Feshelu – A Nigerian Boarding House Staple


I am certain I have mentioned several times that I am a “Federal girl”, I went to a federal girl’s college in Nigeria and I graduated in 2003. My high school experience is one I cherish a whole lot and I would do it again, yes!! Punishment, slavery and all.

In my school, we were allowed provisions and more often in my suitcase I had; garri, sardines, salt, and chilli amongst other things. We were very creative in those days, we made eba from cold water, we cooked indomie in cold water, we made sauces from oil and geisha, we made cake from garri, milk and sugar and most importantly, we made FESHELU.

Feshelu is a combination of garri, chilli pepper, sardine oil (Titus preferably), salt and sardine fish.

Some weeks back, I had a serious nostalgic feeling and I decided to eat feshelu for supper. Feshelu is a concoction of Garri, sardines, salt and chilli powder. I don’t expect that anyone would actually try this recipe, but I will share it anyway.


1/2 cup dried garri

1 table spoons of water

A pinch of salt

1 tin Titus sardine

Chilli powder


In large bowl, combine the garri, 1 table spoons of water and about 1 table spoon of sardines’ oil. Mix until the garri is soft and fluffy.  Break a couple of sardines into the garri mix, finish with salt and pepper.


For those who went to boarding school, what concoctions did you come up with? PLEASE SHARE…

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Lose It Nigerian

By |September 5th, 2012|73 Comments


  1. Chidi July 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    I loved the cabin and butter, I still do it?i would exchange my other provs for a pack of cabin. Just that I don’t readily see cabin in the uk, so I use rich tea biscuit. Funny right?

  2. Temmie April 10, 2014 at 7:07 am - Reply

    I can so remember doing all of dis things , my best aside from d garri cake was d toasted bread whereby you iron a loaf of bread with butter and milo n milk. Good memories

  3. Anonymous January 14, 2014 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Woooooow, this is serious o. Remembering my boarding house days @ IEC

  4. Solape January 13, 2014 at 3:32 am - Reply

    D comments are so hilarious, I’m also a federal girl and what we did dn was cook rice wt boiling ring add butter, pepper, salt and maggi all contrabands. We also prepare eba wt gbegiri, we get the watery beans from the dinning and convert it to gbegirir. Heaven on earth. Enjoy.

  5. favor January 4, 2014 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Reading this is too funny. I went to eva adelaja girls. I remember the garri cake for every birthday (my favorite), every sat we eats eko and stew, but instead of the stew, we make tampioca- break eko into pieces,with milk and sugar and ready to go; we make cold noodles, soak it and add spices; we drnk water from well wen there is no water (omi knoga), we did d cabin biscuit, chocomilo, feshalu and eat with stew, we wash plates with soap and water without sponge, we fight for ori eja in every meal.. good ole days with cutting grass, slavery, punishment..

  6. Abby November 7, 2013 at 6:47 am - Reply

    I love your creativity and all the federal govt girls college talks. I am alumni myself. Love love what you are doing here and your tips on dieting with nigerian food is excellent. Most people think dieting means cutting off nigerian food but i feel our food is great because we cook from the scratch with no preservatives. Love your work.

  7. Tiki September 4, 2013 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Well I did not go to school in Nigeria (went to school in Cameroon) but it’s crazy how similar boarding school antics are! We def had the garri and sardine thing (called it ‘bash piakata’ lol) where we’d mix garri set in cold water and crumbled, with sardines, pepper, maggi. Curry and ketchup optional :). We did the whole” cabin biscuit in milk thing, and cooked by perforating empty peak milk tins with knives and then placing a candle in the tin, and an aluminium plate on the tin (or cookie tin, who remembers those blue ones?). We got to boil spaghetti and rice (using 4 or 5 candles donated by all dorm members lol, and cook stew and even fry eggs! Hardened Ovaltine was the ish, that thing could keep you going on a hot sweltering afternoon listening to boring teachers! We never ironed bread, but man o man that sounds like it could have been delicious! Especially with those boiled eggs from the school canteen…*sigh* Those were the days man!

  8. oluyinka 79 January 21, 2013 at 5:21 am - Reply

    Hmm! so nice! i didn’t go to a Federal boarding School, I attended a girls only Government College in Lagos. I remember my JSS 3 days,we were really GROSS back then!! We had a big tree at the extreme end of our field with bushes around it to shield us when carrying out our naughty antics,lol. We brought old pots n stuffs from home n hid them on the tree to cook, using firewood for fuel. When we were writing our Jss 3 exams, we took to cooking lunch for ourselves each time we didn’t have afternoon papers. Oh! it was such fun sleeping under the tree with our tummies full! Alas! our tree was later cut down but by then we had decided to behave like seniors in SSS class, lolz.

