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AFGHANISTAN

The central emblem is the classical emblem of Afghanistan with a mosque with its mihrab facing Mecca. Interestingly, Afghanistan has had the most changes to its national flag in the 20th century than any other country in the world.
COUNTRYAfghanistan 
DishesBolani, Pulao 
Time 3 hours 
Effort 7/10
Rough cost £8 (not including spices + oil) *but most of stuff you will have 
COUNTRY Afghanistan 
Capital Kabul 
Population 32, 225, 560 (44th largest) 
Land mass 652,230 km2 (40th largest)
Languages Pashtun (60%), Dari (40%)
ReligionsMuslim (99.7%)

HISTORY

Kabuli Pulao was created by the upper class in Kabul, as they could afford caramelised carrots, raisins and nuts in their rice. However, overtime this dish has become one of the commonly cooked in Afghanistan, and so the name has changed to Qabili Pulao. Qabili means ‘accomplished’.

Bolani is a traditional celebration bread eaten at birthdays, weddings and festivals. It can be made via many different methods and with many different fillings. Each family will have their own traditional Bolani recipe. Other fillings include: lentils, pumpkin or leeks.

NOTES

It is important to remember that, as with all home cooking, these dishes vary enormously from home to home and from season to season. Do not be put off making the dishes if you are missing a couple of spices or have different vegetables. Just go ahead and use what you have handy. Making a dish your own is the essence of celebratory cooking!We cooked the rice on its own as we were making a vegan supper. You will find lots of recipes online where the rice is cooked with lamb and this will give a delicious flavour, but requires a slightly different technique.

BOLANI

Ingredients

DoughFilling
2 cups plain flour 
1 ½ cups of wholemeal flour 
1 ½ tsp dried yeast 
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp warm water
½ tsp salt
3 potatoes, boiled + grated 
3 spring onions 
3 cloves garlic, grated
Salt + Pepper (to taste)
Spices: ground ginger, ground cumin,
ground coriander, paprika, turmeric (to taste)

Method

  1. Mix everything together in a bowl. The only tricky bit with bread and it comes with practice, is getting the moisture level right. Too dry or too wet and the dough will not rise properly. It should be dry enough to knead the dough easily but wet enough to stick a bit to your hands and the counter. Different flours absorb different amounts of liquid and so a recipe is not the be all and end all here. As you start to knead the dough you may have to add water or flour to get the right consistency.
  2. Knead until the dough is soft and pliable and springs back when you poke it or pull it – 5 to 10 minutes. If you have never made bread before, YouTube will have some useful tutorials.
  3. Mix all the filling ingredients together.
  4. When the dough is risen, divide it up and roll it into 15 balls.
  5. On a floured counter, roll the dough ball into a disc.
  6. Put a good tbsp. of filling in the centre of and fold it into a triangle, sealing the edges *see picture
  7. Brush each side with vegetable oil and fry on both sides on a medium heat until the dough is cooked and is a good brown colour. *we had to push down the triangle edges with a spatula and finish them off in the oven for the sake of time.

Mwara’s Tips (a.k.a breadmaster)

These stuffed flatbreads were pretty easy to make and absolutely delicious. We kept the left overs in an airtight container and the made a very good packed lunch the next day.

Making bread is not as difficult or as exact a science as some television chefs would have you believe. People have been making bread at home in pretty basic conditions for thousands of years! Your own, homemade bread may not have the ‘perfect’ structure, but will be really fun to make, smell lovely when it is cooking and taste delicious. No additives, preservatives or other nasty extras, just flour, yeast, water and salt.

If you are used to making bread or have a bread maker, then a standard bread dough with a 1/3 wholemeal to 2/3 white flour mix is perfect here.

