Amala, Gbegiri and Ewedu (Abula), is a major nutritious delicacy of the Yorubas, of Southwest Nigeria. This cuisine is a sight to behold to the eyes in cafeterias, restaurants and food stalls across the length and breadth of Nigeria. It has also transcended across the shores of Nigeria to other parts of the world, go to East London, Mazeez Kitchen, UK you won’t be disappointed. That means the delicacy has become part of the globalization of foods.
Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu soup is no doubt a mouth-watering meal whose peculiarity have paved ways for it to be on menu lists in restaurants and even in parties across shores especially wherever you find Yorubas in large numbers.
Before going further, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of Gbegiri soup which is the main attraction. It is made from mashed beans which is naturally low in fat contents and it is highly packed with antioxidants and fibre which brims with cholesterol-free protein, beans consumption indeed, is needed in our diets.
Ewedu soup, an amazing leafy vegetable complements the Gbegiri soup, to produce a fantastic and an irresistible taste for the eater’s buds.
The Ewedu recipe has some nutritional value like protecting the heart from diseases; it also helps in the regulation of high blood pressure; diabetes and cancer due to the high percentage of micro nutrients and vitamin A, C, and E that it packs. It also very low in calorie and is known to be an effective fat-burner while at the same time, it also good for a healthy eyesight, teeth and bones, while immunity and firm young-looking skin is guaranteed for its consumers.
No wonder our erstwhile HiTV boss name withheld took British Airways from London to Nigeria just to have a taste of Amala and Abula delicacy in one of the centres that spirals around Lagos.
In interview, Creekvibes kaleidoscope caught up with Alhaja Raliatu Oluwaloseyi’s Amala Cafeteria, at Baale Bus Stop, Egbeda, Lagos.
When Alhaja Raliatu Oluwaloseyi opened her Amala joint many years ago, little did she know that her children would follow her footsteps in this line of food-selling business. A mother of five children comprising four girls and a boy whom she introduced to the business regardless of gender.
Creekvibes authoritatively reveals that, her only son is into aluminium business too while the girls grew in line of what their mother taught them, and they are all successful in the food business (Amala) at different locations across Lagos.
After a delicious meal, we made enquiry into the world of Raliatu Oluwaloseyi and how she started her Amala adventure.
Alhaja Raliatu, is an extraction of Ake, Egbaland in Abeokuta and has been running her cafeteria for over 10 years and after her demise, her daughter, popularly known as Iya Lateef took over from her, over a decade she has been recording several successes in the business. She fielded few questions from Creekvibes Oluwadamilare Daniels.
Over the years juxtaposing between your Amala cafeteria and the home front, has there ever been any complaint from your husband that your expectations at the home front is dwindling?
Not at all, I started this business before I even got married to him. In fact, we met in this my cafeteria.
Like you took over from your mother, are your children under-studying the business?
Yes, they can prepare Amala perfectly and when it comes to Ewedu preparation, including Gbegiri they can walk shoulder tall.
Do you get orders for Amala and Ewedu during festivities, parties like wedding, funerals etc I mean “As e dey hot” in our local parlance?
Yes, several times, I’ve been called upon to supply Amala and I did amazingly well. It is my line of business so I am a professional at that.
How many Ogufe (Goat) do you butcher in a day?
On the average, we butcher two goats everyday with the exception of Sundays when we do not open for business activities.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic induced lockdown, how did you fare?
It was hectic, there was no movement getting to the shop was difficult but we were still dishing out Amala. People must eat and it is our own job to process the food for the general public. So you see, we too are essential workers like Doctors, Nurses and journalists.
Now that another lockdown is imminent, what is your take on this?
We don’t know what the second lockdown will bring, our only solace is in God, He will see us through.
How do you manage to break-even, we noticed a chunk of Ogufe meat goes for N400?
I normally go to purchase the Ogufe specie of goat myself at AlabaRago area of Lagos and I wouldn’t want to make life difficult for others besides my cafeteria is a bit hidden, the little gain I realise is enough for me, initially a chunk goes for N300 but due to market forces, we were forced to sell for N400 in recent times.
What do you want people to know about your Amala cafeteria?
They should patronise me, my food is cheap, one wrap of Amala goes for #50 compared to what is obtainable elsewhere. We may increase soonest because Amala powder known as ‘Elubu’s price has also gone up.
How was growing up like?
I grew up in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Did you have any elementary education and if so, what is the name(s) of schools that you went to?
Baagbo Anglican Primary School, around Odeda towards Olodo, in Ogun State.
How do you relax and do you drink?
Obviously, all I do is to take a pain relieving drug at home and catch some good sleep after that, I would be rejuvenated and back to normal hustle.
Who is your favourite music artist?
OsupaSaheed, WasiuAlabiPasuma, KI De Ultimate and SikiruAyinde Barrister, I like them all.
What were those funny things you do while you were young that when you remember you sigh and laugh?
While I was in school, I was a very good athlete; I represented my school on few occasions and I won medals which warranted people saying ‘OmoIyaAmala yen, O unsa re gan’ meaning Amala vendor woman’s daughter can run very fast. So, whenever I remember I just laugh.
How many workers do you have serving with you as an employer of labour?
I have many staff in this cafeteria and we all work together as one family. In fact, whenever they have ceremonies or I have events, we pick AsoEbi as one family
And support one another morally, spiritually and financially for the success of whichever occasion we attend.
Would you encourage the youths to ones to follow in this line of food preparation especially educated to go into this kind of business?
Why not? This is an honest labour instead of going into crime that abounds now.
In this business like any other honest ventures, it is very much profitable if they put efforts and are serious with the business, they would surely succeed instead of waiting for non-existing jobs and getting tempted to become societal nuisance. Thank you.
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