Monday, June 20, 2011

And a little bit more Africa...from my kitchen

I love to cook.  To me, there is nothing more fun than being in the kitchen and creating meals for my family and friends.  Thankfully, my husband and kids are always up for trying new things.  We love to experiment with different recipes from all over the world.  Here are a few of our favorites from Africa...
(Sorry...I haven't taken pics of any of these.  Perhaps I should. )

Beef Kofta Curry

1 lb ground beef
3 T finely chopped onion
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T plain greek yogurt
4 T flour
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 fresh green chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
1 egg
Salt and pepper

For the curry sauce:
2 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 T curry powder
4 green cardamom pods (you can take these out after it is finished cooking. Pretty nasty to bite into!)
2 ½ cups hot beef stock
1 T tomato paste
2 T plain greek yogurt
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped.

Put beef in large bowl, add remaining meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands. Roll into small balls and put aside on a floured plate.
To make curry sauce, heat butter over medium heat. Fry onion/garlic about 10 minutes or until soft.
Reduce heat and add curry powder and cardamom pods. Cook for a few minutes, stirring well.
Slowly stir in stock and then add paste, yogurt and cilantro. Stir well.
Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add meatballs a few at a time, allow to cook briefly and then add a few more, until all of them are in the pan. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.  Avoid stirring, but gently move meatballs around. The curry should thicken slightly, but you can add a bit more stock or some water if it gets too dry.
Serve hot with rice.

(Moroccan Chicken Pie with Cinnamon)

2-3 Tbs. olive oil
7 Tbs. butter
3 onions, halved lengthwise, then halved crosswise and sliced with the grain
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 Tbs. blanched almonds, chopped
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
9 oz. chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
7-8 sheets filo dough (thawed, if frozen)
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tsp water
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
Heat oil in a skillet with a pat of the butter, add the onions and cook over med heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften and color.
Stir in the garlic and almonds and cook for 2 minutes, until the almonds begin to color, then add the spices.  Toss in the chicken and cook gently for a few minutes, until the water in the saucepan has evaporated.  Toss in the herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool.
Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan.  Separate the sheets of filo dough and keep covered with a clean, damp cloth.  Brush a little melted butter over the base of an ovenproof dish (a round one works nicely) and cover with a sheet of filo dough, allowing the sides to flop over the edge.  Brush the sheet of filo dough with melted butter and place another one on top.  Repeat with another 2 layers.
Spread the chicken and onion mixture on top of the dough and fold the edges over the filling.  Cover with remaining sheets of dough, brushing each one with butter.  Tuck overlapping edges under the pie.  Brush the top with the egg yolk mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the filo dough is puffed up and golden. Dust the top with a little cinnamon and serve immediately.

Palaver Chicken
(Ghana, Sierra Leone)

1 ½ lbs boneless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 tsp peanut butter
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 fresh thyme sprig, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 fresh red or green chili, seeded and chopped (these are tiny, very hot peppers…sometimes called Thai chilies)
Salt and Pepper

Cut the chicken into thin slices, place in a bowl and stir in the garlic and a little salt and pepper.
Melt butter in large skillet and fry over med heat, turning once or twice to brown evenly. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in skillet and fry the onion/tomatoes over high heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.
Reduce heat, add peanut butter and half of the stock. Blend together well.
Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring to prevent peanut butter from burning. 
Add remaining stock, thyme, spinach, chili and seasoning. 
Stir in the chicken and cook over med heat for 10-15 minutes.
Pour mixture into warm serving dish and serve with rice.
This chicken is really good served with the Akkras.


1 ½ cups dried black eyed peas
1 onion, chopped finely
1 fresh red chili, halved with seeds removed
About 2/3 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying

Soak the black-eyed peas in plenty of cold water for 6-8 hours or overnight.  Drain the beans and then briskly rub the beans between the palms of your hands to remove the skins.

Return the beans to a bowl,  fill bowl with water and the skins will float to the surface. Discard the skins and soak beans again for 2 hours.

Place the beans in a blender or food processor ( I do them in small amounts.)  Blend peas with the onion, chili and a little water.  Should process into a thick paste.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and whisk for a few minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and fry spoonfuls of the mixture for about 4 minutes…until golden brown.

Great served with other African/Middle Eastern dishes.

Serve hot.

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