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Monday, April 22, 2024

Try Cameroon jollof rice or egusi pudding

Let’s have a taste of West Africa’s delight the Cameroonian way. Believe me, this is one jollof rice recipe that will hit the spot.

Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 1 hour.
Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins.
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients
• Three cups parboiled rice, also known as “Uncle Ben’s”
• Five large tomatoes, pureed
• One cup tomato sauce (eight ounces or two hundred twenty-seven grams), canned
• One medium-sized onion, chopped
• Six large cloves garlic
• One inch of ginger root, peeled and chopped
• Half a stalk of celery, chopped
• One sprig of parsley or cilantro, chopped
• One green onion, chopped
• One sprig of basil, chopped
• Half a teaspoon white pepper (optional)
• One cup cooking oil, such as corn oil
• Three seasoning cubes (Maggi/Knorr, about four grams each) or three teaspoons chicken bouillon
• Half a pound of beef, cut into one-inch slices
• Salt to taste
• One habanero pepper (optional)
• Two medium carrots, chopped (about one cup)
• One handful of green beans, chopped (about one cup)
• Half a large green pepper, chopped (about half a cup)
• One teaspoon curry powder (optional)

Method
• Start by creating a spice blend. In a blender, combine the garlic, ginger, basil, celery, parsley, and optional habanero pepper with half a cup of water to achieve a smooth puree.
• Prepare the meat by placing it in a pot with one to two cups of water, a quarter teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of chopped onions, and one tablespoon of your freshly made spice blend. Allow this to simmer for ten minutes. After cooking, remove the meat, saving the broth for later use. Chop the meat into smaller pieces, about a quarter-inch thick each. Season the chopped meat with a little salt and half a teaspoon of the spice blend, then set it aside to marinate.
• In a pot, bring three cups of water to a boil with one teaspoon of salt and curry powder (if using). Add the washed rice and cook on medium heat until the water is fully absorbed. Allow the rice to stand for five minutes, then fluff it with a fork.
• Heat a quarter of the cooking oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the marinated meat and brown it for about two minutes on each side. Then, remove the meat and set it aside.
• In the same pot, add the remaining oil and heat it up. Sauté the onions for two minutes until they become translucent.
• Introduce the pureed tomatoes to the pot, stirring occasionally, and cook until the mixture starts to stick to the bottom, about ten minutes.
• Stir in the tomato sauce and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the oil separates, about ten minutes.
• Add the blended spice mix and white pepper (if using), and cook for an additional three minutes.
• Pour in the reserved beef stock and crumble in the seasoning cubes. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes.
• Stir in the chopped green onions and cook for another minute.
• Add the chopped vegetables (carrots, green beans, and green pepper) to the pot and mix well.
• Finally, incorporate the boiled rice and browned beef, mixing gently on low heat until everything is evenly distributed. Take care to keep the rice grains intact.
• Turn off the heat. Your delicious Jollof rice is now ready to be served and enjoyed!

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Egusi pudding

Egusi pudding

Egusi pudding is a savory dish originating from Cameroon, West Africa, crafted from melon seeds. This dish is known for its rich flavors, achieved by blending the seeds with a mix of ingredients and then steaming the mixture to perfection. It’s a must-try recipe that’s both unique and incredibly tasty.
Prep Time: 30 mins.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 mins.
Servings: Six servings

Ingredients
• Half a cup of ground crayfish
• One cup of smoked meat or fish of choice, sliced (options include beef, dried or smoked fish, boiled chicken, or smoked turkey; smoked beef and chicken were used here)
• Three cups of Egusi
• Two cups of water
• Half a large crayfish seasoning cube
• One teaspoon of salt
• One egg (optional)
• One ground hot pepper (habanero, scotch bonnet, or chili)

Method
• Begin by placing the Egusi seeds into a blender. It’s important to dry blend these, so no need to add water. For best results, use the smaller compartment of your blender to ensure a fine, even grind. Blend in small batches to avoid uneven textures.
• Transfer the ground Egusi to a mixing bowl. If there are any clumps, use a wooden spoon to break them down. Stir in the ground crayfish, hot pepper, salt, and crayfish seasoning to the bowl.
• Gradually mix in three-quarters of the water to form a smooth paste. Avoid adding all the water at once to ensure ease in achieving a smooth consistency. Once partially mixed, incorporate the remaining water until well combined.
• If using, whisk in the egg to the mixture until thoroughly mixed.
• Fold in the smoked (or dry) fish and shredded chicken (or beef), ensuring even distribution throughout the mixture.
• Prepare your pot for steaming by lining it with banana leaves or aluminium foil, creating a stable base. Add two cups of water to the pot and set it over medium heat.
• Take a deep bowl and line it with a banana leaf, pressing down in the center to create a depression. Cross another leaf over the first for added support. Scoop approximately two large ice cream scoops’ worth of the Egusi mixture onto the leaves, then carefully bring the edges together, securing the contents. Tie it with kitchen twine or a repurposed plastic bag if using leaves. If opting for aluminium foil, simply fold and press the edges to seal.
• Place each bundle into the prepared pot. Continue this process until all the mixture has been used.
• Cover the bundles with another layer of banana leaves or foil to trap the steam inside. Allow the pudding to cook for around sixty minutes, checking every ten minutes to add more water if necessary. Be mindful to add only one to two cups at a time to prevent the pudding from becoming too watery.
• Once cooked, remove the pudding from the pot, unwrap, and serve. Enjoy your Egusi pudding as is or with a side of boiled ripe plantains, yams, cassava (yuca), or bobolo/miondo (steamed fermented cassava) for a complete meal.

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