Recipe: Crabs from Benin (Crabe Beninoise)

800.img_2936

Serves 4 This crab dish is contains a classic Beninoise combination: onion, pepper, and tomato. Please use fresh tomatoes... I only had canned and the flavor of the can totally takes over (in a bad way). I know, I know. I should have my blog taken away from me for doing it, but I forgot to buy fresh at the store. Just proof that I'm human :) Ingredients: 1-2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 cup onion, minced 1/2 cup diced tomato (I didn't have fresh on hand so I had to use canned. I just … [Read more...]

Recipe: Baby Bananas in Orange Sauce

800.img_2961

Serves 2 Bananas in orange sauce is a fresh, summery way to use bananas as a dessert topping. When we made the Baked Brown Sugar Bananas for Antigua and Barbuda (made with brown sugar, rum and butter) I didn't think they could be beat, but these west African bananas are totally different and just as yummy!! Ingredients: 1/2 cup orange juice 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional) 2 slightly under-ripe bananas NOTE: We used red bananas which are about 4 inches long, you … [Read more...]

Recipe: Coconut Rice

800.img_2919

Serves 2-4 Found both in the Caribbean and parts of Africa, coconut rice is rich and fragrant. The strong flavor goes particularly well with grilled meats and spicy sauces. We even used some leftovers in an asian-style salad with spicy peanut dressing. NOTE: Wondering how to make plain rice? The technique is the same, just substitute water for coconut milk. Ingredients: 1 cup coconut milk 1 cup water 1 cup white rice salt & pepper Method: 1. Heat coconut milk and water … [Read more...]

Listen to a complicated love song from Benin

The first three and a half minutes of this video tell the story of a couple who are engaged. In the story the man's friend makes a pass on the woman. She refuses his advances and tells her fiancé what happened. The fiance then goes to confront him, but the friend says that he was just testing the woman's fidelity. The singer says for us to judge for ourselves. Then the chorus says that the friendship is true. After 3'30 the people start dancing a really interesting local … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Benin (with poll)

beninfood

Because there is a shortage of information on Benin, I had to dig really deep to find some fun facts. In my search I happened upon a lovely blog by a young woman named Jen. Jen is an American who spent 2 years in Benin for the Peace Corps. I enjoyed reading through her experiences (although I am sad to report that they end mid-trip, suddenly and without explanation). First, I want to share a picture I found of her cooking class in Benin. You will see the lengths Jen and the other students … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Peeling Beans

800.img_2826

I spent the better part of a day peeling beans for our Benin Global Table. This is partially because it takes an eternity to peel beans and partially because my husband became incapacitated by kidney stones. All day we ran around to the doctor, the lab, and the prescription house. I didn't take my beans with me which, of course, set me back several hours - but prevented me from looking like a crazy woman. Here's how to peel beans: First things first. Soak 2 cups of beans overnight. 2 cups … [Read more...]

Menu: Benin

MENU

Although Benin is an impoverished country with many people living off a simple diet of fufu, yam, rice, and beans, the cuisine also offers upscale, global flavors, most notably influenced by French flavors and techniques.  For example, this menu features crab, an commonly fished for in the south of Benin, prepared in a simplified French manner with eggs and vegetables. Crabs from Benin [Recipe] Lump crabmeat baked with egg, onion, garlic, tomato, and hot chili … [Read more...]

About the food of Benin

bn_large_locator

Tall, thin, and irregular, Benin juts deep into the African continent, resembling a smoked turkey leg (which just happens to be my favorite fair food here in Oklahoma). Thanks to this unusual geography there is a notable difference between the food in the semi-arid north and the tropical south. Traditional Cuisine: Corn is the starch of choice in the more fertile south, whereas yams are more popular in the dry north. In both cases, the starch is cooked down into a mush-like consistency … [Read more...]