fruits boost our immunity and protect our body from cancer causing growth. They are exceptionally good for male vitality and ageing- so now this should be hot favorite of both men and women, so buy one now- I always see many Lagosian having it raw which is the best way to consume it. I tried something different the Indian in me wanted something spicy yet nutritional so I went for these papaya lamb kebabs.

papaya kebabs
Source: Personal camera

  • Raw papaya (thick grated) – 2 cups
  • Sweet potato (thick grated) – 1/2 cup
  • Lamb (grated) – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Coriander Cracked – 2 tsp
  • Ginger chopped – 2 tsp
  • Eggs – 1 no
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbl spn
  • Green coriander chopped – 2 tbl spn
  • Canola oil – 2 tbl spn


• Apply salt to raw papaya, lamb and raw potato and leave aside for 5 mins. Now press them to release water. Put on a paper towel.
• Now in a large bowl mix all the ingredients except oil.
• Add the raw papaya, lamb and potato. Mix well and make rough thin patties. Heat a pan and add canola oil. When hot add to the pan and cook on both sides.
• Serve hot with a lemon wedge.

Another spicy papaya curry recipe which can be had with rice or pounded yam- try this one-it’s simple, cooks fast and a great packed lunch for growing kids.

Pawpaw-chicken curry with rice
papaya chicken curry with rice
Source: personal camera

  • Pawpaw – 1 medium / 1 bowl (cut medium cube size)
  • Chicken breast-50 gms
  • Potato – 1 medium / ½ bowl (cut medium cube size)
  • Onion – 2 medium (finely chopped)
  • Garlic cloves – 3 big (crushed)
  • Tomato – 1 big (medium chopped)
  • Maggie cube-1
  • Coriander leaves – 4 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Oil – 4 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp


  1. Wash pawpaw and potato cubes and drain excess water from it.
  2. Put non stick kadai on medium flame with 2 tbsp oil. Add papaya and potato cubes and sauté for 5 mins. Keep it aside in a plate.
  3. Place same kadai again on medium flame. Add chopped onion and crushed garlic when hot. Sauté for 3 mins (till onion becomes transparent).
  4. Add chopped tomato and mix well for 2 mins.
  5. Now add red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds powder, coriander seeds powder, salt and sauté for 10 mins.
  6. Add fried potato and papaya, saute for 2 mins.
  7. After this add 2 cup water, 2 tbsp coriander leaves, green chili, garam masala, mix well and cover for 5 mins on low flame (if vegetables are not cooked then again cover for 5 mins more).
  8. Open cover and add rest coriander leaves and serve with rice / roti / paratha.

I really hoped you guys liked these recipes from a seasoned nutritionist, wait for many more as I go on with my journey to discover health in the most natural way possible. Do shout out for healthy diets at my new office. I’m a nutritionist at Diet234. Be enthusiastic, eat healthy and stay fit!

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