Processed with MOLDIV

PULAO

Ingredients

BrothRice
4 cardamom pods, crushed
½ teaspoon cinnamon 
1 onion, peeled + halved 
1 whole head of garlic 
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp paprika
1/2tsp salt
Warm water to cover
Basmati rice for 4 people
4 carrots, in matchsticks 
1 onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
½ cup slivered / flaked almonds
½ cup raisins / sultanas
5 cardamom pods 
Spices: ground ginger, ground cumin,
ground coriander,
chilli powder, turmeric (to taste)

Method

  1. Put all the broth ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Then remove the vegetables and pods with a spoon or strainer.
  2. Fry the onions until soft. Then add the carrots and garlic and continue to fry.
  3. Soak and rinse the rice in cold water.
  4. Add all the ingredients (inc. rice) to the broth pan and bring to the boil.
  5. When it reaches boiling point, give it a good stir, shut the lid and turn off the heat but leave the pan on the hob. The rice should soak up all the juices and stay warm.
  6. To finish, fluff up the rice with a fork. You can stir in a bit of butter or oil, sprinkle with fresh toasted almond slices, raisins, shelled toasted pistachios, fresh coriander – it is up to you.
  7. Serve with either a meat (lamb is best) or vegetable stew.

VEGETABLE TAGINE

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of mixed vegetables in big chunks (2cm diced) including squash, sweet potatoes, courgettes, aubergine, leeks, turnips, carrots, swede, parsnip.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 ginger
  • salt + pepper (to taste)

Method

  1. Fry the onion in a tbsp. of oil until soft but not browned.
  2. Add the garlic and spices and fry to mix – about 30 seconds.
  3. Add all the vegetables and stir to coat with spices.
  4. Add the chickpeas.
  5. Add enough water to come about ½ way up the pan. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. You could transfer to the oven at about 1400C to free up the stove top.

SERVING

Traditional the pulao is served with Kabuli, which is a lamb stew. However, Bridget made a vegan tagine with swede, canned tomatoes, canned chickpeas, onion and spices (*see recipe above). We served it all up with chopped coriander, chilli, harissa and oat milk cream.

OUR THOUGHTS

We loved cooking this meal, especially as it was our inaugural dinner! It was really fun making the Bolani and they tasted so good. With this recipe we made enough for 4 people, and lots of left-overs. What we will say, is that is was a bit time-consuming.

Dera manana and see you in Albania! M + B

#pulao #kabuli #bolani #vegan #recipe

CHINA

COUNTRYCHINA
DishesDumplings, fried aubergine, Mapo tofu (vegan)
Time 2.5 hours
Effort 7/10
Rough cost £10
COUNTRY CHINA
Capital Beijing
Population 1,400,050,000 (greatest in world)
Land mass 9,596,961 km2 (3rd largest)
Languages Standard Chinese (official)
Religions73.6% NO religion

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

CHINA WEEK! Bridget was so excited for this week that we skipped out Chile. It was a special occasion as we invited our friend Sonya, who is from Northern China, down to the house to be our guest-chef. She taught as how to make proper Chinese dumplings, just as her grandparents once taught her to do. It was a bit of effort but very fun and she made it look so easy (it wasn’t too bad). We also made Szechuan Aubergine and Ma Po Tofu (vegan), which are two dishes Bridget ate a lot of when she traveled to China last summer. It was super delicious and left us stuffed.

Just to note, there are so many amazing dishes to make from Chinese cuisine, from the huge number of different regions. Get on google and give them a go!

RECIPES

Traditional Chinese Dumplings

INGREDIENTS (enough dumplings for 7 pp)

  • Wrapper dough = plain flour, water (eye-ball measures)
  • Fillings:
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 spring onions
  • 1 packet prawns (if using)
  • 1 large piece of fresh ginger, well chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, well chopped
  • sesame oil, for frying (can also use veg oil)

