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Mama Sinmi's Chop House is teeming with big flavors and a side of culture in Oklahoma City

The Food Dude visits Mama Sinmi's Chop House in Oklahoma City, where flavors are bigger than Africa and the culture is all about it.
by Dave Cathey Modified: April 17, 2013 at 11:29 am •  Published: April 17, 2013

Those dishes include egusi, which is derived from shelled gourd seeds mashed with palm oil, and broth. The texture is similar to hummus. Ijeoma mixes in fresh spinach leaves and as much Scotch bonnet pepper as you can handle.

The fufu menu also includes okra, which is served with spinach in a spicy tomato sauce with hot peppers, onion and palm oil.

Ogbono is similar to egusi but rather than gourd seeds, mango seeds are used. Efo is a sauteed spinach dish and spicy broth.

Mama Sinmi's also serves a variety of pepper soups, which feature braised meats and bold, earthy flavors.

For starters, Mama Sinmi's offers suya, which is beef marinated in a ginger-peanut mixture and grilled. Moin-moin is a dish that's similar to tamales, made with mashed beans rather than corn. Ijeoma Popoola also offers savory pastries filled with ground beef, potatoes and carrots. The menu also includes a variety of fried rice dishes for less adventurous diners.

Andrew Popoola's contributions to the menu are the beverages.

“We've got some bottled drinks imported from Africa, and I also make some mixed fruit drinks,” he said. “We've got cappuccino on the menu. It's not from Africa, I just make a killer cappuccino.”

If you like ginger, try a Vita Malt Ginger drink. Like so much of the flavors at Mama Sinmi's, there is no subtlety or bashfulness in these bottles. Malted drinks are preferred in West Africa over soda pop. Guinness even makes a nonalcoholic version of its stout in Nigeria called Malta Guinness.

Mama Sinmi's is called a Chop House not because they serve steaks but because “chop” is a generic term for food in Nigeria. You can get your chop on from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

The Popoolas warn you that West Africans like to commiserate, and aren't shy about striking up conversation with strangers.

“We are a little loud, and we like to have fun,” Andrew Popoola said.

My kind of people ... and they cook.