African Red hot recipes - EDU

African Red hot recipes

If you consider our curries already quite hot, wait till you've tried the Ethiopian lentil stew, or the red chicken curry 'Dorowat', you'll have smoke bellowing out of your ears. We haven't heard too much about African cuisine here, except for a passing mention of them being loaded with nuts and spices. And mostly because we have no reference point barring the few typical Middle-Eastern and Lebanese recipes we have tried and perfected over the years. But if spicy food is your thing, be assured you'll simply fall for the big flavours from the kitchens of Africa.

At the heart of Ethiopian cooking is the 'Injera', a flat bread made of teff flour savoured with the Dorowat, a red Ethiopian chicken stew, or the Segawat, a lamb stew. Typically the flat bread is of the texture and consistency of a dosa, only it is at least four times its size, and finer, as it is meant to be shared with the whole family from the same platter.

Says Sudha Kukreja, owner of Blanco, a multi-cuisine restaurant and bar in Khan Market, New Delhi, which recently set up an African cuisine festival, "If an Indian dish uses three spices the African one would have nine or ten. And the same goes with fish too."

Comparing the two different styles of cooking, she says, the difference lies in the way the two cuisines are cooked, and not in the ingredients. Unlike Indian, African food is never cooked, it is in fact simmered for a very long time. Their grills are more simply marinated than ours, and their staple ingredients are corn, white millet and rice, while ours are wheat and rice. Their cooking, except Ethiopian, is not curry oriented as ours, and the use of lentils too is quite restricted.

Sudha picked up the flavours during her travels to Africa particularly Tanzania and Ethiopia. She ate out at the local eateries, at posh hotels, everywhere she could to get a sense of the aesthetics of African cooking, and on returning trained her chefs to adapt the same for her restaurant. She points out another subtle difference between the two cuisines, "African food is not as evolved for royalty as some Indian dishes. It is more of a common man's food that is simple and easy to put together."

An ideal main course spread would be an Injera served with perhaps the world's most refreshing and unique salad, the Sheba salad inspired by the legendary queen of Sheba that has a large green chilli pepper dissected to reveal a filling of tomatoes, sweet onions and a dash of pepperoni. The size of the green chilli pepper can be intimidating to even a chilli-addict, still you are expected to cast aside your apprehensions and take a large bite of what they call a salad to know for yourself. Only meant to tantalise your taste buds, the juicy chilli gives you a buzz but not a chilli burn, and together with the sweet and tangy flavour of the Salsa-like filling it absolutely refreshes your senses. A classic, that!

Another way would be to combine a bowl of steamed rice with the vegetarian stew that is actually a flavourful blend of leafy greens, corn, carrot, cauliflower in a sweet and creamy coconut peanut stew. Or you could even go for the Kuku Paka which is a chicken, vegetable and peanut stew served with spiced rice.

Similarities to Indian cooking notwithstanding, will we shuffle out of our comfort zone to even experiment with a lesser-known cuisine such as Tanzanian or Ethiopian? Sudha has no doubts, for she feels at least Delhi is ready for it owing to an influx of new cuisines that come in bold, new flavours such as Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, and Malaysian to name a few. She adds, "Besides, African cooking offers a lot of options to vegetarians, and is loaded with elements from our own cuisine such as spice levels, simple cooking methods and common ingredients."

On that note, here are some recipes from the Ethiopian and Tanzanian kitchens shared by executive chef Raj Kumar of Blanco. The recipes are easy to make, and give you a sense of authentic African cooking.

Lentil stew

1 1/2 cup red lentils
2 white onions chopped
1/4 tea spoon black pepper minced
4 tomatoes blanched deseeded
4 cups vegetable broth
1 inch ginger grated
1 tea spoon turmeric powder
1/2 tea spoon Berbere (Ethiopian spice mix) or 1 tea spoon Garam masala
1/2 tea spoon cayenne peppers
Salt to taste
Niter kibbeh (spice butter) 5 drops
1 tablespoon olive oil

- Wash and rinse the lentils
- Saute onions and in olive oil until translucent
- Add broth or water
- Add tomato puree
- Add cayenne pepper
- Add Garam masala
- When gently boiling, add lentils
- Turn down heat and simmer until lentils are tender and it's a thick dryish stew
- Add berbere
- Add niter kibbeh and serve on injera or with bread

Green chilli salad

8 green huge plump chillies (1/2 inches long) slit and deseeded
1/2 Cucumber chopped
1 onion white sweet
2 tomatoes chopped and deseeded
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 /4 tea spoon cayenne peppers
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 /8 teaspoon garam masala

- Mix vinegar olive oil, salt, garam masala, and cayenne pepper well
- Add cucumber, tomatoes and onions to it
- Mix well
- Fill it in the green chillies and serve

Spice rice

2 cups boiled rice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 teaspoon Berbere or garam masala mixed with cayenne peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
6 corn kernel cooked

- Heat up the oil
- Add Berbere to it
- Add corn
- Add salt
- Add dill
- Add rice and mix well
- Serve immediately

Kuku Paka (chicken curry)

Chicken 500 gms
2 tablespoons grated ginger root.
1/4 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons oil (divided)
Salt (divided)
2 small white onion chopped
1 green chilli
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tomatoes
200ml coconut milk
1/8 table spoon lime juice
4 hardboiled and peeled eggs
2 potatoes diced
6 cloves
1/2 tea spoon white pepper powder

- Marinate the chicken with lime juice half ginger paste and garlic powder
- Heat up the oil and saute the onions in it for two minutes, and add cumin and clove
- Add the chicken pieces cook for about 2 minutes
- Add potatoes and balance ginger with turmeric
- Add tomatoes and chilli pepper and cook for six minutes
- Add coconut milk, sugar and white pepper
- Serve it with rice

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