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Physics in the Nigerian Kitchen: The Science, the Art, and the Recipes

Physics in the Nigerian Kitchen: The Science, the Art, and the Recipes

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Physics in the Nigerian Kitchen: The Science, the Art, and the Recipes

253 pagine
2 ore
Jan 21, 2013


With food as the centerpiece of fellowship with family, neighbors, and friends, the Nigerian kitchen is warm, happy, and full of drama. And so it is with a great love for fellowship and food that Nigerian husband and wife team Deji and Iswat Badiru share a variety of ethnic recipes pulled together over years of cooking, eating, and savoring their cultures traditional food.

The Badirus, who love experimenting with food as much as tasting their creations, rely on their years of experience in the Nigerian kitchen to offer an intriguing and informative glimpse into a culture where food is not only embraced, but also worshipped in some areas. While sharing a unique, behind-the scenes look into the food preparation process and the science of transforming ingredients, they also offer tips on healthy eating practices, proper cooking techniques, and effective management of projects in the kitchen. Included are many delicious recipes such as fried plantain and fried egg, cassava grits, okra soup with meat, and meat pie.

Physics in the Nigerian Kitchen is a unique guide to cooking African fare that provides encouragement and valuable information for anyone interested in cultivating a joy and love for food, friends, and family in their own kitchen.

Jan 21, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

Deji Badiru is a registered professional engineer and head of systems engineering and management at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio. He holds a BS, an MS, and a PhD in industrial engineering and an MS in mathematics. He is the author of several books and journal articles. Iswat Badiru is managing director of ABICS Publications. She holds a BS in management information systems.

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Physics in the Nigerian Kitchen - Deji Badiru


Author Credits: Adedeji Badiru

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

The information, ideas, and suggestions in this book are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Before following any suggestions contained in this book, you should consult your personal physician. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising as a consequence of your use or application of any information or suggestions in this book.

iUniverse books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:


1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

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Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-7174-3 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4759-7175-0 (ebk)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013900876

iUniverse rev. date: 01/16/2013




The Rhyme of Artistic Expressions

About Nigeria

Our Kitchen Prayer

Part I

The Science And The Ar

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

CHAPTER 2: The Science

CHAPTER 3: The Art


The Recipes

Chapter 4: Collection of Selected of Nigerian Ethnic Recipes

Appendix A: About Some Nigerian Ingredients

Appendix B: Uses of Vinegar in the Kitchen

Appendix C: Other Useful Kitchen Tips

Appendix D: Measurement Conversion Factors


This book is dedicated to the palate of all food lovers.


This book is not about the scary science of Physics, as you might have feared. In the context of this book, physics refers to the dynamics of activities that occur in a typical Nigerian kitchen, both the modern as well as the communal kitchen common in Nigeria’s hinterlands. The Nigerian kitchen, the focus of this book, is a kitchen full of drama and excitement, worthy of a book in its own right, that is distinguished from a common-place cookbook. This is a cookbook with a different twist. It is designed to inform and entertain. The book has the following characteristics:

• Funny

• Inspiring

• Intellectual

• Comical

The book contains a variety of Nigerian ethnic recipes pulled together over years of loving food. Also included is a selected collection of other ethnic recipes. Nigerian traditional recipes constitute the centerpiece of the book. The recipes have always been cherished in various corners of the world, but they rarely get a consolidated international exposure in the sense of a cookbook. This book fills that void. As co-authors, we love experimenting with food, cooking it, making it, eating it, and serving it. Food is an essential element of human existence. Why then should we shy away from it? While food must be consumed in moderation, the freedom to taste and test it should be embraced by all.

