Nigeria’s Designer Foods: Soup and Stew

Hello fans: I apologize for my sporadic postings over the last two years. I was chasing after my dream of obtaining a second Master's degree in English and Creative Writing. I have achieved that goal as of March 2017! I promise to post with more frequency.
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My childhood friend and I went to visit an older friend yesterday who served us “designer's soup,” and I was very curious. 

"Designer’s stews" have been circulating for decades. The irony is that they originated from roadside vendors called "Mamaput" rather than from opulent restaurants or from the in-house restaurants of expensive hotels. 

Not to split hair, but putting an apostrophe in the word "designer" means that someone owns it: Designer’s Stew, and as an English professor, my mind is in a riot. Should I correct this perceived error first? Should it not be “designer stew” or “designer soup?”

Anyway, what determines which Nigerian dish gets the lofty title of “designer?” Who was the first designer, the first mamaput? Does it depend on the cost of the ingredients or the number of and different types of meats, fish, and other expensive ingredients?

Both the designer’s stew (A.k.A. Ofada and Ayamase) and designer’s soup are dark and spicy. The similarity ends there. The designer’s soup, on which we feasted yesterday, contained the following ingredients in generous portions: beef, tripe, dried fish, stock fish, a whole chicken chopped at home, ground crawfish, and pomo/cow skin. The lavish amount of chopped ukazi leaves and palm oil turned the soup dark after being simmered for a long time. 

The soup certainly was very delicious. As much as I have stayed away from fufu for months, I could not resist this designer’s soup yesterday.

I honestly believe that our friend (Aunty Paulyn) invented designer’s soup. As of today, my extensive search for designer’s soup failed to pull up that soup. My search pulled up different versions of designer’s stew. When Aunty Paulyn is ready to share her very secret and very scrumptious recipe with the world, I promise to update this post with the rest of the ingredients.


As you know, because of the controversy and different methods of cooking the same dish, this website does not give recipes. We give only ingredients used in the food so that you can use equivalent ingredients in your own locale to prepare the dish. 

Disclaimer: For the recipe for designer’s stew, head over to this website. This reference does not constitute an endorsement.

--Frances Ohanenye maintains this unusual site. Click on the "Open Source Cooking" tab for enlightening information. Thanks for visiting. Have a fruitful day!

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