Easter is a period that people often look forward to with so much joy and planning. For Christians around the world, Easter symbolizes the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion. The oldest Christian-claimed holiday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance, followed by a 50-day Easter season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost.
Easter is now filled with local traditions that are both religious and secular. For Christians, ahead of Christ’s resurrection is Good Friday, which marks his crucifixion and the sacrifice of his life for the betterment of all. And in Lagos’ Brazilian quarter in Nigeria, Good Friday equals frejon.
It is their traditional Easter meal made with beans and coconut milk. Traditionally eaten on Good Fridays, frejon is a coconut bean pudding that goes mostly with toasted garri and fish stew.
Frejon was invented by enslaved West Africans who were taken to Brazil. History says that Brazil’s sugar economy expanded explosively at the time thanks to forced labor. Brazilian slaves produced not only sugar, but corn, grains, and livestock while also digging gold from inland mines and manning the docks of Brazilian ports.
Today, there is a large Afro-Brazilian population living in the country. However, some Brazilians of West African origin came back to Nigeria after slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888. Many of them, called Agudas, settled on Lagos Island, now known as the city’s Brazilian quarter, according to Atlas Obscura. They brought with them the super delicious Easter recipe, frejon.
Here’s how to prepare the unique Good Friday cuisine, according to Allure Vanguard.
- Coconut milk
- Sugar (optional)
- Fish (any fish of choice)
- Vegetable oil
- Bell pepper
- Scotch pepper
- Seasoning cubes
- Salt to taste
- In a big pot, wash beans and boil (without salt) until it softens. Leave to cool.
- Transfer the beans into a food blender, add some coconut milk to it and blend.
- Transfer the mixture into the pot, add sugar and let it boil for about 5 minutes to thicken a bit.
Method for cooking the fish sauce
- In a pan, heat up some vegetable oil on minimum heat.
- Add chopped onion, pepper, tomatoes and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Cook the fish for about 5 minutes, leave to cool and then mash it.
- Add the mashed fish to the content in the pan, add salt and seasoning (to taste). Fry for about 5 minutes.
Fish sauce is ready.
Serve Frejon with the fish sauce and sprinkle Garri on it.