The Jungle Bar
Early in the new year we opened Khady’s jungle bar and I’ve included some pictures in this post, many courtesy of guest, Carol.
Thursday night = pizza
Friday night = Indian (tandoori chicken, vegetable curries etc)
Saturday morning = Breggae (full English breakfast, fresh juices, proper coffee – a treat here, all with a reggae soundtrack)
Sunday lunch = Reggae roast (jerk chicken, roast vegetables)
There will also be a daily plat du jour (local African dish of the day), local style breakfast rolls and Khady’s fried fish and spicy yassa at dusk. Possibly fataya as well (spicy fish or bean pastie):
My inaugural pizzas last year went down well. Getting the ingredients for pizza together requires a little advanced planning, meaning when someone turns up out of the blue and expects a chorizo and brie calzone with a rocket, pine nut and sun dried tomato side dish drizzled with truffle oil, they’re probably going to be disappointed, hence doing it one night a week.
Currently I make a basic neapolitan, ton (the local tasty fish paste), chicken and seafood (shrimp/squid subject to availability). We’ll have a bar and some tunes on the ipod. If you’re really keen we’ll offer g&t’s in the treetop terrace at sunset.
One of the dishes that goes down well in Khady’s Jungle Bar is maffe. Maffe in the Gambia is called domoda – Khady makes a citric tomato sauce thickened with flour and calls that domoda – as did old Yama, a Gambian.
Maffe is believed to have originated in Mali from where it spread across West Africa. Like many Senegalese and West African foods, it found it’s way across the pond and evolved into Virginia peanut soup.
In an earlier blog post, I described maffe as looking like a food that should be just flushed down the toilet, bypassing the middleman.
Khady makes it regularly with fish, bullet (sic – deep fried fish balls), chicken or vegetarian. It’s one of the few foods where she buys a pre-made sauce – somebody in the village puts in the hard work of pounding the peanuts in a huge African pestle and mortar (or more often these days by machine) and plastic bags of the paste are sold in the market.
Here’s a recipe I found online which I’ve adapted slightly to Khady’s way. Rather than the pounded paste, it uses peanut butter. This recipe is for chicken but you can substitute fish or add extra vegetables for the non-flesh version.
I’ve included approximate amounts but like all meals here, Khady guesses and it turns out slightly different each time.
Check it out and let me know how it tastes.
- 12 cloves garlic
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
- Salt and black pepper
- Crushed red-pepper flakes
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken, skin removed
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter
- ½ pound green cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges
- 3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 12 ounces waxy potatoes
- Chilli peppers
- White rice, cooked, for serving
- Finely chop 6 cloves of garlic and a chunk of ginger with a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and crushed red-pepper flakes to taste. Season chicken all over with salt, and rub with the garlic mixture. Marinate for three hours or overnight, refrigerated.
- Finely chop another 6 cloves of garlic. Heat the 6 table spoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add one medium sized diced onion, the chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons of salt and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the onion is starting to become translucent. Stir in three table spoons of fish sauce and 6 ounces of tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the paste and onions have combined and are a shade darker. Stir in 6 cups water, scraping up any browned bits.
- Add the chicken, bring to a boil and turn heat down to a moderate simmer. In a mixing bowl, stir a cup of the cooking liquid into the peanut butter, a splash at a time, to loosen it. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots, and simmer 10 minutes. Peel and cut the sweet potato and waxy potatoes into 2-inch chunks, add them and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables and chicken are tender and the sauce is like a very thick gravy. If the chicken and vegetables are tender but the sauce is not ready, remove them, and let the sauce cook down. Personally I like the sauce well reduced when the oil is separating. Add the chilli if desired. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and serve over white rice.
By the way, did anyone try the recipe on page 53 of Squirting Milk at Chameleons?
Here are some earlier recipes that I blogged: