European Diversity Month

Jeremiah Olufayo: A Taste of Nigeria in Berlin

commercetools author image Stephanie Wittmann
Stephanie Wittmann
Head of Communications & Content, commercetools
Published 19 May 2021

As a part of our diversity month activities, we are talking with commercetoolers around the world about their cultural background.

For this blog post, Jeremiah Olufayo, a Backend Software Developer based out of commercetools’ Berlin office, joined us for a fun conversation.

European Diversity Month

1. What’s your ethnic background and where do you live now?

I come from South-West Nigeria, Yoruba to be precise. Nigeria has 3 major ethnic groups and over 200 ethnic groups in total. It’s a very diverse country. The South-West is made up of the Yoruba tribe and we speak the Yoruba language.

I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. I lived and grew up in Lagos till I went to university in Akure, Ondo state. I currently live in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is a completely different place to Lagos. First the weather – I grew up with the sun all the time and experienced snow for the first time when I moved to Berlin in December. Also, it’s a more stable country and place economically and politically. Nigeria is more communal; our cultures support communal living. 

2. Is there a Nigerian community in Berlin?

I’m still new to Berlin but there’s a big Nigerian community here. I have a circle of friends I know from Nigeria. There are already plans to explore and meet with many others when the pandemic lets us.

3. What parts of Nigerian culture do you incorporate in your everyday life?

Firstly, the FOOOOODDDDD!! I enjoy cooking so I make Nigerian dishes all the time, as Nigerian food is what I mostly eat. Also, I have friends here from Nigeria who had already migrated to Berlin before I did, so I knew how to get Nigerian food here.

For Nigerian clothes, the winter hasn’t let me showcase my Nigerian outfits yet, but I brought some Nigeria native attire, which I’ll wear soon when the weather gets warmer.

I do listen to Nigerian music a lot. Not to brag, but we have the biggest music industry in Africa. I won’t mention my favourite Nigerian artists as it’s a hot topic between the 3 biggest ones right now. I don’t necessarily watch Nigerian movies that much but I’m beginning to love the new types of series coming out on YouTube like The Men’s Club. I enjoy listening to Nigerian radio here; it keeps me abreast with the news and music.

4. What are your cooking habits like in Berlin?

I cook often here – weekly to be precise. I cook large portions over the weekend and refrigerate. It usually lasts 2 weeks. I cook soups like egusi, okra, ogbono, stew and other foods like jollof rice, beans, dodo…I get most if not all of the ingredients I need in an African supermarket here in Berlin. As expected, it’s more expensive cooking Nigerian food here but I enjoy cooking and like having friends over so I cook for them.

5. Why is it important to you to incorporate Nigerian food into your life?

We’re notorious for looking for Nigerian food when we travel abroad. Firstly, it’s our comfort zone. Secondly, the unique taste is hard to get abroad. These memes describe what I’m talking about perfectly.

6. Is there any German food you like?

Unfortunately for me, I haven’t tried German food yet (yeah, the pandemic again). I’ve not had the luxury of walking down the streets and trying different foods. It’s in my plans and I want to explore different dishes.

7. What is the most important national dish of Nigeria?

This undoubtedly has to be Jollof Rice! There’s even an ongoing war in Africa between Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal on who has the best jollof. Of course, Nigerian jollof is the best!

Here’s the recipe for a tasty bowl of Jollof Rice!

  • Chicken

  • Rice

  • Tomatoes

  • Fresh pepper

  • Onions

  • Vegetable oil

  • Curry powder

  • Thyme

  • Maggi seasoning

  • Salt

  • Crayfish

  • Firstly, I boil the chicken with sliced onions, curry, thyme, Maggi seasoning and salt. Cook till slightly tender. I used to fry the chicken before but now I grill it. I keep the chicken stock for the rice.

  • Blend tomatoes, onions and pepper together.

  • Boil the blended tomato mix.

  • Sometimes I parboil the rice, other times I don’t. Depends on how tired I am.

  • Heat up the vegetable oil with low heat.

  • Add onions to fry it. Fry till it has a fragrant aroma.

  • I then add the boiled blended tomato mix to the frying oil. I fry for 5 to 10 minutes then stir. 

  • I add curry, thyme and a Maggi seasoning to taste while frying the tomato mix.

  • I then add crayfish, then the chicken stock.

  • Allow to boil for another 5 minutes.

  • I then add the parboiled rice and make sure the water level matches the rice, then keep it on low heat.

  • When almost dry, taste and apply Maggi seasoning and/or salt to taste.

commercetools author image Stephanie Wittmann
Stephanie Wittmann
Head of Communications & Content, commercetools

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