METHOD

  1. Make the wrapper dough by literally just mixing flour and water together until the desired consistency is reached and you have enough dough. We used initially 300 grams of flour and then kept adding flour and water as we went. Sonya says the dough is perfect when the sides of the mixing bowl are clean. The dough should be smooth and totally mixed, similar to a soft bread dough.
  2. Next step is to roll out the wrappers. Roll the entire dough into a giant sausage, with a thickness of around 2 inches. Rip off a small chestnut sized piece, flatten it with your palm and using a rolling pin, roll this into a thin circle on a floured surface. Sonya’s method is to roll the wrapper with the pin by continually turning the wrapper in a circle. The wrapper should be thin enough to see light through. Repeated this with the rest of the dough and make sure to use plenty of flour so the wrappers do not stick.
  3. Now make the filling by heating up sesame oil in a pan on a medium high heat. Fry the garlic and ginger for a few minutes and then lower the heat. If you are using prawns, add them in at this stage also. Add the eggs in and scramble them until nice and firm. Then turn off the heat and incorporate the chopped spring onions.
  4. To make the dumpling, take a wrapper and hold it over your 3 middle fingers, turning your hand to point to the side. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper and use water to coat the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over on itself and seal down the edges. Then fold along the edges to seal. Sonya was very good at doing this and made it look effortless. So, our recommendation is watch a video of someone who knows what they are doing. Then give it your best go! As long as the dumplings won’t burst, you’re doing fine.
  5. To fry the dumplings, heat oil at 1cm thickness on a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and place the dumplings in the oil. Fry the dumplings until golden brown on both sides, using tongs to turn them over half-way through cooking time. Then place them on a cloth to dry.
  6. Serve with dipping sauce of white wine vinegar, either by itself or with soy sauce mixed in! AMAZING!

Fried Szechuan-style Aubergine

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large aubergines, chopped into short + thin matchsticks
  • 1 large piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Szechuan chilli paste
  • sesame oil for frying

METHOD

  1. Heat the sesame oil on a medium-high heat. Fry the ginger and garlic for a few minutes.
  2. Add in the aubergine matchsticks and lower the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes and then give it a good, rapid stir. Add in the chilli paste and a little more oil and stir occasionally until the aubergine is soft.

Mapo Tofu (veganized)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packet mushrooms, diced finely
  • 4 tsp veg stock
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 block of soft tofu (silken would work also), cut into 1 inch cubes
  •  Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp veg oil
  • 3 small dried hot red peppers
  • 1 tbsp any spicy bean paste
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp finely ground Sichuan pepper
  • ½ cup slivered scallions, both white and green parts

METHOD

  1. Make a broth by adding hot water to the veg stock.
  2. Prepare the mushrooms by dicing them finely.
  3. Put sesame oil in a wok over medium heat. Add red peppers and bean paste and cook, stirring until fragrant for 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and let sizzle, then add mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sichuan pepper. Add the veg broth and cook mixture gently for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tofu cubes and shake the pan to distribute sauce well. While the tofu is still soft, try to avoid smashing it. Add in the cornstarch dissolved in a little water, gently swirling pan to incorporate (sauce will thicken) and simmer tofu in sauce for 2 minutes more on a low simmer.
  5. Serve this in a bowl, sprinkled with scallions.
Xièxiè and see you in Colombia! M + B x

CHILE

La Estrella Solitaria (The Lone Star) has been the flag of Chile since 1817. The star itself represents the independent state of Chile, free from Spanish rule in 1818.
COUNTRYCHILE
DishesEl Completo (hot dogs!)
Time 30 minutes
Effort 3/10
Rough cost £4
COUNTRY CHILE
Capital Santiago
Population 17,574,003 (64th largest)
Land mass 756,096 km2 (37th largest)
Languages Spanish
Religions86.2% Christian

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Chile is a large country, occupying a long and narrow strip of land along the lower Western side length of South America. It is among South America’s most prosperous nations and has a varied natural landscape, ranging from the Andes mountain range in the east to Pacific coastline in the West.

Its cuisine is characterised by MEAT but also lots of fresh produce and seafood, thanks to its topography. The El Completo is a street-food classic and named so because you would be ‘completely’ full after a few of these boys. Serve it up with whatever you wish; salad, rice, chips etc. and get stuck in.

