Monday, August 23, 2010

Central African Republic

Kanda ti Nyma
(Beef Meatballs in a Peanut and Okra Sauce)

I made this dish on Thursday, August 19. This is not the national dish of Central African Republic; their national dish is cassava, but in looking for cassava recipes, I ran into some issues... First of all, in all of the recipes I found, the first instruction was to soak the cassava in a stream for at least three days. I thought this was odd, but then figured I could just soak it in a pot. Then, upon further research, I learned that the reason why it needs to be soaked for so long is because, if prepared incorrectly, cassava is poisonous. According to this recipe, it contains a cyanide compound. Um, no thanks.

So, I decided to look through various recipes and find one that sounded tasty. I chose kanda ti nyma, and I liked the dish. I would make a couple of changes if I made it again: I used 97% lean beef in the meatballs, which made them a little dry and chewy. I'm sure meat with a higher fat content would yield different results. I would also chop the onions smaller than I did for the meatballs; they were a bit crunchy, and smaller chunks might soften more in the cooking time. Otherwise, it was good!

Kanda ti Nyma

-1 lb. ground beef
-2 lg. onions, finely chopped
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 habanero, finely chopped (I seeded it to lessen the spice)
-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
-2 T. peanut oil
-12 okra, sliced into rings
-1/2 c. peanut butter
-1 c. warm water

1) Mix the beef, half an onion, habanero, garlic and eggs together. Shape into small balls and place in the refrigerator to set.
2) Fry the remaining onions in the oil until browned. Add the okra and fry for a few minutes.
3) Mix the peanut butter and water together and blend to a smooth paste.
4) Add peanut butter mixture to onion mixture and bring to a simmer.
5) Add the meatballs and cook for 25 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through and okra is tender.
6) Serve with rice.

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