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Recipes from Africa

These are recipes from Chad, where Sonia and I served for over 12 years.  We are researching recipes for the DR Congo and will post them once we find them.
Follow this link to find a GREAT African cookbook website
Chad has several geographical zones reflected in the diet like this: in the South, the diet is dominated by roots and tubers ( cassava, sweet potato, yam) and by white sorghum; in the Central South, the diet is based on sorghum ( red and white) and on rice; in the Central part, the diet is based on sorghum ( red and white) and millet; in the North the diet is based on millet and dates. Boule is a main staple made from millet and water. As a complement to the different sorghums and roots and tubers, which serve to prepare the staple paste, a sauce with vegetables, meat or fish is served. Cattle or camel rearing also dominates the country.
Fish abound in Chad's lakes and rivers. The most common fish is the Nile perch, called capitaine in Chad. Other fish include eel, tilapia and carp. Balbout (a mud-dwelling catfish) is caught at the beginning of the rainy season. Fish may be dried, salted or smoked before they are sold. Salanga (small dried or salted fish) and banda (larger smoked fish) are popular among Chadians and are exported to Cameroon and Nigeria.
Peanuts are a popular snack and are eaten raw or roasted. Other snacks include corn (roasted or boiled) and fangasou (fried doughnuts made of millet or wheat flour). Fangasou are also popular for breakfast. In some places, skewered roasted meats in a hot, spicy sauce are sold on the streets, accompanied by French bread. Carcaje is a sweet drink made from hibiscus leaves. It is often sold in markets in small plastic bags.  Okra is very popular in Chad and is used as the base of a sauce called gumbo.
The evening meal is the most important meal of the day. It is served on a large plate set in the middle of a mat. People gather around the plate and seat themselves on the ground. Generally, men and women eat separately.
In the south, however, people enjoy beer brewed from millet. It is called billi-billi when it is made from red millet and coshate when it is made from white millet. Spirits made from distilled millet alcohol are known as arki. Gala beer is also manufactured in Chad.Kwanzaa is a special dish in Chad, eaten during the holidays.
Kwanzaa (Summer Squash/Zucchini and Peanuts)  (Side Dish)
2 1/2 pounds to 3 pounds summer squash or
1 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fat
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Wash squash; cut off stems.
2. Cook in small amount of boiling salted water until tender.
3. Drain; mash. Add peanuts, fat and sugar.
4. Simmer until heated; serve hot 

Sweet Potato Salad  (Side Dish)
4 large sweet potatoes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Lemon juice
Peanut oil
2 to 3 medium tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
1. Boil sweet potatoes in their skins until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Cool, peel and slice. Add chopped onion, sprinkle liberally with lemon juice and oil, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Garnish with tomato slices. Chill. 

Squash with Peanuts  (Side Dish)
1 cup roasted peanuts, shelled
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 to 2 1/2 cups cooked squash
White or brown sugar
1. Chop shelled roasted peanuts coarsely in a blender with a coarse blade.
2. Add squash to oil and salt to taste.
3. Heat slowly for about 15 minutes. Serve hot topped with white or brown sugar. 