RECIPES

El Completo (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

  •  Any sausages you like (we used vegan Richmonds)
  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (in the avocado)
  • Hot dog white rolls
  • Mayonnaise of choice
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves
  • *we also used some Sriracha!

METHOD (so easy)

  1. Pop the sausages in the oven to cook.
  2. Prepare all the ingredients in the meantime.
  3. Assembly = sausage in bun, top with tomato and mashed avocado, squeeze mayo over and sprinkle coriander on top! YUM!

Gracias and see you in China! M + B x

CHAD

This flag represents the colours of the French flag and the colours of the Pan-African flag. Interestingly its similarity with the flag of Romania has caused international dispute.
COUNTRYCHAD
DishesChadian sweet potato fritters (with lemon-tahini sauce)
Time 1 hour
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £3
COUNTRY CHAD
Capital N’Djamena
Population 13,670,084
Land mass 1,284,000 km2 (20th largest)
Languages Arabic, French, 200 other linguistic groups
Religions51% Islam

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Chad is a landlocked country in Northern Africa. It has a very mixed natural landscape and is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Islam and Arabic culture has a strong influence within the region of Chad, due to the Arab migrant population which began to settle in Chad in the 14th century. Therefore, we picked a dish this week which combined a classic African staple crop (yams) with flavours of Arabia (sesame-tahini + cinnamon).

This week Mwara made Chadian sweet potato fritters with a lemon + tahini sauce for dinner! We served it up with a fresh chopped salad and it was really tasty. We especially liked the string cinnamon flavour that came through and thought these pancakes would be just as good as a sweet meal! Delicious!

RECIPES

Chadian sweet potato fritters

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled + grated
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp of each, salt + pepper
  • DIP: 1/2 cup tahini, 1/2 juice of lemon, 2 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp za’atar

METHOD

  1. Peel the potatoes and grate them on the medium grater setting.
  2. Combine the rest of the sweet potato ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  3. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.
  4. Use your hands to form the sweet potato combination into golf-ball sized balls, and then press between your palms to flatten into a pancake.
  5. Fry the pancakes until they are golden brown, flipping them to cook through on each side.
  6. For the tahini dip = combine all the ingredients and mix well with a fork. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more water or lemon to taste!

Merci beaucoup + shukraan and see you in Chile! M + B

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

This has been the national flag since 1958. The colours represent France (red, blue) and Africa (green, yellow).
COUNTRYCentral African Republic
DishesKanda
Time 1.5 hours
Effort 6
Rough cost £4
COUNTRY Central African Republic
Capital Bangui
Population 4,666,368 (119th largest)
Land mass 622, 984 km2 (44th largest)
Languages French, Sango
Religions90% Christian

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

C.A.R is a landlocked country with landscape dominated by savannas, lying in the Ubangi River basin. The country gained independence from the French in 1960 but has unfortunately suffered a tumultuous time up to the present day.

Its cuisine if fairly typical of some of the other neighbouring countries we have visited; pap, maize, plantain, beans and chicken or fish for special occasions. Bridget cooked a veganised version of Kanda, which is beef and pumpkin seed meatball served in a tomato sauce. It was lovely and we served it rice in the C.A.R style.

RECIPES

Kanda

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packet of vegan mince (used meatless farm)
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 chili peppers (as hot as you want!)
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • ½ cup cold water (for meatballs)
  • 1½ cup water (for sauce)
  • ½ cup oil
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • I also added in a little bit of tomato passata to make more of a sauce!

