Burkina Faso is a French speaking, land-locked country in West Africa. It’s capital city is Ouagadougou – I remember getting this right in a pub quiz once to everyone’s astonishment (I knew the name due to my former school having a sister school in the city). The people, and food of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabé. The cuisine is based around staples such as rice, corn, peanut, potato, beans and yams. I have to admit, I’ve been putting this country off as I struggled to find any inspiring dishes, but had another trawl of the internet today and found some tasty recipes.
The most traditional dishes which appealed to me were Poulet Bicyclette and Riz Gras. Poulet Bicyclette is translated as ‘bicycle chicken’ and there are two main stories on the internet to explain its name. One suggests that this chicken is so named as the chickens in Burkina Faso tends to run around all day like little bicycles, making their meat much more robust. Another explanation is due to the fact chicken sellers would often go to market with many many chickens hung upside down and tied to their bicycles. Riz Gras is translated as ‘fat rice’. and is basically chicken and rice with a bit of flavouring. I wasn’t hugely taken by either so decided to have another browse online.
I got the munchies mid-afternoon and decided to see if I could find Burkinabé snack. I stumbled across some cake / biscuit / pancake types things called Banfora. They look and taste very Millard to Welsh cakes but are sprinkled with cinnamon. I’m a little skeptical about their authenticity and would be interested to hear from any Burkinabé people. They can be found on many websites but the sites all seem to cite from the same source. Regardless they tasted good….
For our evening meal I decided to go with a chicken dish and incorporate some lovely West African peanut flavour. I found a recipe on Celtnet for chicken thighs in a peanut and coconut sauce which sounded tasty. We opted for rice rather than sweet potato as it looked more traditional.
I fried off chicken thighs for 10 minutes and then added 200ml water, a chopped chilli and grated ginger. After simmering for 15 minutes I added coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice and tomato puree. At that point it looked rather pink but the colour soon became more orange / pink.
I made the rice by frying off a chopped onion and chilli and then added rice, water and a chicken stock cube and cooked the rice. This was similar to the Riz Gras recipe without the meat. The two together were really tasty and the smell even lured over next door’s cat to investigate.