In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I've been having a "hankering" to try out recipes from different parts of the world, and for this next week I picked Africa -- that's a cuisine I'm not very familiar with (I've probably never really cooked a real African recipe, besides my daughter's wonderful African Peanut Soup).

Where to start -- the web, of course! I found this website, with lots of International recipes, very well organized -- can be searched by region, type of dish, and individual search words.

I do love Ethiopian food, but there are no restaurants in Alaska (what a shame!). But maybe I can learn how to cook it!?!? I found lots of recipes, including how to make Injera, the soft flatbread which is used instead of utensils to scoop up the food, as well as many tasty dishes, such as this Ethiopian Lamb recipe, simmered with lots of onions and spices. I'm excited to try these later this week.

Another book that has some great African recipes is Marlena Spieler's Hot and Spicy -- which is one of my favorite cookbooks on my shelf.

Here's my first dish this week: a Moroccan Stew from Hot & Spicy (p.92). It's a Lamb stew with legumes and vegetables that lends itself well for making ahead (could make in crockpot). In fact, it is eaten at sundown during the fasting month of Ramadan, which is going on right now.

(Moroccan Lamb Stew)
saute in olive oil for 5 minutes, until lamb is well cooked:
lamb stew meat, cubed
1 onion, chopped
garlic, chopped
celery, chopped, with leaves

1 can diced tomatoes
1 t turmeric
1 t cumin (or more)
1/2 t ground ginger (I like to substitute fresh)
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamon
water or stock to cover

Let simmer for 1-2 hrs (or longer in crockpot)
Then add:
1 can chickpeas
1/4-1/2 c lentils
Cook for 40 min or until lentils cooked.

Before serving, add fresh chopped parsley, and very thin pasta.
In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs w/ lemon juice from 2 lemons, and stir into hot soup for one minute immediately before serving. Optionally, also stir in some salsa or "Harissa", a maroccon spiced red chile paste.

But for a more realistic look/taste of what many Africans subsist on, I
want to try making fufu sometime later this week-- I'll keep you posted and how this
turns out! If you want to learn more about Fufu, check out this Wikipedia entry.

The following is a version from

Conventional West African fufu is made by boiling such starchy foods as
cassava, yam, plantain or rice, then pounding them into a glutinous mass,
usually in a giant, wooden mortar and pestle. This adaptation for North
Americans may trouble you if you try to stick to minimally processed foods. But
it's worth trying at least once with West African groundnut stews.

2 1/2 cups Bisquick
2 1/2 cups instant potato flakes

1. Bring 1 1/3 l of water to a rapid boil in a large, heavy pot. Combine the
two ingredients and add to the water.

2. Stir constantly for 10-15 minutes - a process that needs two people for
best results: one to hold the pot while the other stirs vigorously with a strong
implement (such as a thick wooden spoon). The mixture will become very thick
and difficult to stir, but unless you are both vigilant and energetic, you'll get a
lumpy mess.

West African FUFU made from yams

  • White yams -- 2 pounds
  • Butter -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
Place the unpeeled yams in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil
over medium-high heat. Boil for 15-30 minutes, or until the yams are cooked through
and tender. Drain and let cool somewhat.

Peel the yams, chop them into large pieces and place them into a large bowl with the
butter, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until very smooth. Alternatively,
put the yams through a potato ricer and then mix with the butter, salt and pepper.
Place the fufu into a large serving bowl. Wet your hands with water,
form into a large ball and serve.

Picture credit:

1 comment:

  1. The lamb stew sounds great, I'm going to be trying it sometime, no worries.

    You don't know me but I just found your blog from a comment you left on Fiery Blazing Handbasket. Anyways, G'day mate!

    Speaking of African, I've got a very nice Moroccan spice rub that I use. A blogger friend of mine in Massashootits (sp?) used it and loved it.

    I like your idea of doing a regional food themed week, cool! What about South Pacific? I working on a menu for a huge Polynesian feast and have loads of good recipes from most of the islands.

    As far as your Aussie theme... Toss a few snags on the barby, fry some googs or keks, crack a few tinny's, and call it done! There, you can now cook Aussie style. :)