Zucchini with Peanuts  (Side Dish)
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, sliced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 cups peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1. Simmer zucchini in very little boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes until they are tender. Drain well and put them into a bowl.
2. Add garlic, lemon juice, margarine, salt and pepper and mash all ingredients with a fork. Add more lemon juice if required. Spoon the mash into a bowl and scatter the toasted hot peanuts on top before serving with millet or rice.
The recipes below are found on the website "Virtual Chad" where you will find more information on Chad.
This refreshing drink can be made entirely from plants grown in Chad.  With the heat as strong as it is here, karkanji satisfies thirst at little cost.  This is also used as a product of many a home-based business, and sold at the edge of a school, business or sporting event by the glassful.  Some say it is good for colds, runny noses and flu symptoms.
1 large handful (about 1 1/2 cups) of whole hibiscus flowers (available at most health food stores in Western countries)
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar 
1/2 cup ginger root, or 1/4 cup bars of cinnamon mixed with  1/4 cup cloves (optional)
1. Add 1/2 to 1 gallon water to a saucepan.  Drop hibiscus flowers on to the top of the water until the surface is mostly covered with flowers.  Add ginger root or cinnamon and cloves, if desired.
2. Bring to a boil.
3. Once you have a running boil, remove from full heat or turn stove down to a simmer, and cover for ten minutes.
4. Add the sugar according to taste, mix in, then let simmer for five more minutes.
5. Remove from heat, and let cool/simmer for at least one hour.  Add ice, and serve.  May also be served hot, soon after the sugar is added.
Jus de fruit
Many small businesses have started up throughout Chad based on this one recipe. It is a delight to go and enjoy one of these refreshing drinks with friends at a "milk bar". Sometimes we will order it with one fruit, sometimes with a combination of two fruits.
1 Mango (or 1 1/2 cups of your favourite fruit: orange, pineapple, guava, papaya are the most common fruits used in Chad)
2 cups whole milk (alternatively, from Nido milk powder)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 pieces of ice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
1. Crush the ice in the blender
2. Peel and cut up mango or other fruit, and put the fruit into a mixer.
3. Blend the mango in the mixer.
4. Add the milk, sugar and cardamom to the mixer and blend well.
5. Serve immediately if possible, otherwise chill in the freezer for one hour, then refrigerate.  When ready to enjoy, shake again or re-mix in blender, then serve.
La bouillie (hot breakfast cereal)
This recipe is prepared according to the means of each household to enhance its flavour.  This is how we prepare a modest bouillie for our own home.
1 litre of water
about 1 cup of rice or wheat
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (for authenticity, this should be pure crushed peanuts, no additives, no sugar)
3 tablespoons of wheat, millet or corn flour
curdled milk, or lemon juice from one lemon (optional, but a delicious addition!)
Whole milk, no more than 1/4 litre
1. Boil one litre of water
2. Put about one cup of rice or wheat into the water
3. Mix 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter with a cup of lukewarm water, just enough to obtain a liquid solution, and pour into the water
4. Mix 3 tablespoons flour (wheat, corn or millet) with lukewarm water in order to dissolve it thoroughly also into a liquid solution, and pour the liquid into the boiling mixture
5. Add curdled milk (roaba) or if you lack some, add lemon juice until a sour taste and white brightness is obtained. Please note: You are not required to add this to the bouillie if you do not like the sour taste
6. Add sugar according to taste. 
7. Add whole milk to thin it out if the consistency becomes thicker than oatmeal.
8. Wait 10-15 minutes and serve.
Bon appétit! :-)    Véronique Dakouli
Beignets soufflés
Many Chadian families use this recipe to earn a little pocket money (if "amma" (mommy) finds a way to keep them from eating them first!)
1/8th of a litre (2/3 cup) of water
1 pinch of salt
7.5 grams (1/4 oz.) of powdered sugar
50 grams (1.75 oz.) of butter
62 1/2 grams (2.2 oz.) of flour
2 eggs
A frying pan or frying appliance with palm or peanut oil if available. Otherwise, use vegetable oil. The oil temperature should be around 150�° C (302�°F).
2 tablespoons of fine sugar
1. Boil the water with the salt, the sugar and the butter.
2. When the water begins to boil, throw the flour in all at once. Actively knead it with a spatula and let it cook for two minutes while incessantly kneading it, until the dough detaches itself from the bottom of the pot.
3. Remove from flame and let it cool, then add the eggs one by one. Work the dough energetically after adding the first egg, to cause a little air to enter into the dough.
4. Beat the second egg and add slowly, until the dough is ready. The dough should not be too soft, or too liquidly. Let it cool.
5. Warm up the frying pan. It should not be very hot at the beginning.
6. Form small balls of dough of about 4-5 cm in diameter. Drop them in the oil and let them cook while slowly adding heat to the fryer, in such a way that it is up to 150�° C when the beignets have been cooked.
7. Pull them out when golden brown and serve hot, dipped in fine sugar.
From La cuisine aux pays du soleil, Author unknown. 1976. Imprimerie Saint-Paul: 55001 Bar le Duc. ISBN 2-85049-038-5.
Peanut Sauce (Southern Chad)
5 tablespoons oil