METHOD

  1. Grind the pumpkin seeds to a powder in a food processor.
  2. Add in the meat, parsley, garlic and onion. Blitz well and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in ½ cup of cold water into the mixture and knead the mix to form a nice clean ball of ‘dough’. Put this in the fridge.
  4. Slice the other onion. Sauté in oil for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring regularly.
  5. Add the tomatoes and chili peppers and sauté again covered, for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour 1½ cup of water and increase the heat until the reaching a boil, then turn down to low heat. I added some extra passata at this point.
  7. Take the meatball mix back out of the fridge and form meatballs about the size of golf balls.
  8. Increase heat on the hob and place each meatball in the sauce very carefully.
  9. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes. At this point, add a splash more water and then cook for a further 20 minutes. The vegan mince was not obvious on cooking time but 30 minutes seem ok in the end.
  10. Serve with plain rice! YUM!

Merci beaucoup and Singila mingi and see you in Chad! M + B x

CANADA

The Maple Leaf, or L’Unifolié, is the unofficial name for the National Flag of Canada, adopted in 1965.
COUNTRYCANADA
DishesPudding Chomeur, Vegan Poutine, Tourtiere, Yellow Split-pea soup, Sugar-Shack Brunch
Time 1 hour per dish
Effort 6/10 total
Rough cost About £20 for all 4 dishes
COUNTRY CANADA
Capital Ottawa
Population 37,971,020 (38th largest)
Land mass 9,984,670 km2 (2nd largest)
Languages English, French
Religionslarge list

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

OH CANADA…Mwara was born and raised in Quebec and we have family over there. So Canada-week was our biggest feast yet! We appealed to our Canadian couzies for suggestions and went all-out.

Pudding Chomeur – a classic dessert traditionally made with heavy cream and maple syrup, but I made a vegan version using brown sugar and water. SO SYRUPY! Vegan poutine – with vegan cashew mozzarella and tofu curds. 10/10 incredible. Yellow split-pea soup – delicious, simple and wholesome. Tourtiere – a warming, flaky meat pie that you can put MAPLE SYRUP on. And to top it off, Canadian Sugar Shack Brunch – an absolute extravaganza of pancakes, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and a s*** ton of MAPLE SYRUP. oh yeeeeaaaaaa….

RECIPES

Pudding Chomeur *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 big pinch of salt
  • 280g brown sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 2 tsp vegan butter
  • 2 tsp vegan butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 chia / flaxseed egg
  • 80ml plant milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Prepare the syrup by combining the brown sugar, water and vegan butter in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 8 minutes.
  3. Prepare the batter by vegan beating butter in a bowl. Gradually add sugar, then beat in the egg. Then slowly beat in the flour mixture, alternating with milk. Add vanilla. Transfer the cake batter into a (23x13cm) loaf tin.
  4. Pour the warm syrup on top of cake batter. Bake until the cake is set and the syrup falls the bottom, around 30-40 minutes. *enjoy the syrupy goodness, reminiscent of school-dinner syrup sponge

Vegan Poutinewith vegan mozzarella !

INGREDIENTS

Mozarella

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion
  • BISTO (we cheated hehe)
  • 10 good-sized potatoes, cut into fries
  • Olive oil
  • salt + pepper

METHOD

  1. Coat the fries well in olive oil and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C until crisp and golden.
  2. Make the vegan mozzarella by blitzing all the ingredients in a blender on high until very smooth.
  3. Pour it into a saucepan on a medium heat and stir it continuously until it thickens (about 5 mins).
  4. Fry the onion, sliced fine, in some oil, until golden.
  5. Make the gravy = Bisto, boiling water, fried onions!
  6. SERVE – basically in whatever way you want. *we also made tofu curds which were yummy too but in our opinion the mozzarella won out!

Tourtiere

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • ¼ tsp ground sage
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 recipe for pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

METHOD

  1. In a saucepan, combine beef, onion, garlic, water, salt, thyme, sage, black pepper and cloves. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils; stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is cooked, for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
  3. Spoon the meat filling into the pie crust. Place the top crust on and pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in top crust so steam can escape. Cover the edges with strips of aluminium foil to prevent burning.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove foil and return to oven. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing. *we had this with the sugar-shack brunch !

