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Chicken in Peanut Sauce, Hot Curried Okra and Mashed Yuca

So I finally got my hands on some genuine Red Palm Oil. Red Palm Oil is an ingredient which is fundamental to the cuisine of West Africa. It is used in everything like olive oil is used in Italy.

It is bright red and has a really distinctive taste. It is made from cold crushing the red fruit of the African palm tree. It is quite different from the high trans fat white palm oil (or palm kernel oil). White palm oil is extracted from the high yield seed of the same plant and is not very healthy.
So in West African tradition the oil went into the whole meal, all 3 dishes.

The meal was very spicy as Equatorial Guinea likes to put Habanero chillies in everything. Very flavoursome but they are seriously hot. I have found putting the whole chilli into the dish with a small cut in the side is enough to impart the flavour and some heat without making it inedible and hot. Simply fish out and dispose the whole chilli before serving.

Africa is fast becoming a favourite as I learn more about its cooking. Next Up: Eritrea

Main: Lamb Stew and Koshari

Dessert: Om Ali

So Egypt marks the first quarter mark: 49 out of 196 countries.

The main was a bit blander than I expected. The stew is like a Morrocan Tagine but with a little less flavour. The Koshari which is the national dish is a mix of rice, lentils and pasta topped with a spicy tomato sauce and crispy onions.

The dessert was amazing. Om Ali is an Egyptian bread pudding which supposedly dates back to the middle of the 12th century.

According to folklore, this dessert pudding was named after the wife of a ruler from the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt. Her rival Shagaret El Dorr became the second wife. However, after his death, in a fit of pique over a dispute about whose son would succeed the Sultan, Shagaret El Dorr arranged for Om Ali to be murdered by bribing her maids. When Om Ali went to the hammam, she was beaten to death by her own handmaidens, allegedly with her own slippers!

Nastily, to celebrate the death of the poor woman, Shagaret requested her cooks to come up with the most delicious dessert they could create and distribute throughout Egypt. The chosen recipe became a national dish.

Tasted great but.

Next Up: El Salvador

Enchiladas Salvadorenas

Enchiladas from El Salvador are different to what you are used to. Served on a crispy flat tortilla, spicy achiote beef covered with lashings of curtido (a pickled cabbage salad) , mayonnaise, avocado, eggs and a spicy salsa. What’s not to like 🙂

Next Up: Equatorial Guinea

Carne Colorada, Llapingachos and Curtido

This dish was an absolute winner and has played a big role in starting to cement Annatto as one of my new favourite spices.

Carne Colorado was eye fillet marinated for 24 hours in Annatto and a bunch of other spices. This gives it a distinctive colour and flavour.

Llapingachos are cheese stuffed potato patties served with a spicy peanut sauce. The potato is also seasoned with Annatto giving it a yellowish colour.

Curtido is onion and tomato salsa. The onion is first salted and left for about half an hour. The salt pulls a lot of the moisture out of the onion and renders it in a softer half cooked state. Great way to treat onions.

This dish is an absolute winner.

Next Up: Egypt

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