Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 30 - Cameroon (AF) - Blue-Coconut Jolofe Rice and Cod Fillets - Up Next, Canada

In the Kitchen - Where it's at! I need a bigger spice rack!!

Cameroon (Yaoundé)(AF) -  Cameroon is located in West Africa.  Comparatively, the area occupied by Cameroon is slightly larger than the state of California. It is bordered on the N and NE by Chad, on the E by the Central African Republic, on the E and S by the Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea, on the SW by the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean), and on the W and NW by Nigeria. The coastline where fishing is abundant is about 249 miles long.
 First inhabited by the mysterious Pygmies, and then the Bantu and Sudanic peoples, Cameroon became an infamous and tragic source of slaves for Muslim and European traders. Following  a long series of internal political juggling between north and south, along with the bloody coups of the 1980's, Cameroon finally gained independence in the 1990's. The country is ethnically diverse with over 225 individual groups and is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including in agriculture, mining, forestry, and the oil and gas sectors.

About the Food:

Cuisine in Cameroon includes staple foods like cassava, yam, rice, plantain, potato, maize, beans and millet. The French introduced French bread and Italian pasta, which are not as widely consumed for the price which is very high.
A Typical Open Air Market in Cameroon

The main source of protein in Cameroon is fish, with poultry reserved for special occasions.  Some of the most widely popular species are the pangolin, the porcupine and the giant rat. There is also a thriving trade in such exotic bush meat species as chimpanzee and gorilla - none of which are carried by my preferred exotic meat vendor, D'Artagnan in New Jersey http://www.dartagnan.com/

Cameroon's national dish is Ndole (Vernonia amygdalina) which is made from a very bitter leaf that is not available in the US  and requires a complicated and fascinating process of "washing", in order to reduce the bitterness. If I were to make it, I'd have to use Kale or another bitter green. Instead, I decided to make a rice dish accompanied by Cod, both very commonly eaten by families in Cameroon.

The basic ingredients rice, coconut milk, carrots, ginger, onion, green pepper, hot pepper flakes, bay leaf, mushrooms and tomatoes

Dice up the vegetables
Add Coconut milk to tomato mixture and simmer to reduce till thick
Add remainder of vegetables and rice, cover and simmer till liquid is absorbed
Coat fish with flour and fry in peanut oil till golden

Beautiful and Golden brown - don't over cook!

Blue-Coconut Jolofe Rice  

1 Onion, chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small slice ginger, finely chopped
1 bayleaf
1 1/4 cup long-grain rice, washed
1/4 pound Mushrooms, sliced
1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
hot pepper, to taste
salt, to taste. 

Fry the Onion in hot oil, in a large saucepan, for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. While stirring, fry over a moderate heat for 5 - 6 minutes.
Stir in 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and continue to cook until the mixture is reduced and thick.
Add the rest of the coconut milk, carrots, hot pepper, ginger, bay leaf and salt.
Bring to the boil, and add the rice and the remaining vegetables, stirring with a fork.
Reduce to a low heat, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove the lid, cover with foil and replace the lid until the rice is done.

Final Assessment:  The cod was great and the perfect accompaniment to the rice dish. The rice was full of flavor had a great kick to it (I added plenty of hot pepper flakes). There were NO left overs from this meal!

1 comment:

Selena said...

Sarah, your blog is amazing! I'm so impressed. The food looks absolutely fantastic and it's definitely not a good idea to visit while on on empty stomach. I see so many recipes here I want to try, just don't know which one to try first.

I'll keep checking back, and will let you know when we've prepared our first "What's Cooking in Your World" meal. :-) xo, Selena

PS. I linked you on my blog! :-)