Elisa Bray
Elisa Bray

In five bites | Tokunbo's Kitchen

One host. Five questions. Welcome to this weeks In Five Bites with Tokunbo Koiki from Tokunbo’s Kitchen.

If I'm not in the kitchen/field/making, you'd find me…

Getting the party started with my crazy energetic dance moves. I can’t hear music and not dance. My feet just betray me. I love music, I love dancing and the last couple of years I’ve been learning Zumba, an African-inspired tango. I had a food stall at a festival called African Utopia at Southbank and one of the other traders who was selling coconut drinks had this music player on and I just got in the middle of the hall and started dancing.

Guilty pleasure food combination?

Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Salted Caramel ice cream with Oreo cookies. The problem I have with Haagen-Dazs is how not to finish the tub. It’s so bad. When it’s two for £6 I end up buying four and telling myself you’re going to make this last the week at least, then three days later I’m back in the shop. There’s always ice cream in my freezer.

Tokunbo

What ingredient would you bring with you to a desert island?

Yaji (suya spice). Suya is a dish from northern Nigeria – skewered beef – and yaji is a peanut-based spice like a marinade. You typically rub it on the meat before it’s grilled, but it’s such a versatile spice, you can use it on everything. The other day I made sweet potato soup and used yaji to roast the vegetables. I cannot stand bland food. So having this spice on a desert island, if the food is bland I just add it and I’m good.

One chef, one drink. Who and what?

Nadiya Hussain and Chapman - a traditional Nigerian drink that’s very sweet, looks like Ribena, and is made with Sprite and bitters). I didn’t actually watch The Great British Bake Off when Nadiya was on, but my daughter did and loved her and a couple of months ago she did a book signing at Harrods. When I was listening to her talking about how her love of baking grew over time, it was really inspiring. The love that I feel for my culture as a Nigerian fuels me when I’m in the kitchen, so when I’m doing a festival and functioning on three hours’ sleep, I’m not complaining because I appreciate that Tokunbo's Kitchen opens up opportunities for people who have never had Nigerian food before to have that taste. I’m sharing the love of food that I’ve discovered.

Your last ever bite?

Puff puff, a traditional Nigerian dough pastry. Oh my god; it’s amazing, but it’s evil, just little-fried donuts and you literally don’t know that you’ve put 20 in your mouth. I’m actually frying some puff puff tomorrow for an event, and today I saw somebody put on their Instagram a picture of them frying puff puff and I almost came into the kitchen to fry some myself.

Tokunbo's amazing ‘Food is ready, Oya come chop’ Nigerian supper clubs create an intimate, sociable opportunity to enjoy authentic Nigerian food along with a cultural immersion celebrating the vibrancy of traditional West African food and culture. If you’d like to attend one of her events, you can find her on her tabl store.

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