  9. chefiretidayo November 27, 2012 at 9:01 am - Reply

    I also used to make biscuits into cerelac.I would break the biscuits into 2,rub the cut edges together so that it would become fine powder,mix in some milk and sugar.Delish

  10. Chef Iretidayo November 27, 2012 at 8:55 am - Reply

    In my sec school,the only thing I remembered trying was eko and milk with a generous amount of sugar,and I loved it.However,in my primary school,Mayflower(barely survived for 1 year before I was taken out) we used to make indomine with cold water and garri cake too.I have heard of some people using toothpaste to decorate it.onto some dangerous levels,I used to paint my okin biscuits with pencil lead,for some strange reasons,it tasted delicious. Oh! and I heard that in one private university like that(I won’t mention names),they use electric kettles without the ring to cook balanced diet meals,as in rice and soup

  11. jemimah November 19, 2012 at 6:15 am - Reply

    OMG!!! Nostalgia in waves!!!! i also love my Sec. Sch experience, it was not easy to be a boarder mehn! esp those dry periods after exams when everyone is practically broke both in provisions and financially…lol…we’l v to contribute d ingredients for the food sef. Feshelu, EbaNGay(Eba and geysha mix wit some pepper for seasoning),Cabin flakes,Ironed bread (u slice d bread,butter it and put watever u want in it then butter d front and back,cover with paper and iron away!lmao!! if u dint have a white Binatone/Grey Philips iron u were dulling!!!-those irons were made for cooking not ironing) ,Indomie in cold water (we called it soaking) indomie biscuit(u breakup d indomie,put the spice in it and shake 2geda), concotion rice/spaghetti and chocobumbum….Good ol’ days

    • Serena X June 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Just stumbled on this and couldn’t resist adding “soak and travel” when you have very little garri, add water and leave it to rise so it would be filling…lol, after the garri is swollen, you add milk, sugar and whatever provisions you have left…after exams “owu”

  12. Tayo November 18, 2012 at 4:54 am - Reply

    our version was different, i schooled in the north, we called ours Garri Kodo. Garri, we add granulated kulikuli, onions, little g/oil, grounded dried pepper, salt, little water, if u like add tomatoes, mix everything together , oh la la, paradise.

  13. Name November 13, 2012 at 6:01 am - Reply

    I remember those sweet-bitter FEDECOL days, we soak indomie in cold water till it’s soft and then we sieve out the water and add the follow come spice. yummy!

  14. HEPHZIBAH October 31, 2012 at 6:49 am - Reply

    wow! what didnt we do in those days. i went to FGCL and we did the chocolate milo thingy too, but the way we did our fesh (short for feshelu) was a bit diffrent. we actually made EBA with the garri, and made soup with the sardine and spices. dat was our saturday nite meal. great recipes tho! stay blessed

  15. Dupsy October 5, 2012 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Hahahahahahahaha,as a fed babe too; i also concur wit Zino abt d chocolate stuff, we called it chocobombom. we did d ebaNgay recipe nd it called kwado. Wow d cabin flakes is stl one of my favourite junk food, d soaked indomie mixed wit sardine. wow gals, am jst thinkin of d gud old days; wasn’t gud back then sha! d bullyin, manual labours nd hunger strike,gush, can’t bliv i went thru all those. wow! talk abt d cake made wit grounded cabin biscuits, sugar, milo, water, milk nd blue band. hmmm…yummy.

  16. zino September 26, 2012 at 1:47 am - Reply

    looooolll!as a federal chic maself, i can remember doin almost all of d above.the most insane was d chocolate oe, we wld use a whole tin of milo, a feww drops of water and it would congeal into a small ball, then we would remove our florescent light covers dat had dese little’choco milo’ like boxes and fix d chocolate into d cubes.gosh!!!!!we were really jobless den.

  17. chictherapy September 19, 2012 at 7:08 am - Reply

    OMG, the comments are way too funny and I am reeling with laughter here.I went to boarding school in Lagos so it was pretty easy to have proper food smuggled in by day students but I totally did the soaking noodles in cold water thing…#memories.

