Bole or boli, is a popular name for roasted plantain. A local food very common among the people of South-South, especially people from Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Edo states.
In places like Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital and Bayelsa State, it is a street snack and often served with pepper sauce, roasted fish, with yam or potato by the side.
In some places, bole is served with roasted chicken and a special sauce.
There is always an argument on who, between Rivers and their sister state, Bayelsa, prepares this local dish and popular snack better.
Because of how the food is cherished among the South-South people, the region has a Bole Festival. It is believed to be the biggest food festival in the region.
Bole festival is a food-meet-fun event that is held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. It seeks to promote and display the rich and unique preparations of roasted indigenous delicacies in order to promote tourism, attract food lovers from across the world.
Bole is a must as lunch for many people in the South-South and an escape plan for dinner among some.
It appears there is something special with bole sauce prepared by street sellers – the professional roasters. This is because homemade sauce hardly meets up to the sauce prepared by street roasters.
In the western and some other parts of the country, roasted plantain is usually enjoyed with roasted groundnut compared to the Port Harcourt bole, which is served with a specially prepared sauce made of pepper, salt, onions, red oil and seasonings.
Like the South-South, many Nigerians enjoy bole because of the protein that usually accompanies it, well seasoned roasted fish, chicken and ‘pomo’.
I suggest you pick either the head of the fish or the tail. That’s the best satisfying combo.
During conversation with some bole experts, I discovered some inherited the business from their mothers and have to carry on the legacy while some learnt it.
How to make bole according to an expert:
1. Get ripped plantain, wash, then make a slit on the sides and peel off the coat.
2. Preheat your oven grill at 170ºC until hot.
3. Rub a little salt on the plantains and then place the peeled plantains on the grill rack and transfer into the hot oven.
4. Turn the plantains over from time to time, so that the other sides can roast evenly.
Depending on how ripe the plantains are, this process could take about 15 minutes (more or less)
The bole/boli is ready when all sides are properly roasted.
Fish to accompany it: For the grilled fish, most of the sellers make do with Titus and other forms of fish but for homemade you can decide on the type of fish you would love to use; preferably I will suggest Titus.
1.Wash the fish removing all the dirts in it
2.Prepare dry pepper with a maggi cube, salt, ginger powder and garlic powder.
3.Add a small quantity of water to the mixed dry pepper with salt and other ingredients then coat your washed fish with it and allow it to marinate for a few minutes before grilling. While grilling the fish the sauce should also be frying.
Bole sauce preparation: For bole sauce, heat the palm oil in a pot and add chopped onions. Fry for some minutes then add the blended pepper. Add salt to taste and Maggi to taste. Fry and stir till desired result is achieved.
Remember to add Utazi leaf. It is a vegetable leaf most people like to eat their bole with. It has great health benefits as a source of great detox and deworming.
Bole is most enjoyed when served hot along with pepper sauce, grilled fish or roasted and a bottle of chilled beverage. And for no soda gang, chilled water helps the combo.
When next you make a trip down to the South-South remember to find a bole joint and have a plate of goodness.
Although bole has become a widespread street food in other parts of the country, Port Harcourt and Bayelsa’s bole continue to take the ancestral credit.
Meanwhile, tell us which state prepares bole better in Nigeria.