Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
Back on the continent of Africa, we are exploring the cuisine of Cote d’Ivoire this week. Also known as Ivory Coast (the English translation), this country is located in West Africa and fun fact: it has the largest church in the world (by Christian standards, I assume?) at 30,000 square meters and a capacity of 18,000 worshippers. Cote d’Ivoire is not a hugely popular travel destination, however, like all countries, there is beauty and culture there to discover.
While exploring the most popular dishes in Cote d’Ivoire, the one to pop up on almost every list was Kedjenou, a tomato and chicken stew commonly served with rice or couscous. Although not highlighted as frequently as Kedjenou, another dish really caught my eye as it was so different from anything we’ve prepared for the country challenge thus far: peanut stew. We couldn’t decide between what appeared to be the most popular dish and what was most interesting to us, so we made both!
Kedjenou and peanut stew, along with many other interesting Ivorian dishes, are highlighted throughout these lists that we considered when researching for this week’s meal: this list by Bren on the Road, this list by the trusty Taste Atlas, this list by Safari Junkie, this list by AfroCulture.net, this list by VibrantWestAfricanCuisine.com, and this article by International Cuisine.
We can always rely on 196Flavors.com for amazing recipes for national dishes. We were able to find a great recipe for Kedjenou on their site:
We found a recipe for peanut stew, also called peanut sauce, here (you’ll have to translate it if you can’t read French!):
Although both recipes call for chicken, we eliminated the chicken from the peanut stew recipe and only cooked our chicken in the Kedjenou. We felt it would be wasteful and kind of silly to prepare chicken in both dishes when they’d be served on the same plate.
Both recipes involved a lot of preparation but were very easy to cook. We served our Kedjenou and peanut stew with couscous, which is a popular grain in Cote d’Ivoire.
Both dishes were really flavourful and both were good for different reasons. We liked the Kedjenou because it was vibrant, had a subtle heat, and the chicken was so tender. The peanut stew on the other hand, was very rich and we liked it because it was so unique. It was so rich though that a small amount of sauce goes a long way and too much is really heavy on the stomach. While I don’t think we’ll be in a huge rush to prepare either of these dishes again anytime soon, I’d love to try the authentic versions in Cote d’Ivoire someday.