  18. Fegi September 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    Lol memories! We made biscuit cake using cabin biscuit, milo and milk. We would break the biscuit into pieces and grind it smooth, then add milo for coloring, put in a bit of milk and water. Then mold into a dough and leave out in the sun to bake. Viola you got the cake! It was yummy!

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 13, 2012 at 6:29 am - Reply

      you baked it in the sun? OMG

    • Anonymous April 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      We are creative in Naija o. we used the sun to bake and we established this at a very young age. E go better for naija truly

  19. Relentless Builder September 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    I heard of making noodles with boiling ring, but some of the other concoctions I have read here, I have never seen before o. It’s a wonder some kids didn’t suffer from food poisoning.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 13, 2012 at 6:30 am - Reply

      Hahhaha… we all had very high tolerance levels.

  20. fedibengal September 12, 2012 at 3:40 am - Reply

    Wow it seems things really progressed in Federal schools
    as we were not allowed most of these types of contraband. In my school, Benin in the 90’s, the most i can remember is soaking noodles in hot water taken from the kitchen, ironing bread with paper to make toast. I cannot really recall anyone cooking inn my house but heard rumors it happened inn other houses.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 13, 2012 at 6:33 am - Reply

      OMG.. Cooking was the ish in my SS3. we took the cooking stoves from our Home econ class to the hostel…. OMG… I even stole kerosine from the school mosque (Forgive me God)

      • Ade November 14, 2012 at 7:24 am - Reply

        Oh myyyyyyy, now that’s a CLASSIC 9jafoodie…..lol!!!!

  21. chioke September 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Girl that would be gourmet meal in my boarding school days. We just made the garri in cold water and open geisha can and viola…mealtime.

  22. Babs September 11, 2012 at 5:44 am - Reply

    So loving these old memories!!! LOL!!!

  23. fade September 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    OMG!!!9ja foodie…are you sure you didn’t go to my school???? ahn ahn. This was a staple meal in our ‘Hostels’ back then. The Indomie soaking, I didn’t like at first but got used to it later and cabin biscuit and butter…oh Lord! Loved it! we did the ogi flakes too in my school and we went a step further with garri by making garri cakes! …lol anyone ever heard of that?
    You mix garri with loads of milk (peak milk ofcourse…no cowbell here), few spoons of milo, sugar, mix till its ‘fluffy’…lol and u can even go wild by adding M&M’s or sweeties or whatever..I know it sounds gross but it was yum most times and we’d cut it on someone’s birthday like a proper birthday cake…
    who said Naija students weren’t creative eh 😉

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 13, 2012 at 6:38 am - Reply

      LOL…FADE! maybe I did.. lol. [email protected] cowbell.. peak milk was the stuff!

    • Ola October 29, 2012 at 6:07 am - Reply

      @Fade, was just about to say the same thing until I saw your comment i.e that I think foodie went to our school..lol
      But in our school or at least within my group of friends what foodie just described was called kwando (sp?) while feshelu was eba made with cold water, most often prepared by a friend whose last name rhymes with ‘cold’ lol!
      Wasn’t a fan of gari cake though, ogi flakes were much better with heaps of peak milk and sugar…mniam:)

  24. Mstizzle September 9, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Looolll, this brings back memories. Indomie (contraband lol) soaked in cold water. Horrible now but it worked then.

  25. Nollywood REinvented September 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Aaaah! I remember back then… we used to make our own chocolate. As in, we’d pour milo on a piece of paper (that was pre-wetted lol) and cover it with another pre wetted piece of paper and then iron the living daylight out of that thing until it congeals. Ah! Hershey’s cannot hold a torch to us jare

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 8, 2012 at 8:56 am - Reply

      lol… i find that very funny, Nikisho did that as well we never did in my school.

    • fluffycutething September 10, 2012 at 2:42 am - Reply

      What???? LMAO

  26. Myne Whitman September 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    I also had a fried gari alternative to soakis, the recipe is similar to this one. And I did the cabin flakes, curdled milo, etc LOL…

  27. The DNW September 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    *sighing* Eba and geisha. I hated the mere thought at first but grew to love this in my senior years. Cabin biscuits in milo? Heavenly. Milo left to harden in paper on top of your locker? Oh what joy this local chocolate gave me during afternoon prep! Some added milk, I preferred mine solo. Lol! Some licked just powdered milk. Yuck . Found that quite eugh. Remember the powdered tree top? Dunking Nice biscuits into that was fun too. My, my, thank you for bringing these memories back 9jafoodies. Oh, oh, there was also the sardine and planta butter mix we would smear over cabin biscuits and squeeze till those little ooodles of butter would pop through the holes in the biscuits. Lol! Just butterly delicious!

