Posts Tagged With: banana leaves

Liboke Ya Mbika (Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Flour)

Congolese Entree
(Democratic Republic of Congo)

LIBOKE YA MBIKA
(Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Flour)

INGREDIENTS

¾ pound boneless chicken parts
1 garlic clove
1 small onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup pumpkin-seed flour* or almond or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ pound fresh banana leaves**

* = Finding pumpkin-seed flour in stores can be difficult. It can be ordered on line.

** = Finding fresh banana leaves is impossible whether you live Fargo, North Dakota or even in my fair city, Poway, California. In this case, buy the frozen banana leaves from specialty markets. If that too is impossible, use tin foil instead. Life can be hard, sorry.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

8-quart pot
aluminum foil, about 10 square feet
cookie sheet
sonic obiliterator

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut chicken into ½” cubes. Mince garlic clove and onion. Add olive oil, chicken, garlic, onion, and bay leaf to 1st large pot. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add 2 cups vegetable stock or enough to covered ingredients in pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Remove chicken. Shred or crumble chicken. Reserve broth with garlic and onion. Discard bay leaf.

While vegetable stock boils, add pumpkin-seed flour, ginger, nutmeg, parsley, and red pepper flakes to mixing bowl. Gradually ladle stock from pot to mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Keep adding water until you a firm but pliable dough. Add chicken. Knead dough once more.

Cut banana leaves into 6″ squares. (Use aluminum foil as a substitute.) Add 1½ tablespoons of the chicken/onion dough to each square. Close banana leaves around dough to make a banana-leaf ball. (If banana leaves don’t close well, wrap banana leaves with foil.)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Add enough water to pot to cover the banana-leaf balls you will be making. Bring to boil using high heat. Add banana-leaf balls to pot. Let boil using high heat for 45 minutes. (Add water as necessary to cover banana-leaf balls.) Remove banana-leaf balls. Place these balls on cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 225 degrees for 15 minutes to remove moisture from the dough inside the banana leaves.

Serve to appreciative guests. If they give you any guff at all about this magnificent creation of yours, zap them with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

TIDBITS

1) As a chef, you stimulate your creative forces by creating one dazzling dish after another.

2) Cooking is also immensely therapeutic. It simply gives you no time to dwell on all the woes in your life. Those moments where you failed at something and those times where strife entered your life all melt away when you assemble your latest culinary masterpiece. You will lift your face to the heavens and thunder, “Yes. Cooking is good. Life is good. Yes, yes, yes.”

3) Then there are those other culinary moments, the time things go wrong, when guests complain, when the red mist descends upon you. You must disintegrate that stew that accidentally got two cups of salt instead of 2 teaspoons. Or even those cases where you want to off uncouth guests who complained you didn’t use pumpkin flour or fresh banana leaves in your Liboke Ya Mbika.

4) But murder is wrong. You’ve known that most of your life. That’s a major reason why you became a cook. All your murderous impulses sublimate themselves in the pounding of the bread dough, in the slicing of the onion, in and the grating of the cheese brick.

5) But yet some guest will carp over the tin foil you used. You yearn to do him in. Of course, the police will find the guest’s’ body. Unless the officer on the spot is also a cook and knows what you went through, it’s best not to leave a body behind

6) This downward spiral explains why all kitchens carry a sonic obliterator. The sonic obliterator, well, completely obliterates the offending oaf. No body. No jail time. Easy peasy.

7) But in your heart of hearts, you really don’t want to obliterate rude guests. No! Simply obliterate that glass of wine they’re holding. That’ll get their attention. I guarantee they’ll stop complaining. Serenity will return to your kitchen. The now quiet guests will tuck into your Liboke Ya Mbika and, lo and behold, notice how absolutely tasty it really is. “Why, this is the food of the gods,” they’ll say. You will become their best friend. They will become your pals. Together, you will solve all the problems of the world. Life is good. Life is good. And we will all owe it to your judicious use of a sonic obliterator. Now you know.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, international, murder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Omani Chips Sandwich

Emirati Entree

OMAN CHIPS SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

4 teaspoons cream cheese
1 sub roll, hot dog bun, or flat bread*
1 tablespoon chili sauce.
1 package Oman potato chips**
1 scrambled egg (optional)
1 cooked hot dog (optional)

* = The authentic roll is the samoon , while the flatbread used in the Emirates is the paratha. Paratha can be ordered online. Samoon is powerful to find.

