East African Food

Sweet and Spicy Seitan Suya and Coconut Rice {Cameroon}

Sweet and Spicy Seitan Suya.  How’s that for alliteration?

Aside from the Cocoa San Rival, this is my favorite and it takes 10 times less time.  You’re going to love it.  I challenge you to feed it to a meat-eater and see if they can figure out that they are actually eating wheat.  If anyone does this, please let me know how it goes!

When researching Cameroon recipes, I just kept coming back to suya–strips of flank steak grilled on a skewer, covered in a sweet and spicy peanut mixture.

Seitan Suya (Vegan), Enough for 6 skewers

Ingredients:

  • One 8 oz box strips or chunks of seitan
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ground peanuts
  • oil for brushing (I used peanut oil)

Directions:

  1. Mix sugar, spices, salt, and peanuts together.
  2. Rub onto seitan strips.
  3. Place strips/chunks onto bamboo or metal skewers.
  4. Cover and let marinate for as much time as you can stand it.
  5. Preheat grill or oven.  We have NO outdoor space here, so I grilled on the rack in the oven at 425*
  6. Rub oil on skewers to prevent them from sticking to the rack/grill.
  7. Grill for approximately 4 minutes on each side.

Love cooking with seitan; you don’t have to worry if your meat’s rare in the middle.  It just has to be warmed through.

We ate our skewers with a coconut rice, made with carrots, yellow bell peppers, and thyme.  The topping is a bit of the leftover peanuts mixed with the spice mixture.  It added a desirable crunch to the rice.

These skewers and empanadas are definitely on my make-after-the-project list!

Tomorrow, the African recipes come to a halt, albeit a very one.  Mezze platter coming your way!

Categories: African Food, East African Food, Food, Rice, Vegan, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Irio {Kenya}

I got home from work late on Tuesday night.  (I almost didn’t make it home in time for New Girl, which I then forgot to watch…)  I was not strong in the Pearl Project spirit, so I was thankful that I had already planned to make a dish that was not too labor intensive.

Meet Irio.

Irio is basically a bean, corn, and potato mash with a splash of greens.  It is a common dish throughout East Africa.  There are oodles of varieties out there.  Mine included, onion, a can of yellow corn, a can of pinto beans, 3 large potatoes (boiled, then cubed), and 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped spinach.  There was some salt, pepper, and paprika involved too.  I know, I should have probably gone the extra step and made ugali (I even bought white corn meal!) with the irio.  But we had leftover rice.  And wasting food is no good.  I also added a dollop of plain yogurt to the top for a bit of extra tangyness.  Simple meal.  Not mind blowing.  But solid.

Categories: African Food, East African Food, Food, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Ketchup Recipes (Okay, catch up recipes): Tanzania, Syria, Tajikistan

I still exist. And so does my kitchen, I swear it.  I know you couldn’t tell it from the blog, but it is true.  My excuses…first the good camera died, leaving me with lackluster photography that I wasn’t as thrilled to share with you.  (I’m still going to share it–please lie and tell me it’s not that out of focus, etc).  Then, I took a trip to New York City.  It was lovely, and at some point, I”ll blog about my restaurant eats there.  I wish I had the time and money to spend a month there.  Anyway, back to my excuses.  Then, well, I had to catch up on at work since I’d missed for NYC.

Still, I’ve been cooking.  To speed my catching up process, I’ve got a post with a quick recap of three country feasts and my recipe for Black Bean and Plantain Stew.

First–Syria.  I made some mini mezze plates for us, with easy tabbouleh, homemade hummus and toasted pita chips, and some olives to round out the plate.  The hummus was extra delicious this go round…I think a bit of extra tahini may have had something to do with it.

For the entree, I prepared Mujaddara.

