Funny thing is, like Snails (The Giant African Snails as oppose to the French Escargot/land snails) I started out not caring very much for Oxtail.
But you can’t grow up in Nigeria, live amongst Nigerians , or be into naija men and not know what Oxtail is ; that succulently soft, gelatine, Bonny tail of a cattle! Now I can say these things and end with yum! But until recently I was quite indifferent to it. Everything changed when I visited one of my closest friends for dinner, she served oxtail amongst other delights, assuming that I and my husband cared for the thing! But in my usual excitement about the amazing spread I must have asked why the Oxtail looked much bigger than normal, she told me she brought the Oxtail from Harrods and I remember giving her a look before laughing!
Now if this wasn’t my ‘personal person’ I would have secretly thought how pretentious! But I know my girl loves food, seriously loves food! She is the type of girl you’d find in China tang at the Dorchester on a Friday night, and at Lolak in Peckham on Saturday ( if you haven’t tried these two restaurants you are a learner), so long as the food is good she/ we are there.
My friend didn’t really need to do much explaining, Harrods is synonymous with quality, the best sourced food under one wonderful roof! Dinner was scrumptous, the Oxtail was sublime! And so the next time I was entertaining with nigerian food, I went to Harrods of course! and I’ve never looked back! No one does it better. Pleaseeeeeee try Harrods oxtail!
There is no trick to cooking oxtail. It needs to be slow cooked. This is how I do mine.
- Get your onions, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and knor.
- Blend all the above and pour over your washed oxtail
- I rarely use dried herbs in my cooking, please leave it out; No to curry and thyme if you are Nigerian! Knor however is king of the jungle.
- Salt it to taste, but usually the salt in the Knor cubes should be sufficient
- Cook on low heat; I can’t give you specific a time but I generally cook mine for over an hour
- Getting your oxtail right is all about texture, texture, texture, texture! Just like spaghetti, and yes 90% of people I know can’t cook spaghetti right! So your oxtail needs to be soft enought to eat, without you chewing your jaw off! but not so soft that it falls off the bone – think Al-dente.
- Once your oxtail is cooked, put it under the grill, heat up high, and brown both sides.
- Now blend one onion, a scotch bonnet and fresh tomatoes.
- Pour some palm oil ( use vegetable oil if you prefer, but if you are serving with efo then be consistent with the oil you used for the efo) in a pan, when it’s nicely heated pour in your blended onions, scotch bonnet and tomatoes and cook it till its all reduced, add one knor chicken.
- Once this paste is reduced, add in your oxtail, simmer and there you have it!
Thank me later! Naija food forever!