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      OMG….. THE CABIN BISCUIT AND BUTTER STUFF!!!!!!!! OMG!!! THAT WAS the ish!! ….. how we were so unafraid of weight gain and stuff then.

      • NikkiSho September 8, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

        i soooo remember the cabin biscuit and butter thing tooo…AAAAAH!!!

  28. tamie September 7, 2012 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Feddy girl all the way!
    We did ebangay well well but there was also ebansaa(here sardine-titus) was substituted.

    Iron was used to make sauce. How? Iron would be plugged,a flat aluminium plate placed ontop ,then add butter(which serves as groundnut oil),spices,pepper,crayfish if available,tin tomatoe if available. If dem CATCH you sha. It has bee on those involved.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      OMG… Iron for cooking??? waooo… that is creative!! lol.

  29. JB September 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    This post is so hilarious. Hey 9jafoodie, looks like you guys were really enjoying. Nikkisho, toasted bread? That is too much enjoyment now. You will tear the bread like that LOL

  30. Cake and Socks September 6, 2012 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I went an Federal school too. One of my favorite recipes was: “EbaNgay” short for “Eba + Geisha”. Boilers were contraband, but “lawbreakers” brought them anyway. We would boil hot water with the boiler and make eba, then make a Geisha concoction to resemble soup.

    In the Geisha soup we put geisha, palmoil, seasoning (salt + pepper + crayfish), and some girls brought mixed spices, we would add those.

    It was a pretty decent soup… but required many tins of geisha. It was definetly a “celebratory” meal usually eaten on the last day in school.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 7, 2012 at 9:19 am - Reply

      HAHHAHA…. THIS IS AWESOME!! we didn’t have lots of boilers, so we learnt to make eba with cold water. You add a little water at a time and mix until the eba is set. It wasn’t half bad. I never liked Geisha for some reason, I had always preferred Titus.

    • Nollywood REinvented September 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Ahah! That one na correct balanced diet… nothing remain for the soup now?

    • Natural Nigerian October 13, 2012 at 2:44 am - Reply

      Sounds like you went to my school.

    • Anonymous April 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      ah u r a fediben babe. Ebangay defo

  31. NikkiSho September 6, 2012 at 6:25 am - Reply

    I remember you told me before…and the name is funny to me.. “o feshelu- ayakata” haha #random. The one we made then was just with groundnut/palm oil, sugar and garri.
    There are so many things we did but i will write some
    1. when we wanted toasted bread we would “iron” our big loaf of bread, we would also iron milo and set it aside and when it is it becomes CHOCOMILO
    2. for garri cake like you mentioned…aah we would design ours with butter and smarties (“go-go”) as per icing now..lool. We did cabin flakes too like victor mentioned…let me stop..Thanks for taking me back…hahaha

    • e__victor
      e__victor September 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm - Reply

      we did the chocomilo thing too. It was like discovering fire 😀

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 7, 2012 at 9:16 am - Reply

      OMW! I cant get over the ironed milo… hahahha. We added some water to the tin of bounvita and left it out to set ( 3-4 weeks) at a time. Good times!!

  32. e__victor
    e__victor September 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Cabin flakes. i.e substituting cabin biscuit for corn flakes.

    – break biscuit into suitable pieces
    – add milk, [as required]
    – add milo,
    – add sugar,
    – knock yourself out

    It was celestial

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie September 7, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

      OMG….. You guys were not afraid of getting fat???

      • e__victor
        e__victor September 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm - Reply

        hahaha! the torture and scorching sun were weight stabilizers

    • Nollywood REinvented September 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm - Reply

      YES! YES!! YES!!! I was definitely all about this life… hahaha and some people started making ogi flakes too chei

      When hunger strikes, EVERYTHING is an option

      • 9jafoodie
        9jafoodie September 8, 2012 at 8:52 am - Reply

        ogi flakes? how did that work? cabin in ogi? hahahahha… the hustle is real

        • NikkiSho September 8, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

          i think its eko flakes (eko is from ogi…sebi?)…i used to do that too sha..break eko into small chunks and throw them in milk 🙂

    • Name September 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      It reminds me my bording school in Benin, Togo. We also eat Gari with sardine, water, or with milk, sugar, and ice.

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