For Valentine’s Day this year, let’s try something a little different with your special lady! Something that’s sure to leave her intrigued and wanting more. Show her your culinary skills this Valentine’s Day with a tasty West African dish that’s flavorful, colorful, and easy to prepare.
West Africans are known to use very few spices in their dishes. Commonly used spices include chili, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and other locally made spices, such as Ogiri (fermented sesame seeds). Dried and smoked fish are used to add flavor to dishes, particularly green leafy dishes. Root vegetables like cassavas, yams, plantains, and sweet potatoes are staples in the sub-region. Cassava and yams are used to make Fufu, which is paired with soups and sauces.
Chicken Stew is a great introduction to West African cuisine. This dish can be prepared in under an hour, with just five simple steps.
It’s the perfect balance of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, herbs and spices. It can be served with white or brown rice, cassava, yams or plantains. Pair it with a nice wine or your favorite cocktail. And fellas make sure you set the table with some fresh flowers and candles. Taken from the cookbook, Cooking with Mai: Easy to Prepare West African Food this chicken dish will spark great conversation that will leave a lasting impression on your Valentine.
- 3 pounds chicken (cut into pieces)
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 4 yellow onions (3 sliced)
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- habanero peppers to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
1. Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and fry chicken until light brown. Remove chicken from saucepan and set aside in a bowl.
2. Add sliced onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir and sauté over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add salt, black pepper, chicken bouillon cubes, turmeric, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
4. Blend remaining onion and habanero peppers with 1 cup of water and pour into saucepan. Add tomato paste, stir and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add chicken, then add 1 cup of water. Stir and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until there is no longer water bubbling in the stew.
Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa Maimuna Zubairu-Burnette commonly known as Mai is a chef, dinner host, mother, businesswoman inspirational speaker, and award-winning International Management Consultant. Cooking with Mai: Easy to Prepare West African Food is her first cookbook. You can find her on Instagram @mai_burnette