Yellow split-pea soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 1/4 cups yellow split peas
  • 8 cups water, or more if needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, to serve

METHOD

  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, celery, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the yellow split peas
  4. Pour in the water, bringing it the boil and stirring in the bay leaf.
  5. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, until most of the split peas have fallen apart and are tender, stirring from time-to-time.
  6. Add in any extra salt and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
  7. SERVE! Garnish with yogurt and fresh coriander. We also made fresh soda-bread.

Sugar-Shack Brunch ! *vegan option inc. (its an easy one)

INGREDIENTS

  • sausages (meat / vegan)
  • bacon / facon
  • scrambled eggs
  • LOTS of maple syrup
  • vegan pancakes = flour, plant milk, cooked in coconut oil
  • orange juice
  • fresh coffee

METHOD

  1. Make as many fresh pancakes as you desire!
  2. Cook as much meat / substitute and eggs as you desire!
  3. Lay it all out on the table with coffee + OJ…
  4. POUR MAPLE SYRUP IN EVERYTHING + MUNCH!

THANK YOU and see you in the Central African Republic! M + B x

CAMEROON

This flag was adopted in 1975 when Cameroon became a unitary state. The star is the ‘star of unity’.
COUNTRYCAMEROON
DishesPoulet de General
Time 1 hour
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £6
COUNTRY CAMEROON
Capital Yaounde
Population 26,545,864 (51st largest)
Land mass 475,442 km2 (53rd largest)
Languages French + English (official), 250 native languages
Religions70% Christian

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cameroon is a Central African country, bordered by 6 other countries and a beautiful coastline. Given to France following WWI, Cameroon then became independent in 1960. It is referred to as “Africa in miniature” as its cultural and natural landscape is so diverse.

Its cuisine features a lot of the staples of African cooking; plantain, maize, cassava, yams and groundnuts. We went for a classic dish – Poulet DG! The dish Poulet de General is so named as it used to exclusively be served to the upper classes in Cameroon. Chicken and plantain were very special ingredients in those times, making this dish a real treat. However, due to the expense, meat in general still remains an ingredient for special occasions, meaning Poulet DG still is a right old celebration meal! YUM.

RECIPES

Poulet de General (DG)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large ripe plantains 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 8 medium tomatoes, blended
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 4 seasoning cubes
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 stems parsley
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 handful green beans
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 habanero (hot) pepper

METHOD

  1. Step one – make the spice blend! Combine the garlic, ginger, celery, parsley, hot pepper and half the onion in a blender. Add in half a cup of water and blend to a paste.
  2. Wash your chicken well, pat it dry then cut it up. Place chicken slices in a pot. Add in 3/4 of the spice blend, half a teaspoon of salt, 2 seasoning cubes, half of the pepper and a cup of water. Cover and let it cook on medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
  3. While its cooking, put oil in another pot and heat on medium. Cut plantain into circles and deep fry until golden brown.
  4. When chicken is done, remove from stock and place on a prepared on an oiled + foiled baking tray. Put it in the oven at 200 degrees C to grill for about 15 minutes.
  5. Take the plantain pan and remove most of the oil to keep for another time. Now place the remaining oil in a pot, on medium-high heat.
  6. When the oil is hot, put in all the remaining onions in to saute them. Then add in the tomatoes, stirring occasionally for 5 mins.
  7. Add in the rest of the spice blend and let it cook for 2 minutes. Then add in chicken stock, remaining seasoning cubes and white pepper. Stir well and let them simmer together for two minutes.
  8. Add in chicken and stir. Add in fried plantains, then stir well too. Finally, add in all the rest of the chopped vegetables and give it a good mix. You can some tablespoons of water, if it looks too dry but make sure the plantain do not get too mushy. Heat everything for two minutes and then turn off the hob.
  9. Serve hot with a spoon for the broth and enjoy!

