Beef and pepper sauce

By Abi Adeboyejo Email:

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Beef and pepper sauceBeef and pepper sauce is a great way of replacing the usual red soup popular with people from Western Nigeria with a healthier beef sauce. You can make this as hot (or not) as you like. This is delicious with rice. You can also try it with spaghetti, yam or even noodles. Cook this and dazzle your friends when next they come for lunch. I cook it for my family after church on Sunday.

This recipe should serve four people with rice (or two people very hungry people) and takes about 40 minutes from start to finish.


•Two tablespoons soy sauce (optional)

•One teaspoons cornflour

•2cm ginger, peeled and sliced

•500g beef, with visible fat and bones removed, cut into bite-sized pieces (just pure beef)

•Two tablespoons vegetable oil

•Two garlic cloves, crushed

•Two red chillies (ata nla), deseeded and thinly sliced, plus extra to garnish

• One teaspoon crushed dried red pepper (not ground)

•One pinch curry powder

•One red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks

•One yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks (alternative green pepper)

•One onion, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish

Where to buy ingredients

You can get almost all the ingredients in your local market. Good supermarkets like Shoprite will stock soy sauce and corn flour but it is also worth looking out for them in big market stalls where tined foods are sold. Note that the corn flour can be substituted with baking flour but in my experience baking flour tends to become lumpy when used in this recipe.

You’ll still come across many yummy recipes on this site that will need cornflower and soy sauce so it won’t go to waste if you are able to buy them.


1. Put the soy sauce, half teaspoon of salt, corn flour and ginger in a bowl with one tablespoon of water and mix together. Soy sauce is salty so be careful when adding salt. If you chose not to use soy sauce you can use a beef stock cube instead

2. Add the beef and stir to coat well. Cover and leave to marinate in a cool place for 30 minutes.

3. Pour the oil in a non-stick frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chilli pepper (ata nla), crushed dried pepper  and curry powder and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the marinated beef (reserving the marinade) and stir-fry for five to seven minutes or until meat is cooked (it shouldn’t take too long because the meat is in small chunks). Remove and keep warm.

5. Add the peppers and onion to the frying pan and stir-fry for three minutes or until soft but not too soft, then return the beef and reserved marinade to the frying pan. Stir-fry briskly over a medium heat for one minute.

6. Season with plenty of black pepper (optional), scatter over the remaining onions and extra crushed dried pepper and serve hot with rice or other accompaniment of your choice.

Other tips

For even healthier options why not substitute the beef with chicken or fish?  Resist the temptation to add more oil than the two tablespoons for the recipe.

Make meat lovers happy by including some cow offal. Add tripe (shaki), heart, kidney or tongue to the meat. If including offal, ensure that they are first cooked thoroughly and separately before they are added at step 2.

Reduce the quantity of red chillies if you don’t want the sauce to be too hot. You can remove this ingredient completely if you can’t stomach hot food.