The best gifts , I believe that anyone can give to me is the gift of time and a labor of their love. These to me, are more valuable than anything material. And so for this year’s Father’s Day celebration, I planned the weekend to cook my husband’s favorite meals.
A pre-father’s day dinner
Our Father’s Day celebration began on Saturday when I cooked Chinese stir fry rice with stir-fry shrimps and beef sauce. My husband loves Chinese cuisine so I took out time to visit the fresh market to buy fresh ingredients which I used in cooking the pre-father’s day dinner.
Father’s Day brunch and dinner
Father’s Day fell into a Sunday so as characteristic of my household, we had brunch at about noon after Sunday Mass. We love Sunday brunch because that’s the only day of the week when the entire family is complete at the dinner table. And for Father’s Day brunch, I made akara (bean cake) and pap ( corn porridge).
Akara can be laborious to make but since we are a family of bean cake lovers, it comes quite natural to me. Here’s an easy recipe for making delicious akara.
Homemade akara recipe
To make akara (bean cakes) for my family of five, I use the following ingredients:
Brown honey beans – 2 cups
Onion – quarter slice
Ginger – 1 teaspoon
Eggs – 2
Salt – a few pinches to taste
Vegetable oil (soybean oil, sunflower oil or any of your choice) to fry the bean cakes – 350ml
1. Clean the honey beans and wash it clean without removing the peels. I never remove the peels because the peels are fiber rich and nutritious.
2. Soak the beans in a bowl of water and place in a refrigerator over night.
3. By next morning, blend the now swollen beans in portions to allow for a smooth blend. Add the onion and ginger to the beans in the kitchen blender and blend at intervals until a smooth paste is achieved. You do not need a special blender because the beans which has been soaked over night is usually soft and easy to blend.
4. Pour the smoothly blended honey beans into a bowl and add the eggs. Mix with a large spoon and then add salt to taste. Mix again until all ingredients are well combined.
5. Pour the vegetable oil into a pan. I use soybean oil but you can use any vegetable oil of your choice. Heat it up and throw in some onions to add flavor to the bean cake. Once the oil starts to sizzle, you can add the bean cake paste in droppings into the hot oil. Fry until both sides are golden and then take off heat.
For dinner, I made my husband’s favorite soup – Banga. Banga soup is indigenous to people from the Niger Delta of Nigeria and because he is from the Urhobo tribe, I have had to learn to cook this soup for him. Traditionally, banga which is palm oil fruit soup, is extracted from palm kernels and can be quite laborious to do. In recent times, there has been a number of canned banga ( palm oil paste) however, these canned alternatives are nothing in comparison to native palm kernel paste extracted from native palm trees which are healthier as the oils contain far less cholesterol. The taste and texture is also very different as the canned alternative does not taste as authentic as native grown palm kernels.
A dear friend of mine who processes native palm kernel fruit paste sells authentic banga juice which saves you time and allows you to cook authentic banga soup with ease. She also sells authentic banga spices. You can find her on Instagram at this Plug
And as part of our celebration, the kids wished their father well. It’s their own little way of showing their appreciation for all that he does for them. In the end, we had a memorable weekend and my labour of love paid off.
How did you spend Father’s Day? Did you buy a gift or did you make something special. Please do share in the comment section.