Friday, March 16 –
This dinner was just the three of us at the house, and a lot less hectic. But the food was definitely worth making!
There were four parts to this dinner – the chicken and veggie mixture, the fried spinach, the fried plantains, and the rice. I started with the chicken dish, getting all of the veggies cut and ready to go. I made it almost exactly as it was written… the changed I made were to put in a three inch piece of chopped up ginger (with bigger pieces so that you got the fun ginger zing as you bit into the pieces), I added four cloves of garlic instead of one, and I also added some salt and pepper.
As that was cooking down, I put the rice together. I decided last-minute to actually make rice in the rice cooker with coconut milk, bay leaves, and chives mixed in instead of the recipe given. I did that because once I got to really reading the recipes, the veggies in them were mostly the same! So instead of duplicating the flavors, I just cut the veggies out and kept the coconut flavor. Unfortunately, the rice didn’t soak up the coconut milk as much as it did the water, so it turned out crunchy and mushy at the same time. Weird, and not something I’ll do again!
Once the rice was cooking, I got started on the fried spinach and the fried plantains. I made the spinach exactly as written except I sliced the mushrooms instead of quartering them. And I fried the plantains plain in a little oil until they were brown on both sides. (And yes, we absolutely made sure they were ripe first!)
Everything came together perfectly. I love it when that happens. We dished up, poured some wine, and toasted to friendship. The chicken was a little drier than I like, and I am not entirely sure why. It might be that I let it simmer too long, but the flavors were great. The ginger was definitely a kick in the taste buds – in such a good way. The spinach and mushrooms were slightly garlicky and definitely a good addition to the chicken. I probably could have mixed it altogether and it would have been great. The plantains were ok – not my favorite way of eating them so far. And the rice was a fail – but I’m glad it was there to soak up the sauce from the chicken dish.
Things I have learned: Green beans wilt pretty quickly when you let them simmer. Don’t lose the crunch next time!
Cameroonian Fried Spinach
- 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach, rinsed
- 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- garlic powder to taste
Directions: Heat the olive oil in a wok, or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion, and saute until they are about halfway done. Dump in the spinach, and liberally sprinkle with garlic powder. Fry until the spinach has wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Buea Coconut Joloffe Rice (Cameroon) Recipe
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- hot pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 1 small slice ginger, finely chopped
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 1/4 cup long-grain rice, washed
- 1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
PREPARATION: Fry the onion in hot oil, in a large saucepan, for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. While stirring, fry over a moderate gas for 5 – 6 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and continue to cook until the mixture is reduced and thick. Add the rest of the coconut milk, carrots, hot pepper, ginger, bayleaf and salt. Bring to the boil, and add the rice and the remaining vegetables, stirring with a fork. Reduce to a low heat, cover and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove the lid, cover with foil and replace the lid until the rice is done.
Poulet Directeur Général
- 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
- 60ml oil
- 2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 ‘Maggi’ cube or a chicken stock cube with a pinch of ground cumin and coriander seeds
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- handful of French beans with ends trimmed
- 3 sweet bell peppers, de-seeded and chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- optional: plantains for frying
Method: Combine the chicken, 1 tbsp oil, spices, carrots, green beans and peppers in a bowl then allow to marinate for at least two hours. Heat the remaining oil in a casserole dish or large frying pan then add the onions and fry briefly until they just begin to soften. Add the chicken then fry over high heat until the pieces are lightly browned all over. Add the remaining ingredients, except the tomatoes then reduce the heat to as simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is done and most of the liquid has evaporated (add a little water if it becomes too dry) then add the tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes more. Serve with rice or Baton de Manioc and fried plantains.