A Taste Of Five – Recipes From Five Continents
Jollof Rice, Chicken & Plantain – Africa
Now anyone who knows me, knows that I just love my Nigerian food and king of all Nigerian food is none other than Jollof Rice. Jollof rice so entrenched in Nigerian foodology that the mere mention of tampering with this traditional menu is what we would call Wahala (big trouble).
Just google the twitter hashtag #jollofgate and you will see what I mean. From celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, all have committed the unpardonable sin of messing with our Jollof rice.
Here is Jollof rice from a Nigerian perspective.
For the rice
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 large onions, sliced
1 x 400g/14oz cans plum tomatoes
1 red pepper, diced
2 tablespoon tomato purée
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon of ground thyme
1 knorr stock cube
113g/4oz long-grain or basmati rice
salt and pepper to taste
1 plantain, cut into slices and grilled
2 medium breasts of chicken
Jerk seasoning for the chicken
Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water and rinse througn a sieve to remove the starch.
Place in a pot along with around four times the level of water.
Cook on a high heat until the rice is slightly rubbery. You can tell when it’s done by biting into a grain. If it is hard then it is not quite done. You don’t want to leave it how the rice practically melts between your finger and thumb however as this means it’s over cooked.
Remove from the heat and pour in a sieve and rinse again in fresh cold water until the rice is cold.
While rice is cooking do the sauce as follows
Heat the oil in a large non stick pan and cook the onions over a gentle heat until translucent.
Chop the red pepper into thin strips and add along with the canned tomatoes, chilli powder, curry powder, bay leaf and thyme. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Pour in 275ml/10fl oz of cold water, crumble in the knorr stock cube and stir in the tomato puree.
Bring to boil then simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Add the part cooked rice ensuring that the water is at the same level as the rice thus ensuring that by the time the water dries up the rice is cooked
Wash and cut the breast of chicken into strips. Season with the jerk sauce and grill.
I tend to grill my chicken using my George Foreman grill but you can just as well do it in the cooker grill.
Peel and slice the plantain and grill, turning when golden brown. Remove when both sides are cooked.
Serve the Jollof Rice with the chicken breast and plantain.
Chicken & Chorizo Paella – Europe
Paella is considered by most Spaniards to be a regional Valencian dish. There are many variants of Paella, including seafood paella, meat and vegetarian paella. Here is a recipe for chicken and chorizo paella.
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
5 cups water
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2lb cooking chorizo, in 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 tablespoon chopped garlic
6oz roasted piquillo peppers
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups Bomba rice
4 chicken thighs
extra virgin Olive oil for cooking
Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Fill a saucepan with the water and place on medium high heat. Add all four bouillon cubes, saffron and paprika.
With a cleaver, chop the chicken into small pieces. Salt the chicken and rub with a small amount of paprika. On medium high heat, brown the chicken and chorizo in olive oil in a 13 inch paella pan, about 5-10 minutes. Remove to a platter. Add the onion, bell pepper, chopped garlic and parsley to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice, tomato and piquillo peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the rice starts to brown. Add broth and stir until it boils. Add chicken and chorizo pieces, burying them in the paella. Scatter the garlic cloves over the top.
Place in oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, taste the rice to see if it is done; if it is not, continue to cook. You can leave a little broth in the paella, or cook until the broth is fully absorbed, to your taste.
Chicken Tikka Masala – Asia
When it comes to Indian food in the UK, Chicken Tikka Masala is no doubt amongst the most popular. Here is a recipe that I am sure you will love.
2 tablespoon curry paste
2 tablespoon natural yogurt
2 chicken breasts, skinned and chopped
3 tablespoon single cream
200 gm / 7 oz can tomatoes
2 teaspoon peeled and grated root ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium sized red chillies, seeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
25 gm / 1 oz fresh coriander leaves
Mix the curry paste with the yoghurt and stir in the chicken pieces. Marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Bake the chicken pieces for 10 minutes in a oven preheated to 180C/350F/ Gas Mark 4.
Blend the cream, tomatoes, ginger and garlic together and set it aside.
Fry the onions with the bay leaves until golden brown, add the chilies, turmeric, paprika, salt, cumin, coriander and garam masala and stir for 1 minute.
Add in the chicken pieces and fry for a further 5 minutes, then add the tomato and cream mixture, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
Add 125ml/5 fl oz of water, cooking for a further minute.
Take off the heat and garnish with the coriander.
Serve with naan bread or rice.
Sancocho de Siete Carnes (Seven Meat Stew) – North America & Caribbean
The Dominican Republic. I just love this place. The people are so warm and welcoming, the weather is fantastic and the food is just something else. When it comes to food in the Dominican Republic, Sancocho de Siete Carnes considered its’ most cherished culinary treasure.
1 lb beef for stews flank, chuck, or round [0.45 kg] 1 lb goat meat [0.45 kg] 1 lb pork sausage longaniza [0.45 kg] 1 lb pork for stews belly, or chump end [0.45 kg] 1 lb chicken [0.45 kg] 1 lb pork ribs [0.45 kg] 1 lb bones from a smoked ham [0.45 kg] Juice of two limes
1 teaspoon coriander or parsley chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano powdered
1 teaspoon garlic mashed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon oil corn, peanut, or canola
2.5 quart water [2.5 lt] 1/2 lb yam cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg] 1/2 lb West Indies pumpkin cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg] 1/2 lb taro yautia cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg] 3 unripe plantains 2 cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb cassava cut into 1-inch pieces [0.23 kg] 2 corn cobs cut into 1/2-inch slices, optional
Argentinian Beef Empanadas – South America
There is a lady that sells these down in my local market at Ridley Road and every time I go there I have a few with some hot salsa sauce. Just the thought of these delicious meat filled pastries gets my mouth watering.
Although she fries her empanadas, this recipe is for the baked version.
80 g (3 oz) butter, cubed
2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large egg, lightly beaten, plus extra for brushing
60 g (2 oz) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 pound/ 400 g beef mince
2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
½ cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
2 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves
To make the pastry, put ¾ cup water in a small saucepan over low–medium heat. Add the butter and salt and heat until the butter melts and the salt has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl, add the water mixture and the egg and stir to form a rough dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes to form a smooth elastic dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, melt the butter in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the paprika and chilli flakes and cook until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat, add the olive oil and increase the heat to high. Cook the beef, in batches, for 3–4 minutes each, or until browned all over. Remove from the heat.
Combine the beef with the onion mixture in a medium-sized bowl and set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
Add the egg, olives, spring onion and oregano and stir to combine. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until cooled.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper..
To assemble the empanadas, cut the dough in half (keep one half in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out). Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured work surface to 3 mm (¼ inch) thick all over. Using a 10 cm (4 inch) round pastry cutter, cut about 30 round circles.
Divide half of the filling evenly among the circles, placing tablespoonfuls in the centre of each. Lightly moisten the pastry edges with water and fold in half to enclose the filling and form a half-moon shape. Pinch along the edge to seal and enclose the filling. Arrange the empanadas on the prepared baking trays and brush the tops with the lightly beaten egg. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling until all the mixture is used.
Cook the empanadas in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve the empanadas hot with the chimichurri on the side.