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.
This week, we’re back in Africa, in the country of Cameroon. I didn’t know much about this country prior to this weekend. Something I learned about Cameroon is that the country features all of the African landscape features, from deserts, to coastlines, to mountains, to jungles. Check out this article that highlights five things to do if you decide to visit Cameroon:
We decided to try Cameroon’s national dish: Ndole. This is a warm and hearty stew that features spinach, peanuts, beef, and fish. Not your average combination of ingredients, but this is why we are doing this challenge, to try new things and learn what can be done with food in other cultural contexts. As well as being the country’s official national dish, Ndole is listed as the number one Cameroonian dish on TasteAtlas and Immaculate Bites.
This dish started off feeling a little complex and overwhelming, so it took reading through a few recipes to really get a handle on it. We used the following recipe and YouTube video in making the final dish:
I started by boiling the beef with stock, onions, and salt. I also used Atlantic cod from NL that we had in the freezer, so I put that on to boil in a separate pot. I prepped the rest of the ingredients so they were ready to add as we went. When the beef had cooked a little, I transferred it to the larger pot that I had the fish in, and scooped out much of the water so we were left with just enough to cover all the ingredients.
Next, I started boiling the peanuts in just enough water to cover them. I used our immersion blender (so thankful for that kitchen tool) to emulsify the peanuts, the water they were boiled in, garlic, and onion to make a thick paste.
I added the peanut paste to the simmering stew along with the frozen spinach. I did not have time to shop online for dried crayfish and it’s not something I have access to locally, so unfortunately it had to be left out of this recipe.
Next, I sauteed our shrimp with garlic and onion until the shrimps were pink and the onion was soft. This smelled delightful. My mouth was watering.
And just like that, after simmering for another ten minutes or so, our Ndole was ready to eat! It was a chilly, slow Saturday and this was exactly what I needed to warm up and fill my belly. Although the recipe seemed complicated at first, the process of making Ndole was actually pretty simple once I got my head around it. I think I pulled it off really, really well.
The Ndole was really delicious. I say this a lot, but it was super hearty and filling. I love how clean this dish is too– no preservatives, just natural flavour. It’s packed with protein and healthy fats. Would I make it again? Yeah, I probably would, but considering how rarely I make soups or stews and how many tasty ones I love, I might not come back to this for quite some time. But nonetheless, it was a great meal and I feel like I learned a few things, which is why I’m doing this.
We watched these videos while we ate:
See you next week!