If you have kids too you probably wish I'd shut up. I know, we're all scrambling this time of year. So I'll get on with this post.
|Rice fields in Benty, Forécariah, Guinea. Photo by Marta P.|
Guinean cuisine is pretty typically west African, with lots of stews and sauces made from vegetables such as cassava, plantains, eggplant, okra and leafy greens. You know, stuff I don't usually like in stews. Yeah I know, my feelings about chunky stews full of a million different kinds of vegetables are in line with most small children's feelings about chunky stews full of a million different kinds of vegetables. What can I say, I just like a basic stew with meat and potatoes, and maybe some mushrooms and onions.
Mangoé Rafalari (Spicy Mango Stew)
- 12 medium ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
- 3 onions, chopped
- 1 cup palm oil
- 6 smoked carp*
- 2 large stock cubes
- 2 chili peppers, chopped
- Salt to taste
Soupou Gertö (Chicken sauce with sweet potatoes)
- One 3 lb chicken, cut into pieces
- 1/2 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 bunch spring onions, roughly chopped
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3-4 Maggi cubes
- 6 gloves garlic
- 3 tbsp tomatoes paste
- 1 lb sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2 eggplants, cubed
- 4 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- Salt, black pepper and chili powder to taste
- 1 cup peanut oil
Place the chicken pieces in a bowl with the lemon juice, salt, pepper and chili powder. Let marinate for 15 minutes or more.
Meanwhile, place the green onions, onions and garlic in a food processor with the tomatoes, Maggi cubes and some additional salt and pepper.
Add the water and the bay leaf, and a little more salt and pepper and chili powder. Here's where you would also add the scotch bonnet pepper (habanero) if you don't mind watching your kids cry. I left that out, though I would have personally enjoyed it. The habanero, I mean, not watching my kids cry.
Once the eggplant and sweet potatoes are soft, serve with white rice.
I liked the idea of the mango stew but I thought the palm oil flavor (which is really very distinct) didn't mesh that well with the mangoes. I would certainly try this again as it was a strange phenomenon: a savory stew containing a sweet ingredient that didn't actually impact the savoriness of the stew in any way. At least that's what I thought. But next time I'll probably use a less overwhelming oil when I make it.
So here we are on the eve of another Thanksgiving and now it's on to that distinctly non-exotic meal: roast turkey with cranberries! Happy Thanksgiving!
Next week: Guinea Bissau
For printable versions of this week's recipes: