Friday, March 26, 2010

African Food

Last weekend we made African food: Corn and Plantain Soup from Cameroon, Yam Balls which are common throughout Africa, and Beef Kofta Curry.  We used old onions and green onions in the yam balls and something was moldy... yuck.  But the soup and curry were both good.  But everything was pretty at least!  And none of the dishes were particularly hard, the hardest thing was coordinating all of it.

Plantain and Corn Soup
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion
1 garlic clove
10oz yellow plantains
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1 cup corn
1 tsp dried tarragon
3 3/4 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 green chili, seeded and chopped
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes
  2. Add plantains, tomato and corn and cook for 5 minutes
  3. Add taragon, vegetable or chicken stock, chili, and salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes or until plantain is tender.  Stir in the nutmeg and serve.
Yam Balls
1 lb white yam (we used sweet potatoes)
2 Tbsp finely chopped onions
3 Tbsp chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (we used dried)
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
Seasoned flour for dusting

  1. Peel the yam, cut into pieces and boil in salted water until tender (about 30 minutes).  Drain and mash
  2. Add onion, tomatoes, thme, chili, spring onion, garlic, then stir in the egg and season and mix well.
  3.  Scoop a little of the mixture to make balls, roll them in seasoned flour until you have formed all the balls.
  4. Heat a little oil in large frying pan and then fry the balls in batches for a few minutes until golden brown.  Drain the yam balls on kitchen paper and keep them warm while cooking the rest of the mixture.  Serve hot.
Beef Kofta Curry (says it serves 4, we made half and I'd say we got 3-4 meals out of it when served over rice)
For meatballs:
1 lb ground beef
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
4 Tbsp flour
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander
1 fresh green chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1 egg
salt and ground pepper
For the sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, vurshed
3 Tbsp curry powder
4 green cardamom pods (we substituted at the exchange rate of 10 pods/tsp ground cardamom)
1 pint cups hot beef stock or water
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Make the meatballs by putting meat in bowl and mixing in all remaining meatball ingredients.  Mix well with your hands and roll into small balls or koftas and set aside.
  2. Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat and fry the garlic and onion for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft
  3. Reduce heat then add the curry powder, and cardamom pods and cook for a few minutes stirring well (ground cardamom maybe should be added later, I'm not sure)
  4. Slowly stir in the stock or water and add the tomato paste, yogurt and chopped coriander and stir well.
  5. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, add koftas a few at a time, allow to cook briefly and then add more until all are in the pan.  Simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes until the koftas are cooked through.  Avoid stirring, but gently shake the pan occassionally to move the koftas around.  The curry should thicken slightly but if it becomes too dry, add a little more water.  Serve hot with rice.

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