Frejon! The Good Friday Delicacy we all waited patiently for as kids. One will think after all these years that the excitement would have faded. Not at all. I woke up asking my mum if we were not cooking Frejon! I did not like her initial response. – “No Beans!” Well, I am sure they still have some Frejon beans in the markets I thought to myself. I must eat Frejon!
I hurriedly freshened up and off to Bodija market with my childhood family friend and mum’s assistant. We brushed the entire Bodija market and many did not know the type of beans we were in search of. After about 30 minutes walking in the hot sun, with my water bottle in hand, we finally found a lady who knew the ONE woman that sells it! Well, she did not have Frejon beans! Seeing the disappointed me, she tried calling her supplier on my behalf, and no, he did not have! Haba! What has happened to Frejon beans?
I had to make an S.O.S call to my mum’s friend of over 75 years, my Godmother – Professor Aderounmu since I was in the neck of her woods to see if she was preparing Frejon! Aunty Fadeke is too old to go through the trouble of Frejon! Sad news! She said if she knew I would be interested, she would have cooked some. I asked if aunty Laitan, the third musketeer would be making some, and no, she was not either. She has not in years aunty sadly told me. Aunty Laitan used to make a huge pot big enough for the entire town 🙂 but age has crept on them all.
What do I do aunty? She is never lost for ideas.
We returned home, and the Frejon process began.
What is Frejon? It is a coconut bean soup eaten mostly during the Holy Week, but more on Good Friday mostly by Catholics around the world. As my mum explained, it is part of her Brazilian heritage – Nigerians, especially Yorubas that were lucky to return home from Brazil at the abolition of the slave trade, and settled in what was known as the “Brazilian Quarters” in Lagos Island continued the tradition.
Growing up, Frejon was cooked slowly overnight over a wood or charcoal fire. It is made with black beans and then mixed with coconut milk to form a thick , sweet and smooth pudding. My mum adds spices like cinnamon, fennel seeds, bay leaves and you just can’t help but salivate while it is still in the works! It is served with fish stew and fine garri (optional).
Well, I enjoyed my Frejon and yes, I was a bit selfish with sharing 🙂
If you are nice, I still have some left and can post to you!
Happy Easter in Advance, and Frejon or no Frejon, remember Christ is the reason for this season. He gave Himself for our Salvation!
Much love from the Birogs Crew.