** = Please, please try to get Oman chips. They are available online. If the fates are against you and you cannot score these chips, take a deep breath and buy chili flavored chips.

Serves 1. Takes 5 minutes.

PREPARATION

Spread cream cheese over both roll halves. Sprinkle chili sauce over cream cheese. Sprinkle potato chips on bottom bun. Scrambled egg or hot dog may be placed on chile sauce. Put top roll half on chips. Press down on top just enough to crush potato chips.

The order of ingredients when flatbread is used is the same. Simply roll up the flatbread.

TIDBITS

1) Sometimes, the checker at the supermarket will ask, “Did you find everything you needed?”

2) I have learned to just say yes. These stores will never have Omani chips. No, not ever. Nor even paratha flatbread, Appenzeller cheese, Harzer cheese, fresh banana leaves*, marshmallow fluff**, yak butter, and pumpkin-seed flour.

3) * = Fresh banana leaves are often readily available at your local botanical garden. However, the staff of these places look askance at banana-leaf theft. It’s a trait acquired from working there.

4) ** = Marshmallow fluff while easy to find in some parts of America, it’s powerful hard to get out West.. If you live near San Diego, you’ll have to move.

5) And then there’s that authentic herb I wanted that can only be found in remote parts of northeast China and only in season. So, it’s best to reply yes to the checkers and try ordering online. That or go to jail, move, or wander aimlessly the Chinese wastelands.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Mumu From Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinean Entree

MUMU

INGREDIENTSMumu-

8 ounces carrots or 2 medium
8 ounces sweet potatoes or 1 large
8 ounces banana or 1½ medium
8 ounces papaya or ½ medium
4 ounces spinach
12 ounces pork
6 ounces peas or similar green vegetable
12 ounces chicken
1 or 2 banana leaves or cabbage leaves* (enough to cover pot)
20 ounces coconut cream total (5 times at ¼ cup) or 2 14-ounces cans coconut milk.

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 2 hours.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

outdoor grill
grill-safe pot and lid

PREPARATION – COCONUT CREAM (If you can’t find it in stores.)

Chill coconut milk cans in refrigerator for 24 hours. Open cans and scoop out the thick cream on the top. Keep 20 ounces, or 2½ cups, of coconut cream. Use the rest of the coconut cream and the liquid in the bottom of the cans to make coconut-based smoothies

PREPARATION – ONCE YOU HAVE COCONUT CREAM.

Wash and peel carrots, sweet potatoes, banana, and papaya. Remove papaya seeds. Chop carrots, sweet potatoes, pork, bananas, papaya, peas, and chicken into 1″ cubes.

This dish is made with 5 layers. Spread ingredients evenly for each layer. Top each layer with ¼ cup of coconut cream. Make the first layer by adding carrot and sweet potato to pot. Make the second layer by adding pork. Make the third layer by adding banana and papaya. Make the fourth layer by adding chicken. Make the fifth layer by adding peas and spinach. Top everything with banana leaves.

Cover pot and place on grill. Never stir ingredients. Grill on medium heat for 15 minutes or until you see juices bubble. Reduce heat on grill to low and simmer for 1-to-1½ hours or until everything is done to your liking. Okay, okay, you’ll to take a fork and peek and the doneness of the various layers, but no stirring.

TIDBITS

1) The stability of the entire world is threatened by an emerging superpower, Papua New Guinea. Hah, you say. Where is Papua New Guinea? North of Australia. What does it produce? Rain and mud, according to Allied soldiers fighting there in World II. What could such a country do? Buy a lot of SPAM or … conquer the Pacific Ocean.

How? I’m glad you asked. Culinary historians know the best mud for beauty care comes from Papua New Guinea, or PNG. The demand for this mud in American and European spas grows fantastically every year. Soon, PNG will be awash with the world’s money. PNG can then allocate its new billions to buy used aircraft carriers, fighter planes, bombers, tanks, and landing craft listed irresponsibly on eBay.

