208 - Turning up the Heat at B's Place African Cuisine
By Mary Luz Mejia
When the Food Network Canada’s Christine Cushing went looking for a local cook to prepare West African food on her show, she naturally called up Esther Adeslu of B’s Place African Cuisine. Esther and her husband Bank run this family-friendly eatery where folks in the know gather for her popular Jollof rice dish and soups of every kind, including the authentically African Egusi soup.
Jollof rice is well-known all over West Africa and is often the dish of choice to celebrate the holidays, be it Christmas, Ramadan or Easter. Many say that southern American Jambalaya is an adaptation of the traditional Jollof, which B’s Place prepares with a tomato based sauce, onions, and hot fried peppers. Esther serves it with a side of fried white fish, beef or goat. A heaping mound of the characteristically red-hued rice served up with your choice of protein, some fried plantain and a salad, and you’ve got a full meal that will stick to your ribs.
For those looking for a more adventurous African culinary representation, Esther makes a solid Egusi soup. Egusi are wild African melon seeds that are ground and added to the soup, both to give it a nutty flavour and to thicken the broth. Esther’s base is then given a wallop of protein with dried shrimp, mackerel, minced pieces of beef, goat, tripe and, yep, even a piece of cow foot. It may sound a little odd to the uninitiated, but our host PJ, who was suffering from a nasty summer cold, asked for it “very spicy hot” and got a blast of scoville that he says helped burn the cold out of him. So if you’re feeling flu-ish, sluggish or just need a spicy pick-you-up, Esther’s Egusi soup might just be the ticket
B's Place African Cuisine
2133 Jane St # 1
Toronto, ON, Canada
photo credits: Mary Luz Mejia