A CRUNCHY SNAIL STEW

By ADEDEJI ROFEE`AH – INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PART 3.
Snail meat is one of those food items that gets sidestepped at special occasions in Nigeria. Your guest could be really offended if you fail to include snails on his plate particularly when your menu says so. In Efik, Snail is called Ekwong and in Yoruba it is Igbin.
Today however, it is not going to be barbecue snails, but snail stew. It is found out that snail meat is quite delicate to cook and when overcooked it is too soft and uninteresting. This depends on what you use to wash your snail. It is better to use salt and lime, these keep the snail meat firm rather than alum that takes out the slime but leaves the snail a bit too soft after a while. The key to enjoying snails whether in stews or soups is the cooking time and 10-12 minutes is recommended, by this, the snail is cooked but retains the crunchiness to the meat and tastes great.
INGREDIENTS
6 Snails cleaned and cut in halves
4 cups of tomatoes/pepper/onion blend
1 large Onion
1 tablespoon curry powder
Pepper to taste
1 yellow Cameroon pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
Chicken seasoning to taste
Salt to taste.
METHOD
Place snails in a pot, add some seasoning, a little salt, some chopped onion, chopped Cameroon pepper, curry powder. Add about ½ cup water. Steam snail for 5minutes and turn off the heat.
Chop onion into rings.
Heat the oil, and fry the onion for about 2minutes, it is preferred to take out the onion at this time and set aside. It is fitting to have some bits of onion in the stew.
Fry the tomato blend till all the liquid dries up. This method makes a lot of difference to the texture of your stew. Some people like snail stew to be peppery so some pepper may be used in this stew. Your choice of pepper intensity will depend on your tolerance level.
Pour in the liquid from the steamed snail and continue to cook the stew. Go for seasoning and salt. Taste your stew to be sure the tanginess of the tomato is off, if not, allow the stew to cook till that sour taste is off.
Return the snails and onion to the stew, add the remaining curry powder and cook for another 5minutes and the snail stew is ready.
Serve with plain boiled rice, some side vegetable and fried plantain.
Enjoy your meal!

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