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Dedicated to South Africans living abroad...and all lovers of Traditional South African food

Newsletter #53  - Jun  26 ,2003

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Hi everybody!

Hope you are all keeping well!

In this Newsletter I will feature some African recipes. I always tend to think that Traditional South African food is always "Boerekos" forgetting that we have a wealth of ethnic cooking out there that is also Traditional to that specific ethnic group. Thanx to Glenn Read for his input!

The names are often unpronounceable (try pronouncing Umngqusho ) and if you were to order any of the dishes from a menu you would probably be surprised to see what arrives at your table. If your host orders Umngqusho  you are most probably dining with Nelson mandela!

Well I am featuring a selection for the adventurous to go and try out, if you happen to do so, please give me feedback on the result!

I have just realised that this theme is vast and more recipes will follow in future Newsletters, so watch this space!

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I recently met Kalie de Jager, probably the foremost authority on South African Afrikaans Traditional music, or Boeremusiek. His site is not quite finished yet, but as it is it already offers an in depth look on this fascinating subject. Go take a look here at this fascinating Afrikaans website.
Does anyone have a Boeremusiek MP3 for me, no larger than about 200 kb, please!

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When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now
Mooi loop!


The Recipes
See Links for Metric Converter


Cardamom Tea  (with kind permission of Congo Cookbook)

Hot tea spiced with cardamom is popular in Eastern Africa. This recipe calls for making the tea first, then adding the cardamom, milk, and sugar.

cold water (three to six cups)
three or four teaspoons of tea (plain black tea, or Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, etc.)
ground cardamom
sugar or honey

In a saucepan or teakettle heat the water to a near boil. Transfer the water to a teapot and add the tea leaves, steep tea as normal.
Pour the tea into cups and add a pinch of ground cardamom to each cup. Add sugar, honey, and milk to taste. Stir.

Sardines & Greens Stew  (with kind permission of Congo Cookbook)

Canned sardines, often imported from Morocco, are cooked in stews throughout Central Africa. Any other sort of dried, smoked, or salted fish can be used in place of the sardines.

oil for frying (palm oil is most authentic, but any vegetable oil will do)
one onion, finely chopped
one clove of garlic, minced
one or two ripe tomatoes, chopped (or canned tomatoes, or tomato sauce or paste)
one to two pounds of spinach, cleaned, stems removed -- or -- cassava leaves (Feuilles de Manioc), kale, collards, or turnip greens or similar, cleaned, stems removed and parboiled (or some combination of these)
salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
canned sardines (two or three cans is good, but one can will do if you're on a tight budget)

If using dried or salted fish: Soak fish in water for a few hours, rinse and remove any skin or bones, and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a few spoonfuls of oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes.

Add the spinach (or greens) and fry them at high heat for a few minutes, stirring continually. (just a few minutes for spinach, but a few minutes more for other greens).

Stir in the tomatoes (or canned tomatoes with their juice, or tomato sauce or paste), the salt and pepper, and a cup of water. Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for twenty minutes or until the greens are nearly tender.

Add the sardines (or other preserved fish) and continue to simmer until the greens are ready to eat.

Serve with  Rice.

Umngqusho (Samp and Beans)

Umngqusho (Mngqusho) is a favorite traditional dish of the Xhosa people in South Africa made of samp and cowpeas. Samp (or stampmielies, stamp) is very similar to American hominy or posole: both are de-hulled dried corn (maize). In the case of samp, however, the corn kernels are crushed or broken into pieces which are easier to cook and eat. If you cannot find samp, buy dry hominy and use a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle to crush or break the kernels, being careful not to grind them into flour. Cowpeas are a variety of the American black-eyed pea (use whichever is obtainable). In South Africa, dried samp and beans are sold already mixed and ready to use. Samp is sometimes served with fried onions, or as a side dish with any main course that has its own gravy.

four cups dry samp (broken hominy)
two cups (one pound) dry cowpeas (black-eyed peas) or any similar beans

Combine samp and cowpeas in a large enamel pot or glass bowl. Add cold water sufficient to cover. Cover, and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse before cooking.

In a large pot. Cover the soaked samp and cowpeas mixture with cold water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for ten minutes. Reduce heat. Simmer on low heat for one to two hours, until all is tender and the water is mostly absorbed. Add additional water during cooking if needed.

Season with salt. Serve hot.

