Wednesday Night: Chicken Yassa
Saturday Night: Accra, Jus de Bissap, Thebouidienne, Mafe, Mango-Avocado Salad, Cinq Centimes, and Peanut Ice CreamWhen planning Saturday night’s menu, I selected dishes that emphasize native Senegalese ingredients and those highlighting Senegal’s influences in the cuisine of other countries. When researching African cuisines, I often find guidance for presenting authentic meals at the University of Pennsylvania’s African Studies website. For Senegal, I discovered that an authentic formal meal begins with an appetizer followed by the main course. Because most of the population is Muslim, many meals do not include wine or beer; instead, fresh juices or teas are generally served. After the main course, a salad is presented to guests, and on special occasions, dessert ends the meal and may be served with Demitasse Dakar, a coffee drink made by steeping ground coffee and one beaten egg in boiling water. With this in mind, I set out to create a Senegalese-inspired meal for my husband and some gracious friends who agreed to brave one of my project’s dinners.
Mafe is a ground nut stew generally made with lamb, but it can be made with mutton, fish, or chicken. I chose this dish because I wanted to incorporate peanuts into a savory dish, and I must say that this stew brimmed with rich flavors. I followed the directions from The Congo Cookbook for this dish, although I took a few liberties. For the vegetables, I used carrots, okra, butternut squash, and cabbage. I also removed the vegetables and lamb when they were tender and cooked the sauce down until it was a thick, smooth consistency. Then, I poured it over the lamb and vegetables on a platter to serve. This sauce was delicious! Because of its thick consistency and bold flavor, it reminded me a little of Mexican mole sauce, and its richness complemented the flavor of the lamb well.
|Jus de Bissap|
|Saladu Awooka ak Mango|
Peanut Ice Cream
I had no idea what to expect when I started researching Senegalese cuisine this week, but for most weeks, that is exactly the point. I discovered some incredible new dishes, and I reveled in the connections I made to other countries’ dishes. I may have actually enjoyed this week’s research even more than the food!