I wasn’t really looking forward to a Cameroonian meal if truth be told; most of the African meals we’ve eaten so far haven’t been my favourite and I seem to have had to twist recipes to make them more tasty. Having said that I blame myself entirely; it’s difficult to cook and eat food you have little prior experience of. It’s easy to cook Asian or European food as you can find most of it in restaurants around the country, so you get an idea of what foods are typical and the flavour range. I wish there were more places to eat African food in the UK. We’ve had some lovely African food in London but maybe I should have a closer look at what is available closer to home in Manchester.
When I started to research Cameroonian cuisine I quickly found a few recipes that piqued my interest. Cameroonian food is quite varied due to it’s geographical location in the Centre West of Africa an it’s history as a French colony.
Bush meat is quite commonly consumed in Cameroon includind porcupine, giant rat and even chimpanzee and gorilla. Traditional dishes include a type of barbequed kebab called suya (or soya) and ndole which is a stew made traditionally from a plant called bitterleaf and mixed meats.
Ndole recipes vary quite a lot depending on which one you read so I used a blend of a few. Bitterleaf can be replaced with spinach or kale as it’s not something that can easily be found in supermarkets. Other ingredients include tomato, onion and a mixture of meats including prawn, smoked fish and beef. This is flavoured with chilli, ginger, garlic, thyme, curry powder, peanut paste and stock and cooked in palm oil (which I finally have!)
I found a recipe for suya in my African recipe book. I cut up some frying steak into chunks and left it to sit over night in a blend of sugar, garlic, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, chilli powder, onion salt and peanut paste. The meat is then skewered and barbequed or grilled until brown. In the same book was a recipe for Cameroonian coconut rice. This involved cooking some rice in onion, tomato puree, coconut milk, carrot, yellow pepper, thyme, mixed spice and green chilli.
All in all this was an interesting meal. The flavour of the beef was really nice and the rice was good. The stew was a little earthy and bitter for my taste but it was nice to have sometime a little different and authentic.