Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Djibouti: Cooking Around the World Adventure

From Denmark, we traveled by tabletop to the tiny African nation of Djibouti, pronounced dja-booty. And, yes, my boys were giggling and dancing around the dining room, singing: "Shake dja-booty! Shake dja-booty!"

Facing the narrowest point of the Persian Gulf, Djibouti lies in a strategic position and was, therefore, used as a landing point for trade vessels for many centuries. As a result, in addition to its native cuisine which is very similar to its neighbor Ethiopia, Djiboutienne cuisine had strong Arabic, Indian and British influences. The Portugese also brought the techniques of roasting and marinating foods to this country; Arabs introduced saffron, cinnamon, pomegranate juice and other spices to the country as well as various citrus, bell peppers, chiles, tomatoes and maize.

I had some past-their-prime bananas and thought that Djiboutienne banana fritters would make a fantastic breakfast...along with some maize pudding. They did. We especially liked the nutmeg!

4 well-ripened bananas
2/3 C white whole wheat flour
2 T organic granulated sugar dissolved in 2 T hot water
1 t ground nutmeg
butter or oil for frying

Mash bananas with a fork, or potato masher, to make a pulp. Add the flour, sugar-water, and nutmeg. Add more water, if needed, to make batter into a cake consistency. Mix well and fry in a greased pan until golden brown.

Dylan asked why foods in Africa were mushy. He remembered eating at an Ethiopia restaurant in Berkeley where everything was mushy. And we have cooked other mushes through this adventure. Riley didn't skip a beat, quipping, "Maybe they don't have toothpaste and dentists in Djibouti." Dylan just nodded, chewing on his fritter.

*Update 5/31/2013: Added to Katherine Martinelli's Banana Linky*

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