A few weeks ago, I went visiting relatives. We were offered a meal which we accepted and I proceeded to eat what I considered really tasty stew with some rice. It wasn’t until after I had finished eating that I was told that there was no oil used in the making of the stew. That was literally the point at which I looked down at my plate and realized that there was absolutely no oil at the bottom of the plate.

I was shocked!! Gobsmacked!!! My mother had always spoken about making oil free stew and I didn’t jump on the bandwagon as I thought that it would be totally tasteless. Good thing no-one told me that was what I was having until I had cleaned my plate…

Being that I am always thinking of ways of eating and living healthier, I decided to replicate the stew on my own when I got home. I did this and posted the picture below on the Natural Nigerian facebook page a few days ago. I am retaining the original caption as on facebook.

Eating lunch at my desk today. 90% oil free stew and brown rice. Nutritious and still tasty. Completely Guilt Free.

It garnered some attention and drew for calls of a recipe which was provided by someone I know has been cooking this stew for years. For those who want to try it out, here is the recipe as she put it up:

 Just like you make your normal Nigerian stew but no oil (oh well probably very little from the meat) but no frying involved, so will only make important points 🙂

1) Boil your meat with spices as you usually do.
2) Cook your tomato blend till almost all the water has dried. 
3) Leave the pot of boiled meat to cool then drain the fat / oil that comes to the surface
4) Pour your boiled meat with the stock into the reduced tomato blend add your spices as you do 🙂 (if the meat stock is not much then add little water to the mix)

Cook at low heat and stir at short intervals. Taste the mix to make sure that the raw tomato taste is gone. Cooking ends when you are satisfied with the taste and happy with the stew’s consistency.

The End!

*Some prefer not to use the stock from the boiled the meat – they replace this with just plain water.

Thank you Chinelo!

Someone mentioned that the stew didn’t look pretty (or perhaps it was my brown rice). You will get used to the look and the taste and when you do, it will do wonders for your health.

I took to this new recipe pretty quickly – I added about 10% of the normal quantity of oil I would usually use and will gradually transition to 0%. You may wish to start at 50% less oil and then transition downwards with time.

[I bought the brown rice from Sherese Ijewere of Carib Health]. Tomatoes for the stew came from my local market ;). 



The food look very pretty to me. I have been doing this over a year now. After being diagnosed with PCOS and my weight went up a bit. I decided to make changes to my everyday eating habit because exercising is not a very good friend of mine (I still walk a lot though). Reducing the amount of oil I use from little to none at all (except for when I fry egg which is scarcely). I switched to brown rice and brown spaghetti. I don’t even make my moi moi and porridge beans with oil (none at all) and you will not notice except i tell you. I use more tomatoes instead for colour when is a healthier option. I cut out salt too gradually, now if I am using chicken cube I don’t bother with salt and vice versa. It takes getting use to but with time, you will like it. Sugar cant be found any where in my place. That a no go for me. I avoid eating out and when I feel like snacking I eat things like banana, apples, nuts or fruits/vegetables in general. Its been a year now and I can say I am in the best health and weight that I can ever be at 23 years. I wish we could be more food concious in Nigeria. My mum first thought it was crazy for me to cook without oil but now she is realising how nice it is too.(She still thinks the salt one is stupid but with time I will convince her)


Thanks for sharing Fadekemi. I also have PCOS and struggle with my weight. Its been really difficult to change my diet so to speak. However, i cooked my stew without frying the oil at all last week and i have to say its the best i have tasted in a long time. I boiled my tomatoes and peppers and when all the water had dried up (but not burning), i added a few drops of olive oil. It was perfect.
I have also reduced my salt intake…so once again thanks for sharing.


I am so happy to have shared with you. Dont worry about it if you slip sometimes (nothing is perfect), it took so many uncountable number of times for me get it right. All the best too with your journey.


Have you tried maca powder & castor oil packs for your pcos? Maca powder has been used for centuries to treat infertiltiy and hormonal imbalance. Castor oil packs work by actually disolving the existing cysto

Also palm oil (obviously not excessively) is actually good for you unlike vegetable oil
Coconut oil is also excellent

In regards to the salt you don’t have to cut it out just get pink himalayan salt which is an unrefined natural salt that is so good for you.

All the best 🙂


Thank you so much for this recipe…I’ve often wondered whether there’s such a stew. I get tired and scared of the oily variety.

I just printed out this post so I can give wifey to try it!


the brown rice looks like beans. I’ve always wondered what a stew without oil would taste like, because I use to wonder why we use oil for cooking our stews. is it for the taste or the presentation? I sometimes use EVOO for the aroma and nutritional advantage, but it’s best used cold. So I add it to my meal when it has cool down. 🙂
btw, I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award on my blog here http://curiouskinks.blogspot.ca/2012/09/versatille-blogger-award.html. Please check it out to see what the award is about 🙂


I’v tried talking my dad in2 dis method, but he won’t accept, he’z gtn old n diz thingz r not gud 4 his health, n they are detrimental 2 my vocalz as a singer, buh he jux won’t listen, n if i try 2 cook my own fud seperately, he quarrels over it… I dunno wot 2 do again o…:-(


if you are tired of oil inyour diet use coconut oil. It is a VERY healthy oil and the most stable of all oils at high temperatures. Besides it ic carbohydrates that make you fat and not FAT!


Tnx a lot natural Nigerian, n others who hv share. Av learnt a lot. I would lyk to knw th advantages of olive oil over vegetable oil. Ar thy rili any biffrnt oils

Ifeoma I.

I’m excited about this recipe and I will try it this weekend 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

Like some other ladies mentioned healthy oils in moderation are beneficial to our health.

This article somehow reminds me of the stories I often hear from my parents about growing up poor in the village in Nigeria, and the kinds of foods they ate. From their description, it doesn’t sound like they put an excessive amount oil in their meals because groundnut oil was expensive and palm oil was very labor intensive. I’d wager we’ve started using more oils in our Nigerian dishes the wealthier some of us have gotten…oh well, just a thought.

Thanks again for sharing. I’ll try to remember to write a comment after I make it.


Thanks for spreading the word.. I have been using this recipe for years and it still tastes great..And the health benefits are compelling. Welldone !!!


I am not to take coconut anything.so I often wonder what other healthy oils exist out there. Any idea?


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