Merci Beaucoup and see you in the motherland – CANADA! M + B x

CAMBODIA

This flag was instated in 1948. It features a symbol of Angkor Wat, making it one of the only six countries to feature an image of a building on its flag.
CountryCAMBODIA
RecipesChhar Kroerung Morn (chicken with Cambodian 5-spice)
Time2 hours
Effort6/10
Cost£6
Country CAMBODIA
Capital Phnom Penh
Population 15,288,489 (73rd largest)
Area181,035 km2 (88th largest)
Language Khmer (official), 19 indigenous languages
Religion 98% Buddhism

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, it is located in the southern point of South-East Asia, bordered by Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. It has been ruled by an elective monarchy since 802 AD, whose rule has been enshrined in the Buddhist faith. Angkor Wat is the most famous of the countries Buddhist structures, containing over more than 1,000 temples alone. Cambodia suffered a tumultuous 20th century period, namely the 1975-1979 genocide and the US bombings of 1969-1973 following the Vietnam war. Living standards in Cambodia still remain tough unfortunately.

However, Cambodia has a rich culture, full of French, Buddhist and Hindu influences. It’s cuisine features staples of rice, fish, noodles, lemon grass, kaffir limes, fish sauce and oyster sauce, tamarind and chilli. Street food is particularly popular in Cambodia. This week Mwara prepared the classic 5-spice paste, which is used in many Cambodian dishes. Then she used it to cook a traditional Cambodian chicken dish called Chhar Kroerung Morn. We’ve decided to always have jar of paste in the fridge – it was that good.

RECIPES

Kroeurng Chhar Kroeurng (Cambodian 5-spice paste)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 stalks of lemongrass, finely sliced
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves
  • 6 round slices of fresh turmeric
  • 8 round slices of fresh galanga
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 3-5 small chillis (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups water

METHOD

  1. Wash all the ingredients throughly and allow them to dry.
  2. Blend all the ingredients for 3-5 minutes at a high speed until smooth. Add extra water if the paste is too stiff.
  3. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

Chhar Kroeurng Morn (chicken with Cambodian 5-spice)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs chicken, diced in bite-sized chunks
  • 2 small bell peppers, julienned
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup Cambodian 5-spice paste
  • 1 cup veg stock
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp roast unsalted ground peanuts
  • 1/4 cup veg oil
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 stems spring onions, sliced in strips
  • 20 red basil leaves
  • 1 tsp ground chillis

METHOD

  1. Heat the veg oil in a wok (or frying pan). Toss the garlic for 15 seconds and then add the 5-spice paste.
  2. Then add the chicken chunks and toss well for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the veg stock and let it simmer on a high heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the fish sauce, chilli, sugar, oyster sauce and water. Then add the bell peppers and the small onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Garnish with basil leaves, ground peanuts and spring onion. We served with flat rice noodles in ramen bowls with ramen spoons!

Saum Arkoun and see you in Cameroon! M + B x

CABO VERDE

The national flag was adopted in September 1992 to mark its independence of 1975. The 10 yellow stars represent the 10 volcanic islands in the archipelago.
CountryCABO VERDE
RecipesCapucha
Time1 hour
Effort6/10
Cost£7
Country CABO VERDE
Capital Praia
Population 543,767 (172nd largest)
Area4,033 km2 (166th largest)
Language Portuguese (official), Cape Verdean Creole
Religion 85% Christianity

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cabo Verde (a.k.a Cape Verde) is an island nation in the central Atlantic Ocean, off of the most western point of the coast of Africa. The island was populated by Portuguese colonial settlers in the 15th century, achieving independence in 1975. It’s culture is a mix of European and African, similar to those of rural Portugal. For example, music is a cultural bedrock of the archipelago.

The cuisine features staples like fish, corn, rice, tuber vegetables and bananas. One of the most popular dishes is Cachupa, which is a slow-cooked stew of corn, beans and fish/meat. It can also include sweet potatoes or cassava. This is what Mwara cooked this week and it went down a treat. Another nice and easy slow cooker stew! She served it up with polenta cake and greens. YUM.