2) This is where the nightmare starts PNG has a population of 4,600,000. (I counted them twice last Tuesday.) Even if the country puts just 10% of its people in the military, it will have a striking force of 460,000. Who has the population, the might to stop them? Not neighboring Nauru with its tiny population of 11,000 and maybe soldiers.

3) Emboldened by this easy conquest, Tuvalu, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and Tonga, with their combined population of 260,000 will fall like leaves in a Wisconsin autumn. This disaster will have worldwide ramifications. Does anyone doubt the Palauan contingent keeping the peace in The Land of Oz will remain under such dire circumstances? No, they will go home to fight a war of liberation. The whole idea of UN peace-keeping forces will unravel. Minor skirmishes will become full fledged regional wars. So it goes.

4) Soon, Micronesia and Vanuatu will topple. I don’t know much about them so let’s move onto the Solomon Islands and Fiji–biggish but still smaller than PNG. We cannot let these two nations fall. We cannot let PNG monopolize the best snorkeling sites in the world. Have you snorkeled at Key Largo? Well, let me tell you, the snorkeling at Fiji is much better. And by the way, conquest of these countries would enable PNG to block all airborne and seaborne trade across the Pacific. The snorkeling industry and the world economy would collapse.

5) What can Americans do? Simple. Use local mud! Cut off the funds for PNG’s drive for conquest. Insist on backyard mud whenever your toddler makes you a mud pie. Be sure to ask for good ol’ American mud when getting a mud treatment at your spa. It’s good for your face. It’s good for the world.

6) Use the blank space at the bottom of this page to make a mud drawing. Do other cookbooks let you do this? No, I don’t think so.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Honduran Nacatamales

Honduran Entree

NACATAMALES

INGREDIENTS – DOUGHNacatamales-

6 cups masa harina or corn flour
1 cup lard, shortening, or butter
1 teaspoon salt (1 more teaspoon later)
3 tablespoons orange juice
5 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups chicken stock

INGREDIENTS – FILLING

⅔ cup rice
2½ pounds pork
3 large potatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 green bell pepper
1 large onion
1 sweet green chile pepper
1 medium tomato
3 tablespoons cilantro
1½ tablespoons cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon achiote paste (or ½ teaspoon paprika plus ½ teaspoon vinegar)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Makes 18 nacatamales. Takes at least 3 hours.

INGREDIENTS – ASSEMBLY

12 10″-x-10″ banana-leaf squares*
A roll of aluminum foil
Multiple big pots (4½ or larger. Extra pots enables you to cook more nacatamales at once.)
Good restorative drink to keep you going.

* = Banana leaves can be found in Mexican or Asian grocery stores. If they can’t be found, just use the tin foil without them. Oh, banana leaves are curved, not square at all. Bastards.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
cooking twine or butcher’s twine

PREPARATION – INITIAL

Soak banana leaves in large pot. You really need to make the banana leaves flexible.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add masa harina, lard, and 1 teaspoon salt to first, large mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater set on low. With electric still set on low, slowly add orange juice, lime juice, and chicken stock. Mix until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Rev up electric beater to high setting or until it starts to become fluffy. Cover dough and let sit for 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – FILLING

While dough is sitting, cook rice according to instructions on package. Cut pork into ½” cubes. Peel potatoes. Slice potatoes into ½” cubes. Dice garlic cloves, green bell pepper, onion, sweet green chile pepper, and tomato. Add pork cubes, cilantro, cumin, pepper, salt, and achiote paste to second, large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until pork cubes are well coated with spices.

Add vegetable oil, coated pork cubes, and potato cubes to pan. Sauté on medium heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes soften. Stir frequently. Add garlic cloves, green bell pepper, onion, sweet green chile pepper, and tomato. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently.

PREPARATION – ASSEMBLY

Remove banana leaves soaking in pot. Heat water on high heat until it is scalding hot. Add banana-leaf square to pot. Keep leaf in pot until it becomes flexible. Remove banana leaf. Place ⅓ cup of dough in the middle of the banana leaf. Smooth dough with wet hands until it is about 2″ from the edges of the banana leaf.

