Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Out of Africa

This dinner was prompted by an impulse purchase of a packet of Black Barley, the information on the packet described it as an heirloom variety prized in Ethiopia and this made me think of spicy foods and somewhere in the back of my mind was a link between African food, spices, tomatoes, pumpkin, food cooked over a fire/BBQ and communal eating. These recipes are in no way authentic and are my imaginings of a possible African style meal - vegetable stew,  spicy barbecued chicken, and accompanying grains. Some lightly steamed broccolini, eggplant pickle, yoghurt and flatbreads were added.

This is an excellent cook ahead meal, great for large numbers and the leftovers reheat very well.

African Vegetable Stew

 1 tablespoon African Spice  Mix
(Berbere or Ras el Hanout)

1 tablespoon cumin
1 small knob fresh turmeric or ½ teaspoon powder

Small amount of oil to fry spices

6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, diced
1 -2 chillies, finely chopped

 1 cup raw peanuts
1 large carrot, large dice
1 wedge of pumpkin (about 2 cups large dice)
6 tomatoes, large dice
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into pieces
1 green capsicum, deseeded and cut into pieces
large handful of green beans, cut into halves
1 can coconut milk
fresh coriander, chopped

Use other vegetables that you like and have on hand, such as eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower.

Put oil in saucepan, add spices and fry over low heat until fragrant, add onions, garlic and chilli and continue to fry, while mixing until onions are slightly softened.

Add peanuts, vegetables and coconut milk. Simmer gently until vegetables are just cooked.

Add beans and cook a further three minutes.

Top with chopped coriander

The spicy barbecue marinade uses SriRacha sauce, commonly used in Thai/Asian cooking. I used it because I had a bottle, however, any hot chilli sauce such as Tabasco could be used or add 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper. I would avoid Sweet Chilli sauce as it is not very hot and has a high sugar content and will burn more readily on the barbecue or grill.

Spicy Barbecued Chicken

1 tablespoon SriRacha sauce
(an extra hot chilli sauce from Asian grocery stores)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or  canola oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder.
1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut in halves or other pieces such as wings or drumsticks

Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl.

Add chicken, make sure mixture coats each piece. Cover and refrigerate until ready to barbecue or grill. If possible leave for a few hours or overnight.

Heat barbecue or grill until very hot. Add chicken pieces and grill on both sides until cooked.

Place on clean plate, keep warm and allow chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.

I find it easier to cook the grains in advance and reheat in the microwave. Usually I cook large amounts of different grains or rice and freeze the leftover to use for a mixed grain dish such as this.

Black Barley and Rice

1 cup black barley
1 cup long grain rice

Cook rice and barley in different saucepans.

For each grain bring a medium pot of water to the boil.

When boiling add the grain, stir and simmer until tender.

Strain and rinse. *

Combine grains, use a fork to mix and fluff. Reheat in microwave if necessary.

*Rinse with cold water and mix grains when cold and then microwave to reheat.

The finished meal

The pickle was Brinjal and the recipe can be found here. This is the black barley.

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