Thursday, February 23, 2006

My culinary roots

I wanted to throw something together quick for dinner and had a revelation. There was some chicken in the fridge, I didn't have a load of veggies, and when I opened the refrigerator the peanut butter jar was right in front of me. This could only mean peanut chicken--one of my main staples back in the days when I lived in Cameroon.

It's as easy as pie to cook up:

some chicken
2 or 3 T. ginger
2 or 3 T. garlic
a little hot pepper
Maggi cube
1/2 c. peanut butter (mixed smooth about 1/2 c. water)
salt to taste

You just pound the ginger and garlic with a mortar/pestle, fry the onions, brown the chicken, add a little water and everything else and wait for it all to cook. Super yummy over rice.

So often I forget to make the recipes I learned back in Yagoua, and they're the only ones to this day that I make without consulting a recipe. They're like shorthand to me. My comfort food, of a sort. When I arrived in Cameroon, I had barely ventured out to eating vegetables--fried cabbage and canned green beans were about as adventurous as we got in our home growing up. Tomatoes, okra--I didn't even want to touch them. Until I found myself in my village where they were about my only options. And not only did I have to eat them, I had to cook them, too.

I learned by watching Hadja and cooking with her, and pretty soon I was cooking up big vats of stuff and ladling it over rice for guests seated all around my table. Cameroon's where I discovered my love of cooking as well as hosting people for dinner. It's great I still have all those recipes etched in my memory, if only I can remember to make them more often.


At 12:50 AM, Blogger ticklethepear said...

Otherwise we can always make a pilgrimage to Roger Milla Resto in Silver Spring MD for jamma-jamma, ndolé, and ngombi-choba.

At 1:02 AM, Blogger salam said...

sounds yumm!

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Kierstin said...

We really miss being hosted, Amanda. This dish sounds fabulous--like so many of the yummy things you made for us during our time in Amman. I'll have to try it out, Maya and Brad both love peanut butter.


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