Many websites report that umngqusho is said to be South African President Nelson Mandela's favorite dish. It is usually described as "stamp mealies (broken dried maize kernels), sugar beans, butter, onions, potatoes, chillis and lemons, . . . simmered a long time until all ingredients are tender". His autobiography, however, describes the more traditional umngqusho.

Piri-Piri Chicken (with kind permission of Congo Cookbook)

Piri-Piri Chicken, Peri-Peri Chicken, Frango Piri-Piri, and Frango ā Cafreal are all basically the same dish: chicken, marinated in a hot chile pepper marinade, then grilled. The dish's Portuguese and African origins are clearly seen in its names. Frango and cafreal (or cafrial) are Portuguese for chicken, and grilled; and piri-piri or peri-peri are the pan-African words for chile pepper. This dish evolved in Angola and Mozambique (once Portuguese colonies) after Portuguese explorers and settlers brought American chile peppers to Africa. The Portuguese also took the peppers and the cafreal to other parts of the world, notably Goa, India. Spicy-hot Frango Piri-Piri is now so popular in Portugal that it is regarded as a Portuguese dish.

The most basic piri-piri marinade recipe calls for just oil, cayenne pepper or minced fresh hot chile pepper, and salt. Many piri-piri recipes add an acidic liquid (usually lemon or lime juice, or vinegar, or possibly wine or liquor) which adds a tang and tenderizes the chicken. More elaborate versions also include various other flavorings and spices. -- No quantities are given for the ingredients in these recipes: how you make your marinade depends on how much chicken you're cooking and what ingredients you like. (However, as a guide, the ingredients are listed by volume from largest to smallest.)

chicken; whole or serving-sized pieces

Marinade # 1
oil (or butter, or bacon grease or similar)
cayenne pepper or red pepper; or dried red pepper flakes; or finely chopped hot chile pepper

Marinade # 2
cayenne pepper or red pepper
garlic (minced, or powdered)
ground ginger

Marinade # 3
vinegar, or cider vinegar
cayenne pepper or red pepper; or dried red pepper flakes

Marinade # 4
oil or butter
lemon or lime juice
fresh hot chile peppers, minced; or cayenne pepper or red pepper; or dried red pepper flakes
garlic, minced
parsley, chopped

Marinade # 5
vinegar (red wine vinegar) and/or dry sherry (or cooking wine)
fresh hot chile peppers, minced; or dried red pepper flakes
garlic, minced
black pepper

Marinade # 6
oil or butter
lemon or lime juice
fresh hot chile peppers, minced; or cayenne or red pepper
garlic, minced
ground coriander, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, to taste
fresh or dried parsley or oregano, chopped

Marinade # 7
oil (olive oil)
lemon or lime juice -- and/or -- vinegar or cider vinegar
fresh hot chile peppers, minced; or cayenne or red pepper
garlic, minced
bitters (Angostura bittersŪ or similar)

Prepare your choice of marinade, or invent your own, by grinding and mixing all of the ingredients (except the chicken) in a glass bowl. For a milder flavor substitute paprika for cayenne pepper. Some recipes call for bay leaf, marjoram, raisins, tarragon, thyme, or tomato paste. Some cooks like to let the marinade "age" for a day or two (in the refrigerator) to allow the flavor to develop.

Rub the chicken all over with the marinade (inside and out if using a whole chicken). Allow the chicken to marinate for at least an hour, overnight if possible. Save the remaining marinade after the chicken is done marinating.

Cook the chicken on an outdoor grill or broil it in the oven. Depending on your preference, foil wrap or a rotisserie may be used for a whole chicken. As it cooks, turn the chicken and baste it with the remaining marinade, making sure the marinade is completely cooked after the last basting. Remove the chicken from the grill or roasting pan with a clean fork (not one that came into contact with the uncooked marinade). Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Serve with additional hot sauce (but not the marinade that was used with the raw chicken), Rice, bread, or roasted potatoes, and chilled fruit.

One authentic African method is to "butterfly" a whole chicken, i.e., split a cleaned whole chicken down the center enough to allow it to lie flat, but without cutting it into two pieces; then flatten it by hitting it with a mallet or sturdy bottle (sometimes also called a "flattie"); then coat the chicken with a marinade like # 1 and let it marinate for a few hours before grilling.

These marinades also work well with fish or shrimp.




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