August 17, 2007

African Recipes

About 24 years ago Chicago still had a great Folk Fair & this was my family's favorite food -- even my then 4 year old (now 28) adored this.  I prefer making this with frozen chopped spinach though.  African cooking tends to be spicy, so feel free to increase the cayenne pepper.

NIGERIAN SPINACH STEW

1/2 TBSP shrimp, diced
1 TBSP cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 small tomato, mashed finely
2 lbs leaf spinach, or 2 - 10 oz. packages frozen leaf spinach
1 TBSP onions, grated
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 lb. meat, or fish or a combination of both

Boil meat or fish in a little water until tender.  Drain.  Combine cayenne, tomato, onion & cook in hot peanut oil until done.  Stir in shrimp, add leaf spinach, and meat or fish & stir well.  Simmer briefly on top of stove with low heat to blend flavors.

This is one of my all-time favorite soups, African or not.  My husband makes a quickie version by mixing cream of chicken soup with peanut butter.  Not nearly as good as this recipe, but good for a quick fix.

PEANUT BUTTER SOUP

1 12-oz jar smooth peanut butter
1 large tomato
1 large onion
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 medium can tomato sauce
1 lb. stew beef, cut up in small pieces
1 lb. chicken, cut up in small pieces
MSG (Accent), to taste
salt, to taste

Cut meat & chicken into cubes.  Season with accent and salt to taste; let it stand for about 5 minutes.  Put it in a pot and let the meat cook for about 20 minutes (or to your desire).  Add peanut butter & stir for 3 minutes.  then add 3 quarts of water.  Dice one whole onion nicely & add pepper, whole tomato and tomato sauce.  Let it boil for about 25 minutes.  then take out the tomato & blend it or mash it fine.  Then add to mixture.  Lower heat & let simmer for about 10 minutes.  then put on low & simmer 5 minutes longer.  Served with rice.

This goes well soups, stews & sauces & is a common African "bread".

NSHIMA

1 1/2 cups cream of wheat
3 - 4 cups of water
salt, to taste 

Bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil; and salt.  Stir in cream of what and cook over a moderately high heat, stirring constantly until thick.  Continue cooking about 5 minutes.  Add more boiling water; a little at a time, until desired thickeness.

The mixture should be quite stiff and hold its shape when turned out of the pan.  In Africa, each diner tears off walnut-sized balls of Nshima and dips it into the stew or sauce.

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