the appetizer:

West African cuisine is heavy with starch, light on meat and generous on fat. Cooks in West Africa often use root vegetables like yams, cocoyams, and cassava, as well as cereal grains, plantains, hot spices, rice, peanuts, black-eyed peas, okra, green peas, citrus fruits, and pineapples.

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West Africa

West African Kebabs (Kyinkyinga)

Like plantain and nuts, Kyinkyinga (pronounced 'chinchinga') is 'street' food and a vendor's delight. Because these moist, seasoned skewers of meat and capsicum (sweet or bell pepper) attract flies, Kyinkyinga is kept in closed glass cabinets which are perched precariously on the vendors' heads.

The vendors rush into traffic stopped at red lights or up to buses and lorries parked at rest stops to try to make a quick sale. The acrobatics involved in balancing a heavy glass case full of hot Kyinkyinga while simultaneously counting change from a money belt defies description!

1 kg (2 lb) medium lean steak or liver
3 medium green capsicums (sweet or bell peppers),halved, seeded
      and cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) squares
30 g (1 oz) unsalted, dry-roasted groundnuts (peanuts) ground to powder
      in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle

4 medium onions, diced
10 g (2 teaspoons) grated root ginger
30 g (1 oz) plain flour
60 g (2 oz) unsalted, dry-roasted groundnuts (peanuts) ground to powder
2 large overripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and mashed
15 g (1 tablespoon) garlic salt
15 mL (1 tablespoon) fresh Chilli Sambal Tabasco sauce or chilli paste
      (e.g. Sambal Oelek)

Remove excess fat from meat, wipe with a clean damp cloth or paper towel and cut into bite-sized cubes. Mix all ingredients for seasoning together in a bowl. Combine the meat and half the seasoning and mix thoroughly. Stand for a minimum of 1 hour before grilling. Skewer the seasoned meat alternately with the green capsicums (sweet or bell peppers) and grill until cooked and browned both sides. If liver is used, be careful not to overcook and dry it out.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the remaining 30 g (1 oz) of the groundnut (peanut) powder. Serve with salad, rice, bread or by itself. Leftover seasoning can be made into a sauce: add 60 mL (2 fl oz) wine (Moselle or ginger wine) and heat to thicken, then pour over the kebabs. You can make the sauce thinner by adding more wine.

A Taste of Africa
by Dorinda Hafner
Ten Speed Press, 1993
$16.95 / Paperback
ISBN 0-89815-660-2
Recipe reprinted by permission

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This page modified January 2007