Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tasty Tourism Series: Flavors of Africa, Part II

As promised in Part I, here are some more delicious dishes from various parts of Africa.

Since bananas are a major 'cash crop' in many African countries, they are featured in many recipes one wouldn't expect to find them in. For instance, here's a seafood stew from Senegal:

Senegal Seafood Stew (say that five times fast!)
Onions, 4 cups chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves minced
2 unripe green bananas sliced in ½” rounds
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Vegetable broth, 2 tbsp
Cayenne pepper, ½ tsp
2 potatoes, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
¼ tsp thyme or other summer savory spice
Cabbage, 2 cups chopped
Fresh parsley, 1 cup chopped
Canned tomatoes, 3 cups chopped with juice
1 pound orange roughy, cut in pieces
1 pound shelled, deveined shrimp
3 cups water or vegetable broth

First, soak the sliced bananas in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Saute the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent. Then, stir in thyme and cayenne pepper and saute for a bit longer. Add cabbage, parsley, potatoes, sweet potatoes tomatoes and broth. Simmer stew for 15 minutes before adding the bananas, fish and shrimp. Then, simmer an additional 10 minutes or until the shrimp are pink in color and the fish is opaque. Serve over steamed rice.

You might not think so, but green bananas are actually very healthy because they haven't lost any of their nutrients to the ripening process. Also, they don't have a very strong 'banana-y' flavor. For another interesting use for bananas, here's a recipe from Kenya.

Green Banana Fries
5 small green (unripened) bananas
1 quart of oil for frying (amount can be adjusted according to need)
Salt to taste

Using a knife, peel the bananas and cut into long thin wedges or strings. In a heavy skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°F. Fry in oil for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, salt and serve.

And for a nice 'dessert drink', here's a recipe for South African peppermint liqueur:

2 ½ cups brandy
3 cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
3 drops peppermint oil
3 drops green or red food coloring.

Bring water to a boil and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Once a thick syrup is formed, add the peppermint oil and food coloring. Let it cool slightly before you stir in the brandy; otherwise, the alcohol may evaporate. You can serve it as is, but it can also make a festive holiday gift.

I'm thinking this might be good to use in the chocolate fondue recipe in the previous post. Either that, or a good addition to an after-dinner coffee.
As much as I'd love to give you more awesome recipes from the continent of Africa, there simply isn't enough time in the day (or room on my hard drive) to go through them all. Between the 50+ independent countries and thousands of ethnic groups that call Africa 'home', I think there is at least one recipe that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.

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