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...]

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...]

Monday Meal Review: Benin

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In my humble opinion, the highs and lows of life are equally worthy of a great meal. Highs are cause for pompous, celebratory food that leaps, dancing into your mouth, while lows beg for rich, fattening foods that slide in softly and ground you (and your belly). It is therefore fitting that this week of highs (seeing Anthony Bourdain live at the Tulsa PAC) and lows (a miserable husband with a giant kidney stone that just won't pass) be acknowledged with a special feast. As chance would have it, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Pureed Black-eyed Peas

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Serves 4 Pureed Black-eyed peas are smooth and creamy thanks to peeling the beans. If you do not have the patience for peeling the beans, use a food mill or omit the step all-together. The resulting mash is rich and flavorful, but it looks a lot like mashed potatoes so you might give unsuspecting guests a heads-up. Ingredients: 2 cups dried black-eyed peas salt pepper 1 stick butter Method: 1. Soak beans overnight in cool water. Drain the beans and slip the skins off. For … [Read more...]

Recipe: Crabs from Benin (Crabe Beninoise)

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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: Coconut Rice

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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...]

Fun Fact Friday: Benin (with poll)

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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...]

Menu: Benin

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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...]