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Kitchen Tour

Kanda ti Nyma

The Central African Republic is pretty much the poorest country in the world. Average income of little over US$1 a day, average life expectancy of 52, second last on the human development index, endless civil war and high crime rates. Researching this country to try and cook a meal was quite sobering.

I also learnt some new things food wise, peanuts are called groundnuts in Africa and in an attempt to be as authentic as possible I learnt how to make my own peanut butter from a bag of peanuts.

Kanda is a meat ball and comes in two forms in the Central African Republic. As meat is limited and expensive the meat ball mix is fortified with seeds or nuts to pad it out. Usually pumpkin seeds or groundnuts. I used groundnuts for this. Then cooked in a peanut and okra sauce served with rice or Fufu (cassava pudding).

The result is a really nice dish. The people of the Central African Republic might be poor but they make the most of what they have and Kas commented last night that she was enjoying meals from the poorer African much more than that of the other richer countries.

Kanda ti Nyma was a winner.

Next Up: Chad

Kitchen World Tour day 31.

Main: Pastel Com Diablo Dentro (Pasty with Devil Inside) with Jagacida and Salad

Dessert: Fidjós

This meal was almost a disaster. The Pastel batter is a mix of sweet potato and corn flour (not cornstarch, corn flour is masa or maize flour or fine polenta). The dough was really hard to work with and kept falling apart. I ended up using a little wheat flour in the mix to give it some stiffness and dinner worked out, it was just served a little late.

The dough is stuffed with a mix of spicy fresh tuna (the devil inside) and then pan fried till they are crispy. Ended up making way too many but they were all gone by morning. The dish was accompanied by Jagacida, sometimes known as Jag.

Fidjós are banana fritters also fried and dipped in cinnamon. Delish.

Was a hard meal to research and put together but ended up great. Instead of Pastel Com Diablo Dentro, I’m sharing the Pastel de Milho (Chicken) recipe which provides excellent instructions for the pastry process.

Next Up: Central African Republic

Main: Maple glazed chicken wings accompanied by a blue cheese sauce, with Poutine.

Dessert: Maple pancakes with blueberries and crispy bacon.

Canada was quite a challenge. Decided to go with the Canadian unofficial national dish Poutine, chips, cheese curds and gravy.

Got up early to make the curds. To make curds you need unhomogenised milk and an acid like lemon juice, vinegar or a rennet. Heat the milk to close to 95 degrees Celsius, drop in the acid and you have curds, which are actually the first step in making any cheese.

The gravy was also a challenge. If you read recipes online some people say use an instant gravy. I believe a gravy is a thing that takes time and instant gravy is not thing that should exist. The gravy for this was made by caramelising some onions and garlic, adding fresh rosemary, mushrooms and thyme. Add some Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, and cook it down for a few hours. Then you can thicken it with butter and flour at the end.

Blueberry Bacon Pancakes. Every mouthful satisfies, while somehow making you feel that it is so very wrong (bacon + sugar). The Maple Chicken Wings with a Blue Cheese Sauce were devine.

All in all this was a sensational meal but if I ate like this regularly I would already have passed onto the next life.

Next up: Cape Verde

Kati Kati and Jollof Rice

So this is my first go at Jollof Rice. Most west African countries claim to be the origin of Jollof which has in recent years sparked what has been called the Jollof Wars.

I am going to have to try some other countries’ Jollof to get a sense of what all the fuss is about.

Kati Kati African Grilled Chicken

Cameroonian Jollof Rice

Next up: Canada

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