Benin…

Friday, December 9 –

This week was terrible, tragic, and hilarious all at the same time. The one word that describes this dinner: fail. I didn’t even want to write this post, to tell you the truth, but this journey is about the failures as well as the successes – so here it is.

I thought to myself, “Self, you really love peanut sauce. So how could this recipe go wrong?” Apparently very, very wrong. I started off with ground chicken instead of a whole chicken thrown into a blender. I added the peanut butter, green onions, and jalapeno and blended. I think my blender decided it wanted to die from the sheer wrongness of what I put in it; needless to say I need to buy a new blender now. So I scooped the goop and smooshed it into balls. The smell was so bad that Roommate Extraordinaire had to stand back to the dining room instead of the kitchen. (Should have told me to stop, right at the very beginning.) I left the frying of these to Wonderful Boyfriend, and turned to making the bean patties.

To save time I thought I’d use canned white beans. That was probably where this went wrong. I did the recipe as it called, and it turned into a very liquid-y paste. I tried to fry it anyway, and it turned into bean soup that mixed with the oil. (Can you hear the puking sounds I was thinking in my head?) As you can see by these tragic photos, it wasn’t pretty. I have had people tell me that they didn’t want to eat something because of the texture (I blame Mr. Hero for a lot of that in my life…) but I had never experienced it… until now. I put one bite of the chicken/peanut butter mixture into my mouth and it got promptly spit out into the sink. Um. Yuck. Wonderful Boyfriend didn’t like it either, but he managed to swallow it. Roommate Extraordinaire said, “I could eat this. It’s not so bad.” So I shoveled it all into a tupperware and sent him off with it. It saddened me to even have it in my kitchen, so I made him take it away as quickly as possible.

Then we went out for Mexican food. *sigh* Next week will be better!

Things I have learned: If I doubt the recipe even at the beginning, maybe rethink my strategy! And don’t be afraid to fail, it makes for a funny story at the very least.

Benin
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.celtnet.org.uk and www.cdkitchen.com)

Chicken Meatballs with Red Sauce

  • 1 chicken, jointed and deboned
  • 200g peanut butter
  • 1 hot red chilli
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, washed and chopped
  • 4 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
  • 250ml red palm oil
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Method: Place half the peanut butter in a bowl and work in a little hot water, so you have a smooth paste. In the meantime, combine the chicken flesh, the remaining peanut butter, chili, spring onions and salt in a blender. Process until smooth then scoop out. Take teaspoons of the meat mixture and shape into balls. Heat the red palm oil in a pan, add the chicken meat balls and fry until golden brown all over. As soon as they are nicely cooked add the onions, tomatoes and diluted peanut butter. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Turn the mixture into a serving dish and serve immediately.

Akkra Funfun (Benin) Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cup dried white beans
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • oil for deep-fat frying (a mixture of two parts peanut oil to one part palm oil gives an authentic taste)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

Wash and soak the beans and cook them according to directions on the package. Drain them well and place in a blender with the water and salt. Blend until they form a thick, dough-like paste. (Add more water if necessary.)

Heat the oil to 350 to 375 degrees F in a deep, heavy saucepan or a deep-fat fryer.

Fold the chopped onion, salt, and cayenne pepper into the bean paste. Drop the mixture into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time and fry until golden brown. Drain the fritters on paper towels and serve while hot. Coarsely chopped hot Guinea pepper-type chilies or finely chopped okra may also be added to the mixture.

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About devouringworldbites

A girl on a mission to cook, eat, and write about the world, one country at a time. View all posts by devouringworldbites

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