Add equal amounts of pork cubes (about ⅓ cup), over the middle of the dough, followed by cooked rice (about 2 tablespoons) and potato cubes (about 1½ tablespoons). Add another ⅓ cup of dough over potato cubes. Smooth top layer of dough gently with wet hands. Fold bottom edge of banana leaf over filling until it reaches the top half of the leaf Gently fold in edges to make a square. Gently–Don’t break the banana leaf–tie kitchen twine around filled banana-leaf square.

Place the filled banana-leaf square over the center of an aluminum-foil square. (The aluminum-foil square large enough to wrap the banana square. Tightly fold bottom edge of foil over filled banana-leaf square. Tightly fold sides of aluminum foil over banana square, then the top side. Tie the aluminum-foil covered square like a parcel with kitchen twine. Repeat process for each banana leaf. There should be a banana leaf softening in the pot while constructing each nacatamale.

Put metal rack in bottom of each pot. Add water to each pot until level is ½” above the racks. (Aluminum cookie cutters work quite well as a substitute for wire racks.) Bring to boil using high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Add a single layer of nacatamales to rack. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add water as necessary to keep level ½” above the rack. Remove nacatamales from pots. Repeat for each batch of nacatamales. Remove all twine and tin foil and serve to adoring guests.

If your sweetheart makes this for you, propose marriage immediately.
TIDBITS

1) Nacatamales were invented by Señor Naca Tamale, chef to the royal governor in 1689. They were delicious, so much so that Governor Alfonso Bondigas knew he would win a million pieces of gold if he could send just one nacatamale to the Spanish king, Charles II.

2) So, in 1690, Governor Bondigas sent 100 nacatamales with the annual fleet carrying gold to Spain. They got eaten by the crews.

3) In 1691, Governor Bondigas sent 200 nacatamales with the fleet. 100 got eaten by the crews. The rest got eaten by gourmet rats.

4) In 1692, Governor Bondigas sent 400 nacatamales. The sailors devoured 100, the gourmet rats another 100, and the rest spontaneously combusted. No one saw that one coming.

5) Pirates captured the annual Nacatamale fleet in 1693, tamales having by that time become more valuable than gold.

6) In 1694, the Honduran governor sent 1,600 nacatamales with the nacatamale fleet. Unfortunately, First Mate Pedro Migas placed the nacatamales in the same room where he dried the crew’s socks. When half of the socks fled to a parallel dimension–a journey they continue to this day–they took all the nacatamales with them. By the way, culinary quantum physicists say trans-dimensional aliens took a great liking to nacatamales and can often be found at nacatamale stand through out Central America. You have to look closely for them; their disguises are excellent.

7) In 1695, Governor Bondigas tried catapulting the nacatamales to Spain. They only made it two miles out to sea where they utterly destroyed a pirate fleet. Karma, you bet.

8) In 1696, Señor Bondigas noticed a little boy skipping rocks all the way across a small stream. Could this work with nacatamales? No.

9) Spurred by the efforts of 1697, nacatamale skipping became the premier event of the Spanish-American games. All Honduras went sports mad. Every young man in that land spent every spare moment practicing to win the gold medal in nacatamale skipping. This naturally left no nacatamales left to be shipped to Spain.

10) The banana bug wiped out the banana crop in 1698. No banana leaves, no nacatamales.

11) In 1699, banana growers all used their leaves to make beer. Banana-leaf beer was enormously popular that year. You can only find this beer in a few Honduran villages. The brand is El Banano.

12) In 1700, the Nacatamale Fleet finally made it to Spain with fifty million nacatamales. But Charles II had died two weeks before. His successor, Philip of Anjou, grandsom of Louis XIV exported them all to Britain as a good-will gesture. The British loved the nacatamale. Lasting global peace seemed likely. But the British gobbled the nacatamales up in just one week, got sick of them, and in revenge declared war on France. Wars would rage across Europe for another 245 years. The new Spanish King blamed Governor Bondigas who died broken hearted. However, the legacy of the good man lives on in the millions upon millions of postal packages wrapped in the manner of the nacatamale.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, history, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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