Central African Republic: République Centrafricaine; Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka (AF)(Bangui):
I ran into a number of unanticipated problems today, but challenges and roadblocks have a way of keeping things exciting, so cooking in the Central African Republic turned out to be both fun and and interesting!
First, I couldn't find goat meat at any of my usual haunts, so I went to a Brazilian Market in Ashland, where they did indeed have said goat meat of which I bought 2lbs. Then, my camera broke, so I had to fork over the scrilla to pick up another one, which was a drag.
Next, on my way to the gym this afternoon, I came across a car accident involving a beautiful deer and an SUV. The police hadn't even arrived yet and both driver and deer were in shock. The woman's car sustained major damage and I'm afraid the deer probably had to be put down. That one really shook me up.
THEN, sitting in the parking lot of my son's high school waiting to pick him up this evening, I was witness to a HUGE fight between an angry Dad and his daughter who apparently wanted to quit her softball team. I came within seconds of dialing 911 as the father physically pushed his daughter out of the car, dropping "F bomb's" by the dozen. I don't want to judge, but it's softball dude.
Cassava (also known as Yuca) is THE major staple and "backbone" of many Central African meals. It comes in numerous formulations: coarsly ground as a flour, finely ground as a starch, frozen (pictured) or whole. Cassava greens are also frequently used.
Because the Central African Republic is a relatively isolated, land locked country, it has long been outside the influence of Western cookery, though some imports from the New World into Africa, such as cassava, peanuts and chillies have become a significant part of the diet. Plantains and cassava provide the most typical carbohydrate sources for the diet. Fufu made from fermented cassava root is the most important part of many peoples' diet. Bushmeat and river fish are key ingredients in the diet and these are often presented in tomato and/or peanut sauces frequently flavored with chillies and native greens. . http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/central-african-republic.php
I decided to make Cassava bread with Coconut and Raisins, which is often eaten for breakfast or as a snack - the Brazilian's use Cassava flour to make a delicious cheese bread!
I grated the Cassava
The Cassava bread was EXCELLENT
Next I built a fire to cook the Chichinga (Skewered Goat)-I LOVE my cooking pit! Our Carpenter, Paul, hooks me up with an endless supply of kindling
Tim and his friend, Erik can testify that the meat was cave-man tough!
Chichinga (Skewered Goat) is a traditional Central African Republic recipe for classic kebab of goat meat, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions brushed with vinaigrette before being grilled on a barbecue.
2 lbs goat meat, cubed
2 green bell peppers, quartered
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 large onions, quartered
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pimenton
Alternate the meat and vegetables on skewers. Mix the oil, vinegar and seasonings together and use to brush the meat. Grill on a barbecue or under a grill, turning and basting frequently. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the meat is done through.
Cassava bread is one of the traditional African breads. Cassava is just another name for ‘Yucca', which is an African staple and regularly eaten in many forms in the Central African Republic.
Cassava Bread with Coconut
3/4 C margarine
2 C sugar
2 C frozen grated cassava (see tips)
1 C frozen grated coconut (see tips)
1 C All-purpose flour (sifted)
1 C milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 C raisins (opt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 11x8 inch pan or a loaf pan.
Defrost your cassava and coconut at room temperature or use a microwave oven. Transfer margarine, eggs, and sugar to mixing bowl. Mix on low for one minute.
Add remaining ingredients to the bowl. Mix on high for two more minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Pour into greased pan.
Bake 40-45 minutes. Bread is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan and a wooden toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Can be eaten warm for breakfast or as a sweet snack
Final Assessment: I think I bought a very tough batch of meat. Most goat has to be marinated, but this was unusually tough, otherwise, it would have been delicious. The Cassava bread was great. Moist, full of flavor - a terrific breakfast bread/cake.