*burp* what took so long?
May 31, 2013 9:09 AM   Subscribe

"Ariane Kambu Mbenza grew up with her uncle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When she was seven years old, he asked her to be in charge of preparing food. Sure, Uncle. No problem. She had grown up watching her mother cook and played kitchen plenty of times. "In Africa, you know how to cook automatically." Now a mother herself, Ariane showed me how to make what in Congo would be called, " Riz aux legumes avec poisson grillé avec la sauce tomate à l'ail." Text Via followed by Congolese mini Waffles as seen in the photo in the linked newspaper.
posted by infini (16 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Serve a big pile of rice on half the plate. Next to that, a nice piece of fish, and a pile of the red sauce on the last third of the plate.

So the fish is only taking up 1/6th of the plate? Either the fish portion is stingy or that is a big arse plate. Or fractions got a bit confused there for a second...

posted by Brockles at 9:29 AM on May 31, 2013

So the fish is only taking up 1/6th of the plate? Either the fish portion is stingy or that is a big arse plate. Or fractions got a bit confused there for a second...

Alternative explanation: this wasn't a math class. ;)

Thanks for the link to Immigrant Kitchens here -- I'm going to have fun browsing through the older posts.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:47 AM on May 31, 2013

Yeah, for anyone wanting to try the recipes, read everything all the way through before you start - I've noticed a number of typos.
posted by LN at 9:58 AM on May 31, 2013

This is fun.
It's probably just bad math in this case, but I've been in a lot of immigrant kitchens where you get small parts of meat/fish and large parts rice/pasta and vegetables. Cheap and healthy all at once!
posted by mumimor at 10:01 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Really fun! Random recipes. I want to try this soon.
posted by mumimor at 10:08 AM on May 31, 2013

It's probably just bad math in this case, but I've been in a lot of immigrant kitchens where you get small parts of meat/fish and large parts rice/pasta and vegetables.

Lets not be lazy, people. We can figure this out.

40 oz. (2.5lbs) fish (uncooked)
28 oz. rice (Foru cups and this metric)

rice:fish =~ 7:10

While the plate is in thirds the incorrect assumption is that they are even thirds. My imagination puts it at about half fish, on the other half rice and sauce at like 3/5, 2/5.

Photos would, of course, kill.

My editorial quibbles would be:

(1) Unless Maggi makes mystical bullion (they don't) you can just say "bullion." Slapping a brand on there can fill inexperienced cooks' cabinets with Better Than Bullion, Knorr, Maggi, Herb-Ox. Abstracting is, I think, one of the chief tasks of recipe collectors and editors.
(2) "2+2+2 Maggi" assumes no one would ever confuse this. Experienced (Western) cooks can puzzle out that its the common base stocks (chicken, beef, vegetable) but if you've got, oh, fish, or one of Maggi's garlic flavors. Shit, its only cooking and its mostly salt so maybe it doesn't matter much.
(3) "Super-hot chili powder" - Sometimes abstracting goes too far. Firey hot? Lingeringly hot? Spikingly hot? Super-hot comes in lots of denominations. Cut the corner and go cayenne unless you've got a specific recommendation.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:51 AM on May 31, 2013

I demand someone bring me a bowl of peanut soup, ASAP. Ghanaian or Bolivian, beggars can't be choosers. Jeez that looks great. Awesome site, thanks for the find.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:54 AM on May 31, 2013

Ogre, to your second point, what suggests to you that she used three different kinds of stock? I assumed that the "2+2+2" notation meant that you separate the cubes (by 2) to use in the three, distinct, parts of the recipe. (In baking if you see something like "2 Cups + 1Tbsp flour" that usually means something like 2 cups for the recipe and 1 Tbsp for flouring a pan (or something).)

I think it's an interesting recipe and I'm tempted to try, but I'll sub in a different fish Tilapia is just too bland.
posted by oddman at 11:56 AM on May 31, 2013

Oddman -- you are correct. A flavor direction would have helped. When in doubt assume beef, then? I tend to write it as "total volume, divided" and call out divisions in the instructions since that always ends up happening anyway. I also, though, never comingle discrete components in a common list: what if the fish and rice are s--t but the sauce is killer?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:18 PM on May 31, 2013

Listen, Ogre, old chum, in Africa, they tend to just throw it all in the pot, whatever there is in the kitchen and what might make it taste a bit better. I"ll link on request to a photo study of informal and socially agreed "measurements"
posted by infini at 12:36 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

When I was learning how to cook Ivorian food (I can now make Sauce Melon and Sauce Feuilles de patates), the guy teaching me kept talking about a "Cube Maggi," which I heard as "cube magique!" I was pretty sad when I went to the African grocer here and was given just a plain old cube of bullion.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:54 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

ChuraChura! my worst nightmare was ambitiously inviting Kenyans in Finland to beef stew and chapatis. And then misplacing the beef stew until the last minute. It was a very large kitchen in an old woodworking unit.
posted by infini at 1:01 PM on May 31, 2013

Not a great navigation design but there are photos!
posted by fontophilic at 1:02 PM on May 31, 2013

OH NOES fontophilic, this means I might have cook this up in July in the flatlands

Feeds 20

Cooking time: 4 ½ hours (with 3 cooks!)

Note: If Constance and her daughter and friend taught me anything, it’s that I’d never cooked as they did: with family and friends. The cooking time here was with three experts working fluidly. I’m hoping to invite a couple friends over one Saturday to make this feast. On a regular weeknight when I’m solo, I’ll pick and choose for dinner: the goat and rice, or cassava leaves and rice, or beans and rice.

Where to Get Ingredients

In Portland, ME, we shopped at Mittapeap market for most ingredients and we got the goat a block down the street at a place called Hamdi. (both on Washington Ave. near Cumberland Ave). For readers not in Portland, please seek out an African market near you. And before you say you don’t have one, look and ask. I’m in Maine for crying out loud, and surprisingly I just discovered not 1, but 4. If you really are in the boonies, don’t despair. Make the beans and rice with boiled green bananas, and the ginger-orange drink: you can find all the ingredients at the supermarket.

posted by infini at 1:06 PM on May 31, 2013

Maine is actually relatively full of Somalis, so I'm not surprised there are African grocery stores in Portland.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:22 PM on May 31, 2013

Ogre! We have a clue!

Fontophilic's link to the pictures has this bit of info "She used mostly Maggi bouillon cubes in her dishes, but she used this french bouillon powder in the red sauce", and the French bouillon in in question is labeled "Bouillon Granule Poule Halal." So, while my French is veeery rusty, it's good enough to surmise that this is chicken bouillon.

Et voila!
posted by oddman at 2:25 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

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