Thursday, June 6, 2013

Equatorial Guinea

Guinean Fish Grill with Three Sauces and Fufu

Meh.  This wasn't delicious, but it wasn't horrible either.

I made this meal on Thursday, June 6, 2013.  It is the first international cooking project dish I made in our new house!  I decided to quarter the recipe from the original in case we didn't like it (many of the African meals have not been our favorites...).  This was definitely a good idea, and even though I quartered the sauce recipes, they each still made WAY too much and I ended up putting a lot down the garbage disposal.

I did like the fish and the fufu.  On the fish I could definitely taste the lime and a slight heat from the habanero, which I liked.  The sauces, however, really masked those flavors.  The fufu was good too; it was mashed yam with butter and salt... what could go wrong?

Of the three sauces, the avocado was my favorite.  It had a fresh taste that I liked, and it wasn't too heavy with the fish.  My second favorite was the peanut sauce, which was bland on its own, but surprisingly complemented the fish fairly well.  A little of it went a long way, though.  I wasn't a big fan of the spinach sauce, which I thought I'd really like because of the smoked fish.  I think it was the flavor of the palm oil that didn't really do it for me.

The other fufus I have made have been with cornmeal.  I found a West African (where Equatorial Guinea is) recipe for a fufu made with white yams.  It is essentially a mashed yam ball and FAR yummier than the cornmeal versions I have had.

Every component of this recipe was fairly simple, but it was difficult to have five things going at once.  Here was the stove:

I hate to say it, but I just have not been a big fan of West African food.  I find the flavors rather boring (even when they're spicy) and the textures really dense.

Guinean Fish Grill

- 2 firm fish steaks (I used tuna) about 8 oz. each
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 habanero, minced or pounded to a paste
- 1/4 c. lime juice
- 1 T. palm oil
- salt and pepper

1) Rinse the fish then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Season the fish liberally with salt and black pepper then place in a glass or ceramic baking dish.
2) Add the garlic and habanero then pour the lime juice over the top. Turn a few times to ensure that they're evenly coated then place in the fridge to marinate for 90 minutes.
3) When ready, heat a grill or barbecue. Drain the fish and blot dry before brushing with oil and seasoning with salt and black pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes per side.
4) Arrange on a plate and serve with the sauces.

Peanut Sauce
- 2 c. water
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1/4 c. onion, chopped
- pinch oregano
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
- pinch cayenne
- 1/4 lg. tomato, diced
- 1 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
- 1 habanero, pounded to a paste

1) Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until tender.
2) Add all the remaining ingredients (except peanut butter and habanero) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then add the peanut butter. Stir to dissolve and allow to simmer gently for 50 minutes to thicken the sauce.
3) Add the habanero.

Spinach Sauce
- 5 oz. spinach, chopped
- 2 oz. smoked fish, flaked (I used whitefish)
- 1/4 lg. onion, chopped
- 1 T. natural peanut butter
- 3/4 c. warm water
- 1/3 c. palm oil
- 1 whole habanero, scored

1) Fry the onion in a little of the palm oil until softened.
2) Mix the peanut butter with the water and add to the pot along with the other ingredients except palm oil. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, until well thickened.
3) Add the palm oil and remove the chillies. Cook for a further 10 minutes. 

Avocado Sauce
- 1/2 c. beef stock
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 habanero, pounded to a paste
- 1/4 tomato, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 lg. avocado, sliced
 - 1 T. natural peanut butter

1) Bring the water and stock to a boil and add all the ingredients except the peanut butter. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
2) Extract 6 tbsp of the broth, mix with the peanut butter and return to the pot. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool and serve warm.


- 1 pound white yams
- 1 T. butter
- salt and pepper to taste

1) 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.
2) 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.
3) Place the fufu into a large serving bowl.  Wet your hands with water, form into a large ball, and serve.

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