2 lbs beef cubes, 1 inch or smaller, rolled in flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon chilli powder
4 sliced medium-sized onions
1 minced clove of garlic
3/4 cup tomato paste
6 cups water
red pepper to taste (optional)
1/2 cup peanut butter
3-6 cups cooked rice
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy kettle.
2. Add beef cubes. While they are browning, add the nutmeg and chilli powder.
3. When the meat is browned, add the onions, garlic, tomato paste, water and pepper. Let it simmer until the meat is tender.
4. A half hour before serving, heat the peanut butter and two tablespoons of oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
5. Add peanut butter mixture slowly to beef stew and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve over rice. Delicious!
Taken from More with Less Cookbook, by Doris Jazen Longacre. 1976. Herald Press: Scottsdale, Pennsylvania. ISBN 0-8361-1786-7.
Jarret de boeuf
Three legs of beef cut up at the middle of the leg
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
salt, chilli powder, whole cloves, pepper
Vegetables: carrots and/or eggplants and/or leeks and/or sweet potatoes
1. Wash and stew the meat. Then, place in cold water along with the spices
2. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer on low heat for about two hours. Stir from time to time, especially when it begins to boil.
3. Add the vegetables you have available: carrots, eggplant, leeks, sweet potatoes, etc., adding it in enough time for it to be fully cooked.
4. Serve hot with vegetables, in the same serving plate.
Note: If one serves this meal to a Muslim Chadian, the meat should be bought at a Halal butcher in a Muslim neighbourhood, if possible.
From La cuisine aux pays du soleil, author unknown. 1976. Imprimerie Saint-Paul: 55001 Bar le Duc. ISBN 2-85049-038-5.
Roasted chicken, African Style
1 chicken
1 tablespoon of butter
1 bouquet of Persil
3 tablespoons of oil
1. Prepare the chicken for roasting. Salt it inside then place there the piece of fresh butter and the Persil bouquet. Spread the oil on the outside.
2. Put the chicken in a hot oven for 20 minutes per 500 grams of poultry on a pan oiled with cooking oil, or over a fire in an open casserole for 30 minutes per 500 grams of poultry.
3. Wait until it turns a golden brown, turn it over and pour the juice over it from time to time. Dissolve the caramelised broth at the bottom of the pan with water.
4. Serve the sauce in a gravy boat and the chicken on a serving plate.
From La cuisine aux pays du soleil, author unknown. 1976. Imprimerie Saint-Paul: 55001 Bar le Duc. ISBN 2-85049-038-5.
Broiled Fish (A recipe of the villages along the Chari River)
6 medium-sized fish
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of flour
5 tablespoons of oil
3 tomatoes
salt, pepper, or chilli powder
1. Cut the fish into pieces, after having washed and wiped it dry.
2. Spread small pieces of garlic as deep as possible into the flesh of fish.
3. Dip the pieces of fish in the flour.
4. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan and place the fish in it once the oil is very hot.
5. When the pieces are golden brown, add the tomatoes, sliced along the middle, add salt, and the other spices, and cover the pan.
6. Let it simmer at low temperature for about 40 minutes. Check to see when it is ready, and add a few spoonfuls of water if necessary. Serve very hot, fresh off the fire.
From La cuisine aux pays du soleil, author unknown. 1976. Imprimerie Saint-Paul: 55001 Bar le Duc. ISBN 2-85049-038-5.
Millet Snacks (from the Ouadda�¯)
2 cups of millet flour, ground the day you prepare this meal
1 cup of wheat flour
1 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 egg
A frying pan or frying appliance with palm or peanut oil if available. Otherwise, use vegetable oil. The oil temperature should be around 150�° C (302�°F).
1. Mix the millet and wheat flour together. Gradually heat the cup of vegetable oil and pour it onto mixture of flour.
2. Blend the sugar with the whole egg into the dough. Turn the dough for 5 minutes and integrate it into the dough by working the dough so it becomes firm.
3. Spread the dough out using a rolling pin on a lightly floured board or surface, and reduce its height to 5 millimetres.
4. Cut the dough into ribbons with a pastry cutter.
5. Fry to a golden brown in the palm or peanut oil. Wipe off the excess oil and serve hot, warm or cold.
From La cuisine aux pays du soleil, author unknown. 1976. Imprimerie Saint-Paul: 55001 Bar le Duc. ISBN 2-85049-038-5.
Fresh or dried okra
Vegetables (tomatoes, etc.)
Condiments (salt, peanut butter, Maggi, red pepper)
In general, okra is used much more as a condiment than as a sauce itself.  In fact, we put okra in a sauce so that it is not too liquid, but gluey enough to stick to the millet paste (boule).  Okra can thus be prepared with vegetables as well as meat, be it dried or fresh okra.  When using fresh okra, we cut it into very little pieces, then we put it together with the vegetables in boiling water.  We wait until both the okra and vegetables are well-cooked before adding the condiments (salt, peanut butter, Maggi, red pepper, ...)  Then, the sauce must be left on the fire for several minutes before serving.  When using dried okra, we grind it up and add a certain quantity (in general, a tablespoon for each litre of sauce) at the same time as we add the other condiments.  At the same time, there are rare times when okra is prepared alone (as is the case of a time of difficulty, waiting for the harvest to come in).  In this case, there is only water, salt and okra (fresh or dried) that is cooked.  The quantity of okra needs to be quite significant for the sauce to be a sauce, and not just water.

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