Cookbooks Around the World

Building on the International/Expat/ local cookbook theme, today we have the Ibadan “Chopping” Guide from Ibadan, Nigeria.

“All recipes, hints and substitutions were chosen primarily for use in Ibadan and areas where ingredients are limited.

October 1969”

The “Chopping” refers to Nigerian pidgin English.

According to Babawilly’s Dictionary of Pidgin English Words and Phrases:

Chop: 1. Food 2. Income 3. Bribe 4. Embezzle money

e.g Dat Oga chop belle-full bifor e retire.

Chop bottle: Eat glass. Part of pre fight preamble during which various threats and questions are asked to measure of toughness of the opponent

e.g. you dey chop bottle?

Chop bullet: Get shot.

Chop life: Enjoy life.

Chop money: Monthly or weekly house keeping allowance.

Chop mouth: Kissing.

Chop-remain: Leftovers of meal.

It is a colorful language with a sense of humor.

Here is one important recipe I extracted from this book and used often in Moscow.  My son still reminisces about it.

Maple Syrup

  • 1 bottle Sprite or 7-UP
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Boil until syrupy

If I had any maple flavoring, I would put in a teaspoon.

My favorite Nigerian dish does not appear in this cookbook but one of my mother’s friends did provide a recipe:

Ground Nut Stew

  • Cover with water 1 ½ lbs. of chicken (in pieces with bone) or beef cut into chunks, bite sized, and cook until meat is done.  Salt for cooking.
  • In blender:  3 medium onions, equal volume tomatoes, and 2 or 3 little hot red peppers.  Blend.  Add to meat sauce.  Cook 10 or 15 minutes.
  • 3/4 to 1 cup roasted toasted peanuts liquidized in blender (separately) or readymade peanut butter (less messy)
  • Add peanut mixture to meat & vegetable sauce and stir out the lumps.  Simmer for 15 min. or so and taste.
  • Add salt, pepper to taste
  • At this point if you haven’t added hot peppers fresh, canned dried red hot ground peppers to taste.
  • Serve with rice.  Serves about 6.


  1. The syrup is actually very good. I suppose you have to go without maple syrup for a while in order to fully appreciate it but it was always welcome in my family from when I was growing up to when my son was growing up. My mother made it as well.

  2. The best place to chop ground nut soup of course is in a ‘chop bar’ – which in Ghana often have colourful names – one of my favourites being “never mind your wife chop bar” the place to go when your woman has fed your dinner to the dog!

    “Chop” also features in two of my favourite Ghanaian proverbs – written on the headboards of ‘trotros’ (long distance buses): “One Man No Chop” which means if I am eating and you come around I can’t eat alone and have to share my food with you. Conversely you have “Chop Time No Friends” which means don’t come around everyday at dinner time.

    Finally – here’s a treat for you, currently a huge hit across West Africa – “Chop my Money” I’m sure you can work that out by now 🙂

Leave a Reply