Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Cameroonian food is influenced by France, the former colonizer, as well as the rest of the African continent. Staple foods are yams, cassava, rice, and corn, and most people eat fish because meat is expensive. The national dish is called Ndole, and it's a spicy stew with bitterleaf, peanut paste, and some sort of meat or fish. I didn't make it because I found a recipe for a dish called Poulet Directeur Général, so obviously I had to make that. Bonus: it was delicious. So was the rice. Unfortunately, I learned an important lesson about the plantains: when they say ripe plantains, that does not actually just mean "the ripest Shoppers has." It means go shopping a week early and let a partially green plantain actually ripen so it's not icky.

Poulet Directeur Général

One chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces (I used drumsticks)
One-quarter cup oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
One Maggi® (chicken bouillon) cube
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tbsp dried parsley
One garlic clove, minced
Two carrots, chopped
Haricots verts or thin French green beans, ends trimmed
Two or three sweet peppers (bell peppers): green, yellow, orange, or red, cleaned and chopped
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
one onion, chopped

Combine chicken, a tablespoon of oil, spices, carrots, green beans, and peppers in a bowl. Stir well. Let marinate for one to three hours.
Heat remaining oil in a very large skillet or dutch oven. Add onions and fry briefly, until they begin to become translucent. Add chicken and fry over high heat until lightly browned.
Add remaining ingredients, except tomatoes which should be saved for last. Reduce heat. Do not cover.
Simmer, stirring regularly, until chicken is done and liquid partly evaporated, leaving some sauce. (Add warm water by the tablespoon if the pot becomes dry before the chicken is done.) Add tomatoes, and simmer for a few minutes more.

Blue-Coconut Jolofe Rice

1/2 Onion, chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 bayleaf
3/4 cup long-grain rice, washed
1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
hot pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

Fry the Onion in hot oil, in a large saucepan, for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. While stirring, fry over a moderate heat 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, bay leaf 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.

Caramelized Ripe Plantains

1 ripe plantain
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar

Peel the plantains and slice them into 1/2-inch rounds.
Heat the oil or margarine to foaming in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Add the plantain slices to the heated oil or margarine and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and slightly caramelized.
Sprinkle the plantain slices with the Sugar, allow the Sugar to caramelize slightly, then remove the plantains from the skillet.
Serve warm.
This is not a ripe plantain.


  1. That rice looks especially delicious! I haven't had a plantain before. Did the recipe still turn out okay even though it wasn't properly ripe?

  2. Kate-

    I love the idea of this blog! I'm teaching People, Land and Food in the Spring and could use some good recipes, seriously! Though I'm not sure how I can fit 40 undergrads into a working kitchen.

    Glad to hear you are applying to the master's program as well.