In this vibrant and generous celebration of food, friendship and conviviality, photographer Aline Princet and Anto Cocagne, a young chef from Gabon, invite musicians, writers, artists and creatives from all over Africa, south of the Sahara, to share their recipes and bring the spotlight to focus on the rich diversity of African food. The 80 authentic recipes showcased in Saka Saka: Adventures in African cooking, south of the Sahara include the best dishes from Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo and Ethiopia, and with each recipe comes information on its origins, its key ingredients and tips and advice for the home cook on how to cook them to perfection.
6 very ripe bananas
60g plain flour
60g fine cornmeal
1 pinch salt
60ml lukewarm milk
6g baker's yeast
oil for deep-frying
1. Peel and cut the bananas into pieces. Place them in a bowl and mash using a fork or rolling pin.
2. Add the flour, cornmeal and salt and mix until combined.
3. Mix the warmed milk and yeast in a bowl. Mix the yeast mixture into the banana mixture. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to ferment in a warm place for one hour.
4. Knock down the dough to remove the gas formed by the yeast.
5. In a deep-fryer, heat the oil to 170-180C. Using a spoon, make balls of dough and drop them into the hot oil. Cook until golden all over. Drain the fritters on paper towel.
6. Serve the fritters hot, dusted with icing sugar or drizzled with melted chocolate.
Chef Anto's tip: These fritters can be eaten as a sweet snack dusted with icing sugar or with vanilla ice cream, or as a savoury snack with spicy sauce. You can use overripe regular bananas as well as overripe plantain bananas. It's important to maintain the oil between 170C and 180C so the fritters don't absorb too much oil. If you don't have a deep-fryer, use a deep heavy-based pot instead.
Makes 25-30 fritters.
300g parboiled long-grain rice
60ml oil (canola, sunflower or peanut)
2 tbsp red nokoss (see below)
3 tbsp tomato paste
150g tomato passata
2 selim pepper pods
1 bay leaf
chives, to serve
1. Rinse the rice in cold water and drain. Pre-cook the rice for 10 minutes, either by steaming or in salted boiling water. Drain again.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot and sweat the nokoss for three minutes.
3. Add the tomato paste and cook over low heat for six minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the rice.
4. Add the passata, Selim pepper pods and bay leaf and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and add 560ml water (or 1.5 times the volume of rice), then bring to the boil and cook for three minutes.
5. Reduce the heat to very low, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Stir the rice with a fork to separate the grains. Cover and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes. Repeat this step until the rice is cooked. Sprinkle with chopped chives.
7. Serve with grilled meat or dishes with meat and sauce.
Chef Anto's tip: Red rice in Central Africa is roughly the same as jollof rice or wolog rice in West Africa, or pilau rice in East Africa. This recipe is originally from Senegal but has as many variations as there are countries that claim it as their national dish. Each part of the continent has adapted the recipe according to its history, its environment and the products that today make up its culinary identity.
To make this dish successfully, don't use round or basmati rice, or long-grain rice that hasn't been parboiled. You need a rice that remains firm when cooked and doesn't break up by absorbing the sauce during cooking. It's best to use jasmine rice or parboiled long-grain rice.
Red rice is always on the table at a celebration. It's an ideal side to spinach dishes, dishes with a sauce and even grilled food.
1 red capsicum
2 mild/sweet red chillies
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves
20g fresh ginger
1 celery stalk
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp soumbala powder (see tip)
1. Deseed the capsicum and chillies. Peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and ginger. Roughly chop the tomato and celery.
2. Using a blender, blend the capsicum, chillies, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, celery and herbs into a smooth paste. Add the soumbala and three tablespoons water, then blend again.
3. Keep the paste in a glass jar in the fridge.
4 very ripe Kent mangoes
60g unsalted butter
100g raw honey
4 gelatine leaves
90ml pure cream
200g white sugar
For the white chocolate cream:
120ml pure cream
1/2 vanilla bean
100g white chocolate
For the biscuit base:
190g plain flour
60g ground African pistachios or pepitas
125g icing sugar
1 pinch salt
1. Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh into small cubes. Zest the lime. Melt the butter and honey in a fry pan, then add the mango cubes and stir to coat well. Add the lime zest and cook for around 10 minutes - the mango must be very soft - then set aside.
2. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water. Heat the cream in a small pot over low heat. Pour the sugar into a heavy-based saucepan and cook over medium heat until caramelised.
3. Immediately remove from the heat and carefully add the hot cream, stirring well. Add the squeezed gelatine leaves and mix well. Stir in the mango mixture, then pour the filling into a 20cm round silicone mould. Leave to cool to room temperature, then place in the freezer for at least three hours.
4. For the white chocolate cream, pour the cream into a small pot, then split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the cream. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat, add the white chocolate and stir until it is completely melted. Leave to cool to room temperature, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Whip the cream using electric beaters and set aside in the fridge.
5. For the base, preheat the oven to 180C. Sift the flour, African pistachios, icing sugar and salt together, then add the butter, a little at a time. Work the mixture between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in this mixture and break the egg into the centre. Knead together using your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough, then place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
6. Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper to a circle at least 3cm larger than the diameter of the silicone mould. Prick the dough with a fork and return it to the fridge for at least 30 minutes, then place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
7. Turn the frozen mango filling onto the biscuit base and set aside for one to two hours for the filling to defrost.
8. Pipe the white chocolate cream around the edge.
2 small red onions
1 mild/sweet green chilli
3 multicolour mini capsicums
20 yellow cherry tomatoes
6 mixed tomatoes (green, black and red)
1/2 bunch mixed coriander and chervil
salt and pepper
90ml vegetable oil
1. Peel the onions. Deseed the chilli and cut in half lengthways. Use the tip of a small knife to remove the seeds from the capsicums, keeping the capsicums whole.
2. Carefully remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut a shallow "X" in the base of each. Immerse the tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds to make them easier to peel. Peel the cherry tomatoes and keep them whole. To make tomato petals, peel the green, black and red tomatoes, cut into quarters, remove the flesh and pat them dry with paper towel.
3. Finely dice the chilli and slice the mini capsicums into thin rounds. Cut the red onions in half first, then thinly slice them lengthways.
4. Zest and juice the limes. Pick the leaves from the herbs and chop finely.
5. To prepare the dressing, combine the salt, pepper and lime juice in a bowl. Add the lime zest and oil.
6. Make a rosette with the tomato petals, top with the cherry tomatoes, sliced onions and mini capsicums, and sprinkle with the diced chilli. Drizzle with the dressing and scatter the herbs on top.
Chef Anto's tip: Kachumbari salad is found everywhere in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. It is served as a side with all dishes. Traditionally made with tomatoes, onions and chilli with a lime juice dressing, you can add whatever ingredients you have on hand, such as avocado, mango, cucumber and radish.
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