We celebrate the world’s best comfort food by asking chefs and food writers from diverse backgrounds to talk about the dishes they love.


Here, Adejoké Bakare, owner of Chishuru restaurant in Brixton, shares her recipe for Nigerian miyan gyada.

See the mutton peanut butter soup recipe.

Adejoké Bakare's favourite dish

Two years ago Adejoké Bakare’s friend gave her an ultimatum. After dabbling on-off in street food and running a supper club, 2019, it was decided, would be the year Adejoké devoted herself to fully realising her cooking talent.

‘If you don’t do anything,’ Adejoké was warned, ‘we’re not going to be friends, because it means you just don’t care.’

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That motivation worked. Last September, after winning the Brixton Kitchen competition, Adejoké, now 50, opened Chishuru restaurant in Brixton Village. In the Hausa language of Adejoké’s native Nigeria, chishuru means food so good it stuns you into silence. But praise for her West African menu is loud. The Observer critic and BBC broadcaster Jay Rayner is one notable fan.

A keen cook since her teens, Adejoké has arguably been building to Chishuru for decades. But this former health and safety officer and facilities manager is, still, taken aback by the response: ‘It’s humbling. I’m so proud a light is being shone on our food.'

‘I was born in Port Harcourt but dad was in the army and we moved around before settling in the northern city of Kaduna. The north is a great agricultural basin where the cold season means you can grow things like apples, and I had friends with proper farms, growing corn and peanuts. Peanut or what we call groundnut oil is huge. It is fantastic oil, the smell heady with spices and pepper.'

‘In Nigeria and West Africa, we use many of the same ingredients and spices, like grains of selim (similar to black pepper) or calabash nutmeg. But there are regional cooking differences. In southern Nigeria, food is bolder, spicier and uses more chillies. In the east, people use native ground peppers more, like uziza. Food at home was a mishmash of these different zones and cultures and, in the same way, at Chishuru I cook my take on traditional Nigerian food.'

‘When I was younger, there was a pride in our shared West African food history, one that cuts across nation states. Now there’s slight divisiveness. People might say, “I’m from Togo, Togolese food is the absolute bomb.” That’s sad. We should share that joy. It’s not about who’s best. We all eat jollof and no matter how differently you make it, it’s fantastic and uniquely us.'

‘I learned to cook by osmosis assisting my mum, a business woman. Her dad was a great cook, too – he taught me how to smoke meats. Then in the village where my dad was born, my grandmum sold dodo ikire, a street snack of fermented, fried plantain with spices and chillies, unique to Osun State.'

‘At home, breakfast was often last night’s repurposed rice and stew, or porridge like akamu: fermented millet or sorghum cooked with spices and sweetened with, instead of sugar, the slightly tart fermenting water. Another childhood favourite was moi-moi, peeled black-eyed beans smoothly blended with bell peppers, onion, maybe chillies, and then steamed – like a Mexican tamale. It’s super-savoury and eaten on its own or on bread which, in school, we called a moi-wich.

‘Our evening meal was often fufu, a kind of stiffened dough or mash made by boiling and pounding starchy tubers or grains – corn, millet, plantain, yams – that’s really a vehicle for Nigerian soups. We have loads of soups, or what in the West you’d call stews that are made with different vegetables and thickeners, like yarrow, coco yams or egusi seeds. In the south, they’re made with leafy greens such as moringa or baobab.

‘My recipe is the northern Hausa version of miyan gyada (overleaf) or peanut butter soup. It really reminds me of home. It’s creamy and spicy and really warms you during the northern cold season. The recipe uses mutton, but, with adjusting the times, you can also use lamb, beef or fish.’

Five key Nigerian ingredients

Palm oil

‘Nigerians finish dishes with palm oil as you would a really good olive oil. The cheap oil you get in the West has no nutrients. But in Nigeria, palm oil is revered. It’s used as food but also in prayer and naming ceremonies.’


‘People may disagree, depending on where they come from. But in Western Nigeria we love chillies, like the miango and anambra, which is almost like a proper scotch bonnet with fruity heat.’

Grains of selim and indigenous spices

‘Certain dishes must have that native flavour that requires selim, calabash nutmeg or aidan fruit – a seed pod you cut in half to flavour dishes or use powdered.’


‘A kind of African miso, made from fermented sesame or egusi seeds (dried melon or squash seeds). There are other important fermented condiments and ingredients used to enhance dishes, such as iru and dawadawa, which are two different types of fermented locust bean.’



‘A variety of black pepper that has a distinct aromatic flavour. We also use the peppery leaves as a herb.’

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