Now, lentils are rice isn’t exactly anything crazy, but caramelized onions add the flavor that I needed to enjoy this otherwise simple dish.  I opted for brown lentils and seasoned with cumin and coriander.  Seems like I’ve been using so much coriander as of late…

I’ve also attempted a traditional Tajik meal.  I do not think I had quite the dramatic flare that I was hoping for.  Here was my inspiration photo:

(Source)

Here’s what our table actually looked like:

There are just a couple disparities.  Ah, well.  We had nuts and dried fruit and piti surrounding our plov.  Confused?  Tajik meals are communal, and center around the plov, which is fried rice.  Usually a plov contains mutton, but we stuck to onions, carrots, and yellow turnips.  Our orange soups are the piti.  [Vegetarian] piti is made with chickpeas, tomatoes, and potatoes and cooked while covered in the oven.  I could not actually find an existing recipe, so I worked on my own.  Does anyone have a good piti recipe to share?

Mine was okay.  Healthful, and with some flavor, but lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.

That’s okay, Tanzania’s meal had it (referring to the “je ne sais quoi”) and then some.  This dish was actually meant to be a beef and plantain stew.  I decided to simply use black beans instead of finding a more processed meat substitute for the meal.

Husband actually voted this into his top three dishes the night we had it!  Since then, I think the Philippines may have nudged it out from Bronze medal standing, but still, it was a winner.

Bean and Plantain Stew (Serves 6) Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 T oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (one if you’re not a garlic lover–why would you not be, though??)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 15 oz can cooked black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chili pepper (I don’t bother seeding b/c the husband likes heat)
  • 3 small potatoes, cubed
  • 3 plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions.

  1. Heat oil in large pot (I used a Dutch oven).
  2. Saute onions until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and chili pepper. Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Add beans, tomatoes, potatoes, plantains, water, and bouillon cubes.
  5. Simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 30 minutes for me.
  6. Add coconut milk add stir until heated.  Mash vegetables if desired.

Our stew was served with my first attempt at ugali, which is a dough-like porridge made with cornmeal.  It’s quite common in African cuisine, but usually it’s made with white cornmeal, which I didn’t have on hand that day.  The ugali wasn’t the most delicious thing I’ve eaten, but seemed to go well with the stew nevertheless.

Happy cooking, folks.  Scout’s honor that I’ll be more consistent with the posting in the next couple weeks!

Categories: African Food, Central Asian Food, East African Food, Food, Middle Eastern Food, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Cabbage and Spinach Kutendela with Mini-Sweet Potato Biscuits {Malawi}

The camera’s back!

Is this stretching anyone’s geographic knowledge?   Malawi is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa.

Though Malawi was a British colony until 1964, there are relatively few outside influences on Malawian cuisine.  Staple, such as potatoes, yucca, and millet are very important.  Beans, tomatoes, cabbage, and green vegetables also play a big role in Malawian cuisine, as do onions and peanuts.  The techniques remain quite simple.

Nsima, a type of cornmeal porridge, is the single most popular dish, I skipped over it when I saw that sweet potato biscuits were popular in the country.  Any chance I get, I will incorporate sweet potatoes into my meal.

Usually, the above pictured Mbatata are served as sweet snacks.  I used mine as bread to serve with the soup, but I can see how some drizzled frosting could be excellent with them.  What soup, you ask?  (Okay, no one asked…)

We ate Cabbage and Spinach Kutendela.

Kutendela is peanut sauce/powder, which is common in Malawi, and many other African cuisines.  The recipe is simple and fast, and eventually I learned to really enjoy the taste.

Cabbage and Spinach Kutendela (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 T oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 head of medium cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup water+more water for thinning the peanut butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in pan on medium heat.  Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add tomato and cabbage.  Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add one cup of water.  Cover and let cook down under cabbage is tender.
  4. Thin peanut butter with warm water until it reaches gravy-like consistency.  Mix salt and peanut butter mixture into pan.
  5. Add spinach and stir in until wilted.

Not half bad.  But not as addicting as those little Mbatata Sweet Potato biscuits!

Categories: African Food, Breads/Starches, East African Food, Food, Soups, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

Ugandan Breakfast Porridge and Matoke {Uganda}

This post has been moved to http://www.therestoflhistoire.com/2012/01/29/ugandan-breakfast-porridge-and-matoke/

Categories: African Food, Breakfast, East African Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

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