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...]

Video Saturday: Burundi

Happy Saturday! 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. httpv://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. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0t0B_eus6A Finally, watch drumming performances at the Avocado Oil Festival, followed by a display … [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...]

Menu: Burkina Faso

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One day of 100+ degree weather is bad enough. My thermostat showed 105 twice in the last three days. Heck, it was 100F before noon yesterday! This is a summer heat blizzard of epic proportions. The worst part? You can't shovel it away. In light of our heat wave, I put together a Burkinabe menu that can be made without much indoor heat. The kabobs are perfect for the grill, the Kan Kan Kan requires no cooking (hurrah), and the hibiscus tea is steeped in a bit of boiling water and then chilled … [Read more...]

About the Food of Burkina Faso

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Burkina Faso is a dizzying landscape of dusty red plains and grassy savannas, broken up by stunning rock formations that tower above the ground. The culinary landscape of Burkina Faso is similar - plain, sparse even - with the occasional burst of unexpected flavor. Let me explain. Most meals are centered around pieces of Tô, a firm ball of white starch made with millet, sorghum, or corn. These bland balls are wonderfully adaptive because they take on the flavor the broths, soups, and … [Read more...]