A taste of my childhood

by Khushboo on December 28, 2011

When people ask me where “home” is, I really have no idea.  Before living in Mumbai and London, I lived the first 14 years of my life in Lagos, Nigeria.  Although I can’t imagine ever living there again, I probably spent some of the best years of my life there.  The friends I made in Lagos are lifelong and along with that, the food in Nigeria was out-of-this-world delicious.  Besides the select restaurants like Pearl Garden (Chinese) & Al Basha (Lebanese), I fondly remember the meals we ate at home.

Like Mumbai, the lifestyle in Nigeria is extremely comfortable and hiring house help is the norm.  Although chances are he will NEVER read this blog (or anything else on the internet for that matter), I can’t help to give a shout out to our cook Ignatius.  He cooked plenty of delicious foods in his day but the one meal which my family and I still drool over the thought is his rice-stuffed chicken.  It is beyond me why none of us ever asked him for the exact recipe of the rice, especially as it’s too little, too late now!  That being said, the Brown Rice Mushroom & Almond Pilaf my mom made on Sunday just about replicated the taste.  And trust me, it takes a lot for me to say any dish measures up to one cooked by Ignatius, which is why I have to share the recipe:

Brown Rice Mushroom & Almond Pilaf (serves 3-4)

  • 1 Cup Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Almonds
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley
  • 1 tblpn Oregano
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 Tspns curry powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

1) Set the rice to cook according to package directions.

2) While the rice is cooking, slice the almonds and roast them in a pre-heated oven for about 6-7 minutes (tossing occasionally), or until golden brown.

3) In a heated skillet, add spray oil or 1 – 2 tspns of olive oil.  Sauté the onions till translucent and then add the sliced mushrooms.

4) Cook the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes and then mix in the rice & almonds (save some for garnishing). Season with the curry powder, oregano, salt and parsley.

5) Reduce the fire and let the rice mix cook for a few minutes.

6) Garnish with remaining almonds & serve

What’s a childhood favorite of yours?

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara K December 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm

That does sound delicious- and the name Ignatius- EVEN BETTER! I feel you on not knowing where to call home- I usually just say San Francisco since I was born there and lived there for ten years or sometimes I say Dubai since that was where I spent my childhood and sometimes I say Finland since that’s where I hold citizenship. Ahh but how special we are for being so international ;)
I’ve never been to Nigeria, but my dad used to go on business trips to Lagos- he certainly had some interesting stores!

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

It really is a blessing to be well-traveled…being exposed to so many different cultures adds so much depth to character! And that’s cool your dad went to Lagos for business trips, it’s not always the ‘safest’ place for foreigners including myself!

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Alexandra December 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Wow that’s so cool you grew up in Nigeria! And if the food is anything like this recipe, I would die of utter happiness at every meal haha
Apples and PB always reminds me of childhood, it never gets old! :)

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

Yess I always feel like a kid when I have apple slices and peanut butter!

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Shelly December 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

You have the coolest life! I have never lived anywhere outside of my home state, let alone outside of the country. So neat!
A few childhood favorites come to mind, which is making me want to run to my mom for recipes immediately. I love her cheesburger hotdish (others may say casserole, but here in MN we are big on saying hotdish), crepes, meatballs, and stroganoff to name a few. Yum! I wish it were lunchtime now. :)

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

Wow cheeseburger hotdish sounds interesting…I bet it’s delicious!

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Priyanka December 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I am always looking for good pilaf recipes for brown rice and this one definitely looks like a winner!

Mum’s heart shaped cutlets, egg sandwiches, tomato soup with rice and maggi noodles are some of my favorite childhood food memories.

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:47 am

That’s so funny you said heart-shaped cutlets…my mom used to make heart-shaped pizzas! And Indo-Mi (the Nigerian equivalent of Maggi) was also a childhood favorite of mine!

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Gayatri December 29, 2011 at 1:07 am

I’m definitely going to try this. The combination of oregano, parsley and curry powder sounds intriguing! My childhood favs = Ganpati food, veggie cutlets & caramel custard (cooked at home) … Anything and everything off Mumbai’s roads! (I need an intervention, I know!)

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:50 am

Hahah I don’t know about an intervention but I think your Chicago days are over…time to head back to the Motherland!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset December 29, 2011 at 7:54 am

Wow lady you are sooo worldlyyy! You traveling thing you :) THank you for the recipe… the flavors and ingredients are certainly ideal for me
And my mom used to make pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon with buttered egg noodles and broccoli…. such a great meal and from childhood of course

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

Wow buttered noodles especially sound fab!

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Purvi Verma Saini (@PurviVermaSaini) December 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

I love rice, I can eat it 24*7, and that is why I am fat :) so i recently bought some brown rice to replace my Basmati rice, but I have still not found the courage to make it, but now I have a recipe, thanks to you :) :) will surely make it

and I read your past posts Khushboo, regarding fitness and weight loss and found them very inspirational :)

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:52 am

Thanks so much for your comment :) ! And I hope you enjoy the recipe…if you’re not a fan of brown rice, why not do half brown and half Basmati and gradually make the switch?

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Ameena December 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

I love that you are from so many cool places Khushboo! You are one cultured lady. :)

This looks fantastic. Delicious and yet not too difficult! Thank you for sharing. And Happy New Year!

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:53 am

Happy New Year to you too :) !

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Shannon from Healthiful Balance December 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Ohh that looks yummy! Thanks for sharing with us :)

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:53 am

Sure!

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forgottenbeast December 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm

You have lived in so many amazing places! I spent time in Ghana and loved the food there, but have had so much trouble replicating the flavors/meals I had while there. This pilaf sounds simple and tasty, I definitely want to give it a go!

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

My dad also lived in Ghana for a long while before moving to Nigeria! My favorite Ghanian recipe was this curry made from peanuts…sadly it’s another recipe we never took down!

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forgottenbeast January 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Oooh, if you ever find it or make something similar, I hope you post about it! That sounds so good…

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Sarah December 30, 2011 at 2:16 am

Guess what’s for dinner tonight? Hint: see above :) thanks for the recipe!

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hope you enjoy it!

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Asmita December 30, 2011 at 7:15 am

This pilaf recipe looks so yummy! I am a rice eater and can it anytime even for breakfast.

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

I don’t know if I could do savory rices for breakfast but I love rice pudding on cold mornings!

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honeywhatscooking December 30, 2011 at 7:31 am

omg, you took me back 20+ years. ALthough I would NEVER move back to Nigeria, some of my fondest memories were there. I’m assuming this dish is Indian, right? And your cook was Nigerian? It’s amazing how the cooks there picked up the Indian recipes so quick. So from Nigeria, you moved to London next and spent 8 years there?

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

I agree completely! Call me crazy but I think my Nigerian cook had a better hand in Indian recipes than my cook in Mumbai…or maybe I’m just biased :) ! And yes, I lived 14 years in Nigeria, moved to London for 8 years and landed up in Mumbai–> u catch on quick :)

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Haley @ Health Freak College Girl December 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

ooh this sounds so good! and i really liked hearing about the lifestyle in different countries :)

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Khushboo Thadani December 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

I’ll be sure to put up some more posts about life in Nigeria!

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