RECIPES

Cachupa

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 tin corn
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • 500g Chicken / Beef rib, cubed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 4 tsp veg stock, with hot water

METHOD

  1. Heat some veg oil in a heavy frying pan. Brown the onion for 3 minutes and stir in the garlic, bay leaves and chilli for 1 minute.
  2. Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker. Turn on medium-high and cook for 3-4 hours. The meat should be soft and tender, and the vegetables cooked through.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and let it stand for 30 minutes before serving. Dish it up with polenta or another type of grain, sprinkled with fresh coriander.

Obrigado and see you in Cambodia! M + B

BURUNDI

This flag was adopted in 1962 when Burundi gained independence from Belgium. The three stars represent the three main ethnic groups of Burundi; the Hutu, Twa and Tutsi.
CountryBURUNDI
RecipesIbiharage
Time20 minutes
Effort2/10
Cost£1
Country BURUNDI
Capital Gitega
Population 11,865,821 (84th largest)
Area27,834 km2 (142nd largest)
Language Kirundi, French, English
Religion 91% Christianity

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Burundi is another land-locked West African country, formerly a French (Belgian) colony. In fact, Germany and Belgium ruled Rwanda and Burundi as a joint colony from 1919-1962. However, the ethnic Burundians lived there for more than 500 years. The country has the second highest population density in Africa but has a largely rural population, with its main sector being agriculture.

Burundian Red Kidney Bean Stew does traditionally have plantain in it, however lockdown meant there was no way we were getting our hands on that ingredient. It is served usually with rice and cornmeal porridge pap. For the LAST OF THE B’s (woohoo) we kept it plain and simple.

RECIPES

Ibiharage (bean stew)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • splash of water
  • optional: chilli powder/flakes

METHOD

  1. Fry the onion in veg oil on a medium heat until golden brown. Then Stir in the garlic for one minute.
  2. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Lower the heat and cook off the liquid.
  3. Season to taste and add chilli if you wish. Serve with rice!

Merci Beacoup and see you in Cabo Verde! M + B


BURKINA FASO

Burkina Faso means ‘land of honest men’
CountryBURKINA FASO
RecipesRiz Gras, Peanut Stew
Time1 hr prep., 2hr cook
Effort6/10
Cost£5
Country BURKINA FASO
Capital Ouagadougou
Population 21, 510, 181 (58th largest)
Area274, 200 km2 (74th largest)
Language French
Religion 60% Islam

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Burkina Faso is a landlocked former French colony in West Africa, which gained independence in 1984. Its cuisine is typical of West Africa with staples of rice, maize, peanuts, chicken and fish. Mwara made the national dish of Riz Gras, which literally means ‘Fat Rice’. We cheated a bit by omitting the traditional chicken and using the slow cooker! Bridget made a vegan version of West African peanut stew, substituting chicken for fake chick’n strips from ASDA. This was so tasty and we are loving eating all these peanuts in savoury dishes. Yum!

RECIPES

Riz Gras *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chillis
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup veg oil
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp veg stock
  • 12 cups long-grain white rice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Put the chillis, garlic, tomatoes and onion into a food processor and pulse until you get a nice paste. Then heat the oil over medium heat and add the paste to the pan. Cook for 8 minutes, then remove from the fire and set aside.
  2. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Then add it to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Check it, then cook for another 10 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.
  3. Serve with thin slices of onion.

Peanut Stew *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  •  3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 hot chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 Celery Stalks, finely diced
  • 2 Bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cabbage, chopped
  •  3 Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Water
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1 packet of vegan meat-substitute e.g. chik’n, tofu, quorn

METHOD

  1. In a large frying pan, fry the onions on a medium heat until they are golden brown. Stir in the chopped garlic and chilli for two minutes.
  2. Then add the rest of the chopped veg and meat substitute, stirring on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water and veg stock, stirring it in, along with the tomato paste. Reduce the heat and bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the peanut butter and stir until the sauce thickens.

Merci Beacoup and see you in Burundi! M + B