Monday Meal Review: Burundi

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Burundi reminds me of my mother - wonderfully inventive with just a few ingredients. She could whip up dinner with a bucket of cement if she had to. Although made with simple, affordable ingredients, the plate you see before you is a feast worthy of any table - spicy, sweet, fresh, flavorful - betraying no signs of poverty or struggle. What a lesson we can learn from the creativity and fortitude of Burundi. Getting Ava to eat her meal was also a lesson in creativity and fortitude. A … [Read more...]

Recipe: Red Kidney Beans with Plantains

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Serves 4 If you can make this African bean dish a day ahead, please do. The sauce will thicken and coat every millimeter of the beans with chili and onion goodness. Great side dish for a party! Ingredients: 3 cups prepared red kidney beans (2 cans) 2 Tbsp red palm oil 1 onion, sliced 1 plantain, sliced salt 1 tsp chili powder 2 cups water Method: 1. Heat oil over medium heat, cook onion 2. Add beans, plantains, salt, and chili pepper. Cook for a minute. 3. Add water … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fish in Tomato Sauce

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Serves 2-3 Make this African dish with your favorite white fish. In Burundi, they use whole Ndagala or mukéké. The tomatoes and onion make a fresh, brothy sauce, while a pinch of fresh parsley enhances the flavor. Sometimes the fish is fried separately, then added to the sauce. I prefer the health benefits of gently steaming the fish over the sauce. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp red palm oil 1 lb fish (we used cod) 1 onion, chopped 3 tomatoes, chopped 1 habenero (whole or … [Read more...]

Witness the sights and tastes of Burundi

In this first video, you'll see the longest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika, as well as mukeke, one of the fish that comes from these beautiful waters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdQNsuAwk3E&feature=related In this second video you'll view scenery from the small lakes region of Burundi, as well as spectacular fresh produce. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0t0B_eus6A Finally, watch drumming performances at the Avocado Oil Festival, followed by a display of food made with … [Read more...]

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...]