There is something about ‘panla’!
For those who don’t know, panla
is also known as stock fish.
So why am I blogging about panla? I am because I have rediscovered it!
I remember as a child, we used to spend a good proportion of our summer holidays in Ikeja in my aunt’s house (before we discovered London). We enjoyed spending time there for so many reasons including the fact that my aunt unlike our mum, would let us eat our favourite bread, agege bread. My mum did not like us eating it so she never bought it at home. The same with granulated sugar. As someone with a very sweet tooth, I soon realised that I was better off with a bag of ten naira sugar with my garri that two or three cubes of St. Louis sugar.
I personally also liked going to Ikeja because of my hidden treasures if I may call them that. One was agbodo it’s also known as smoked fish. I used to volunteer to help remove the skin and bones of this fish so I could help my mouth to a handful of the actual dried and smoked fish. So yummy!
My second treasure and the reason for this blog was panla. For some reason, my aunt used to keep them panla wrapped up in a newspaper in the room I slept in. Of course, the smell beckoned to me one day, I sneaked to the wrapped up panla, pulled out a tuff of the dried stock fish and put it into my mouth. It tasted yum but as you would expect, it was chewy because it hadn’t been soaked in water but I still enjoyed it and I never looked back. I must have been hungry the first day I tried this or just wanted it so much. That is how it became a habit, my secret stash of food. How my aunt never noticed I don’t know.
So fast forward to over 10 years later, I’m in London and being spoilt by both my mum and mother inlaw with all sorts of tribal dishes and my mother inlaw makes this soup with two of my favourite ingredients. She made this bitter leaf soup with blended iru (locust beans I think it is called) and a lot of panla. Oh boy, that soup makes me eat eBa and pounded yam until it finishes! It is so delicious. The panla, the way it tastes and the aroma it adds to the dish, including the iru, mehnnnn!
If you weren’t sure before, I’m sure now you will agree I am a foodie! I love my food, all cuisines alike. However nothing beats a good pot of efo riro (vegetable soup) with panla and iru of courseand pounded yam.
Okay, that is all. I’m getting hungrier writing this blog.