In addition to its literary meaning, the book title suggests food’s contribution to Body, Soul, and Mind. It also conveys a symbolic representation because it presents food for thought (pun intended) on various aspects of food, its preparation, its consumption, and its life-sustaining efficacy. In this book, the authors celebrate food, in general, in addition to presenting a collection of recipes. The book touches on aspects of how food is scientifically transformed from one form to another to meet various gastronomic needs. Physics, in the context of this book, does not refer just to the science of physics, but also to the dynamics (processes, actions, and interfaces) found in the kitchen environment. The book is written to inform and entertain, with several deliberate light-hearted moments. It is a connubial partnership of expertise between the wife and the husband. It is organized into two parts:


We thank our adult children, Abidemi, Adetokunboh, and Omotunji, who, from their innocent childhood days, until now, have remained the captive human subjects and tasters of our cooking experiments. We appreciate the love of the kitchen often demonstrated by our exuberant grandson, Blake, who takes great delight in dismantling and rearranging our kitchen pots, pans, and utensils whenever he visits. He always adds new dynamics to our kitchen. Thank you, Blake, for keeping us on our toes in the kitchen.

Deji Badiru

Iswat Badiru

December 25, 2012

The Rhyme of Artistic Expressions

Ode to the Arts of Cooking, Dancing, Painting, and Writing


The dance of meat molecules in my pot;

The dance of my pen on paper;

The dance of my paintbrush on canvas;


The tangle, twist, and tango of my feet on the dance floor;

It’s all Arts to me.

Ingredients are to the recipe what paint hues are to the portrait;

Steps are to the dance what pen strokes are to the script;


Of course, cooking, dancing, painting, and writing are, to me, the very existence.

Of what is life without The Arts?

Deji Badiru

December 2012

About Nigeria

Nigeria is located in West Africa. It is the most populous country on the African continent. Its official name is Federal Republic of Nigeria. It shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, Niger in the north, and borders the Gulf of Guinea in the south. Since 1991, its capital has been the centrally-located city of Abuja; previously, the seat of the Nigerian government was in Lagos. The people of Nigeria have an extensive history. Based on archaeological evidence, human habitation of the present location of Nigeria dates back to over 9000 BC. The present Nigerian state came into being on October 1, 1960 when Nigeria received its independence from Britain. The country presently consists of 36 states and the federal capital territory. Nigeria re-achieved democracy in 1999 after a sixteen-year interruption by a series of military regimes. From 1966 until 1999, Nigeria was ruled (except the short-lived second republic of 1979 to1983) by military heads of state, who seized power in coup d’états and counter-coups. Oil and Gas, by value, are the most important natural resources of Nigeria. They are exploited and produced in the Niger Delta basin and off-shore on the continental shelf and in the deep-sea of the territorial waters. Nigeria is one of the top exporters of petroleum to the United States. In addition to crude oil, there are significant non-oil mineral deposits, including coal, iron ore, gypsum, kaolin, phosphates, lime-stone, marble, columbine, barite (barium sulfate in mineral form), and gold. More detailed information about Nigeria can be found at the website of the Embassy of Nigeria in the USA:

Area: 351,649 sq mi (910,771 sq km) (World Bank Report, 2010)

Population: 162,470,737 (World Bank Estimate, 2011)

Capital: Abuja

Number of States: 36

Official Language: English

Main Indigenous Languages: Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba

Main Religions: Christianity, Islam, Traditional.

Our Kitchen Prayer

Give us life and love, fellowship and faith, and free pursuit of flavor.

Tasting is Believing

This book allows you to feel and appreciate (and, hopefully, eventually see, feel, and taste) Nigerian cooking for yourself:-

Food appreciation boils down to seeing and tasting for yourself

Like the English would say,

Seeing is believing… a trial will convince you.

In Nigeria, we say it as follows:

In Yoruba, Iroyin koto afojuba.

In Hausa, Ganni ya fi ji.

In Igbo, A fulu ekwe.

Part I

The Science

And The Art



Good science only adds to the enjoyment of the culinary arts.

-Roald Hoffman, 1981 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Kitchen Dynamics

The kitchen is a special place in all cultures around the world. The best family traditions often start in the kitchen. It is the pathway to our well-being and the channel for a fulfilled soul. As such, it is full of physics and dynamics. In the Nigerian kitchen, cooking is often a manifestation of passion rather than a mere necessity. Food is a universal language of well-being. Food sustains life. No human exists who does not have a need to eat. No one can practice perpetual complete abstinence from food. Since complete abstinence from food is not possible, we might as well embrace it, celebrate it, and pay homage to all the stages of food transformation; growing it, cultivating it, harvesting it, cooking it, consuming it, digesting it, and using it to nourish our bodies. No matter which side of the above opening quote you profess to stand, the fact remains that you have a close relationship with food. Cooking is like a well-orchestrated symphony, where carefully appointed ingredients play together in perfect harmony. The symphony director (aka the chef) is the pride of the kitchen.

