Raw “Tacos,” or the Nigerian

This past weekend I made some raw tacos, but I don’t wanna call them that. So I figure, why not just call it the “Nigerian“? Or the “Nigerian Sandwich“? Culture is invented every day. And I have both a Nigerian and a US passport (despite the fact that I was born, raised and spent 99% of my life in New Jersey and New York City). Since this particular style is original (there are other raw “tacos” but none are exactly like these) and a dual citizen (or at least dual passport holder) made them (who can legally claim Nigerianity or Nigeriosity by parentage alone), why not? Why not call this one for the whole Nigerian world? If one Nigerian can invent and enjoy a raw vegan so-called taco or burrito, all Nigerians can. Nigeria is not a static and rigid and ultra-conservative society of maddening corruption and sickeningly needless, manmade underdevelopment, where vegetarians are unheard of. It also includes, at least in theory since I do have a Nigerian passport, wild ubuntuist atheist anarcho-syndicalist raw-vegan pro-black gentlemen like me that ride bikes, write books and do kettlebells. And as of today, it also includes raw vegan tacos. We all know about Jolof rice, named after a whole ethnic group – the Wolof people – in Senegal. Now we have something even bigger – “the Nigerian.”

Also, the “Raw Okra Stew” I’ve talked about earlier? Forget that name. I am now calling it “the Green Garvey.” Copyright the Precision Afrikan 2010, if necessary. Wait, no, “Creative” Copyright (CC), right? And it’s all 100% open-source. See? Nigeria isn’t all about the lack of government transparency.

And to the thought police goblins, don’t get your undergarments all in a wedgie over this, claiming iconoclasm or unpatrioticness – I’m just trying to rebrand Nigeria like Dora Akunyili.

New traditions, baby, new traditions, all day. Pro-human, pro-planet, art, music, poetry and literature from sun-up to sun-down. Wanna enjoy the new world, the new Pan-African, Pan-American, Virgo Supercluster vision of celebrations and saxophone horns that can be heard, yes indeed, in the vacuum of space (well at least in low-Earth orbit)? Then you must become mighty healthy. The Nigerian will help you on that path.

The ingredients are:

A) The taco build –

Big leaves of collards

A nice big red cabbage

Carrots

Okra!!!!

Snow peas

Zucchini

Tomatoes

And any other damn vegetable thing you like. Cukes, avos, sprouts, bell pepper, whatever.

B) The sauce, blended in a blender

Tomatoes – like five or six plum tomatoes in my case

An onion

Fresh basil

Fresh cilantro

An habañero pepper, aka “heat rock”

And whatever else you’d like, don’t be dogmatic – read beyond the letter of the script.

So what do you do? You blend your sauce. You could use a bicycle blender to save electricity. I don’t have one of those yet. But that’s the most basic step. Then, with a bowl of that sauce handy, and after you’ve washed all your veggies, you build your tac– erm, Nigerians.

How’s that go? I start with a big, massive leaf of a collard. Open that up and spread some of the sauce on it. Then, peel off a nice thick purple leaf of the red cabbage for the second leaf which forms the inner “bun.” Spread a spoon of your sauce on top of this, too. Then, you add your veggies. Now I sliced the zucchinis into thin pasta strips with my trusty julienne slicer, and peeled my carrots into wafer-thin strips with my reliable vegetable peeler. On all the tacos, after laying down the buns, the first joints I drop in there are a handful of zucchini strips. Then come the snow peas, a few okras (lob off the tips of those), the carrot slices, and finally a few tomatoes. And last, I dribble some more sauce across the top. And then I repeat, making enough of these to exhaust my supplies and satisfy my hunger. Other than fruits, it was my main “supper” the whole weekend.

Extremely satisfactory and delicious, and very filling. At least to me. And my taste-buds aren’t that unusual. The minions of anti-veganism may fear the “blandness” of plants. As the great DJ Dirty Harry (Rockers) once said, Remove Ya! I and I come and change the mood! Get into this real food.

Try it out. Let this crazy rasta know what you think.

And now, the porn (Nigerian porn):

These joints look like Nigeria though, right? Especially if you’ve ever been down to my area, the Niger Delta. Greenness everywhere. I’m not that far off.

New traditions, baby, new traditions, all day. Global citizens of hip-hop veganism and reggae revolution topped with ragas can now relish the Nigerian.

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6 responses to “Raw “Tacos,” or the Nigerian

  1. revolutionaryandjoyful

    I love your boldness in regards to creating new traditions when the old ones don’t work for us anymore.

    I didn’t know that your ancestry was from the Niger Delta. The oil situation there demands an anti-capitalist, people over profits mindset more than almost any place in the world.

  2. crunchy & chic

    I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical with the idea, but those pictures have me SOLD! When next I do my grocery shopping, I’m definitely going to buy ingredients to make a this.

    I’m a bit torn about the name, though. I understand your intent behind it, but I’m reminded of the practice (at least in the States) to use the names of entire ethnicities/nations of people for inanimate objects—I suppose as proof of their colonized, subjugated, or otherwise marginalized status (see Apache, Cherokee, and Comanche)

    Interestingly enough, on this Wikipedia page of food names after people, the majority are named after (European) individuals, rather than regions or tribes/nations.

    • This whole blog post is half recipe and half satire about Nigeria. That’s why I threw in the Dora Akunyili ref – as if you could “rebrand” a whole country so that the outside world views it in a more positive light, when none of the corrupt practices which render it so infamous are seriously addressed or reformed. So I was just imagining a “Nigeria” whose brand was about something like raw vegan tacos, or any number of random and interesting things, and not the sorts of cultural and political rigidities that would disallow visionary thinking and culture jamming. So I’m just having fun here, and not trying to insult Nigerians, although I can hardly take the idea of Nigeria seriously, and tend not to even find myself able to recognize it as a nation. The origin of the word Nigeria has creation myths ranging from the wife of a British colonial governor’s whim, to the collapsing of the phrase “Nigger area.” Like the idea of the “USA” or any other nation-state with artificial borders, internal oppression and external aggression, I don’t respect the idea of “Nigeria” and its odious practices at the level of government and public policy. I think folks should play with the “Nigeria” idea as much as possible. I don’t think it’s like naming things after oppressed nations, since the word Nigeria refers to none of its ethnic groups, nor do many if not most Nigerians invest much faith in the idea of Nigeria itself. There’s a dance named after the city of Charleston, SC, and there are French fries. But in any case, the satirical aspect of this recipe presentation is in jest, and I hope folks don’t take it too seriously and miss the point (or try the dish)!

      • crunchy & chic

        This whole blog post is half recipe and half satire about Nigeria.[…] I don’t think it’s like naming things after oppressed nations, since the word Nigeria refers to none of its ethnic groups, nor do many if not most Nigerians invest much faith in the idea of Nigeria itself.

        My use of “I’m reminded of the practice…” (rather than saying “you are perpetuating the practice…”) reflects the fact that I did not believe you were behaving in the same vein. Though I suppose a satirical post about food is not the appropriate place to discuss the politics of naming conventions…

  3. Food is oh so political, my sista! 😉

  4. very “unafrican”. I wonder what it would taste like.

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