Fun Fact Friday: Burundi (with poll)

Lake Tanganyika. Photo Courtesy of Andreas

While you are reading this, I'm on a plane. Flying to Virginia. On Friday the 13th.  The flight left at 6 am. Yes, I made the reservations. Who knows what I was thinking. All I can hope for is a little relaxation. I bet I could find some at this beach, in Burundi... For today's FFF,I thought it would be fun to share 4 first hand accounts of meals in Burundi, followed by our weekly poll: Lunch at the Market restaurant A heaping plate of rice and peas in tomato and onion … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Recipe: Pili-Pili hot sauce

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Pili-Pili (also called Piripiri) is the kind of hot sauce that puts hair on a man's chest. And, possibly, even a woman's. This basic African condiment was introduced by the Portuguese in the 1500's. To give you an idea of how intense pili-pili is, imagine this true story: Positioned just outside the second room, where we would shake the president's hand, sat a vast array of spicy delicacies, accompanied by bowls of pili-pili sauce for dipping. For the uninitiated, Pili-pili (pronounced … [Read more...]

Menu: Burundi

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If you are looking for something quick and easy, Burundian food is for you. This fresh, healthy meal can easily be sized up for a crowd. Be sure to serve this meal with a big pot of white rice on the side. Fish with Tomatoes and Onion [Recipe] Light and healthy cod fish steamed with tomatoes, onion, a hint of habenero and red palm oil. Traditional recipes use Ndagala or mukéké. Red Kidney Beans with Plantains [Recipe] Spicy chili powder brings red kidney beans to life, while mildly … [Read more...]

About the Food of Burundi

Fishermen on Lake Tanganyika. Photo courtesy of Francesca Ansaloni

Nestled up to the largest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika, is the tiny country of Burundi. There, amidst the rolling hills and the lush tropics, live a people surviving on a simple bounty of beans, bananas, plantains, maize (corn), cassava, sweet potato, and peas. Peek under the lid of any Burundian pot, and you'll likely find red kidney beans. Cooked simply with a little red palm oil, onion, and spicy chili powder, the nutrient rich bean becomes a delight.  To avoid monotony, many … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Burkina Faso

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"The smell is making my eyes water. One bite, and I can't get the flavor out of my mouth! It's like I'm still eating it. That counts, right?" Keith looked at me with his best puppy dog eyes. And, since his eyes are hazel, he didn't look much like a puppy. "Just eat half of it," I said. "I can't," he replied, turning his plate so the Babenda was as far away as possible. I kept eating, thinking about how fishy the Babenda tasted. Maybe he would eat some more of the unusual West … [Read more...]

Recipe: Iced Hibiscus Drink with Fresh Pineapple (Bissap a la Bonne Dame)

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Makes 1.75 liters (plus the pineapple) Chilled hibiscus tea is light and refreshing. The natural floral tang is a wonderful counterpart to sweet pineapple chunks. Kids will love fishing out the fruit in this totally and wonderfully decaffeinated iced tea. VARIATION: Some recipes call for equal parts lemonade to hibiscus tea. We tried this "pink lemonade" and loved it! Ingredients: small handful hibiscus flowers (or 4 teabags) 6 cups boiling water 4 cups ice 1 pineapple, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spiced Lamb Kabobs (Brochettes)

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Serves 4 Borasheht (or brochettes/kabobs) can be any sort of skewered meat. In our recipe, tender pieces of lamb are marinated in a spicy sauce. As you bite into the lamb,  your mouth fills with a hint of cinnamon and garlic, mild tang from the vinegar, and a steady, creeping burn from the cayenne (about mild, on my scale). NOTE: If you would like some extra heat on the side, try our Kan Kan Kan spice blend, popular in Burkina Faso. Ingredients: 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spiced Peanut Powder (Kan Kan Kan)

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Makes about 1/2 cup This is my own version of the jarred Kan Kan Kan spice blend popular in Burkina Faso. The raw peanut powder offers a slight grassy flavor, dominated by heat from the chili powder and saltiness from the bouillon. Try with our Grilled Lamb Brochettes. While the jarred stuff alleges to be an aphrodisiac, I happened upon the description of this spice blend on an expat blog which - unfortunately -I can no longer track down. I mixed it together to taste. If you want the … [Read more...]