The modern kitchen has as much drama and sentiments as the communal kitchen common in rural parts of Nigeria. A mix of dynamics occurs in every kitchen environment. In a rural communal kitchen, housewives congregate and interact to discuss current affairs in the household and debate community politics. Each household in the communal compound has its own stove or cooking spot in the shared space. So, the interplay of people, personalities, physical environment, and cooking equipment create memorable kitchen dynamics.

Even in a single-family modern kitchen, where there is no sharing of cooking space, the family structure and residential personalities still create unique kitchen dynamics. Regardless of whatever kitchen structure prevails in the Nigerian household, the best foods are the end product. The photos below illustrate the typical scene in a rural Nigerian communal kitchen compared to a modern Nigerian family kitchen.

The Nigerian kitchen is a beehive of activities full of energy and cacophony of laughter, particularly during party preparations. In spite of its chaotic and jumbled appearance, the kitchen puts out the best of the best of food preparation. This typifies the following Yoruba saying:

Inu ikoko dudu ni eko funfun ti unjade.

This translates roughly to say, It is from a black pot that white corn meal emanates. No matter how rural a Nigerian kitchen might be, it still produces the best meals. This saying is also often used to commend the career successes of children who have risen out of poverty.

The term, Physics, in the title of this book, is not just about the science of physics. Rather, the word epitomizes the dynamics (processes, actions, and interfaces) that exist in a kitchen environment. As readers will soon find out, the Nigerian kitchen can be full of drama, excitement, and cacophony. In the Nigerian kitchen, commotion is what breeds gastronomic excellence, particularly for large party preparations.

The Nigerian kitchen is full of drama and excitement. One case example of a kitchen excitement is an incident that our older kids (Abi and Ade) witnessed when they were teenagers. According to Deji’s recollection, a female family friend, Ms. D, known to our kids as auntie came to our home for a visit. Upon entering the kitchen, she started jumping up and down shouting to Iswat in a mixed English-and-Yoruba tone:

Auntie, auntie, meatpie yen. Tie ba towo, oh my goodness. O da gan ni.

This means the meatpie turned out great. If you taste it, it will feel like heaven. It is very good.

Abi and Ade ran out of their rooms to come and check what the commotion was all about. They have never forgotten the excitement of that moment… all for the sake of a good meatpie.

For the Love of Food

So pervasive is the love of food preparation that it has become a favorite topic to write about. The prevalence of recipe books on the market attests to this fact. Along with writing children’s books, writing recipe books has become a favorite pastime of celebrities both old and young. Maya Angelou, in 2010, at the age of 82, wrote the book, Great food, all day long: Cook splendidly, eat smart. Mr. Al Roker, popularly known as America’s favorite weatherman, also has written a few cookbooks. This book follows the tradition of documenting and commending food in all its forms. This book celebrates Nigerian cooking at its best. Even nature endorses human’s love of food. By far, the hardest part of the human body is the outer layer of teeth, thus enabling humans to tackle even the toughest food challenges.

Food as a Centerpiece of Fellowship

All great change in America begins at the dinner table.

-Ronald Reagan

Food is the centerpiece of fellowship in the African tradition. Nigerians take this rallying point to the next level in the way they host and entertain friends, family, neighbors, and extended acquaintances. Cooking and serving food is an essential part of how Nigerians promulgate fellowship.

From the Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern nooks and corners of Nigeria, food is embraced and even worshiped in some local practices. Just as sports are often used as a basis to unify disparate parts of a developing nation, the interest in food can also be used as a joint foundation to overcome the nagging political differences that are rampant in developing nations. Trade and commerce related to food are important elements of how communities and nations interact. From sharing food, exchanging recipes, and "festivalizing" food to creating community unions, food facilitates participatory alliances among people of all creed and color throughout the world. Mass feeding of everyone within reach is a trademark of Nigerian chefs (actually, all African chefs), which is mere demonstration of the

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