Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cameroon food: part 4 - everyday food

On any given day, a “regular” stew is prepared. There is no individual portion in Cameroonian food, because you never know who may pop over for a meal; you have to be prepared to share whatever is in the kitchen. You don’t prepare 3 steaks (not that steaks exist traditionally, anyway) for your spouse, child and yourself; you may have not seen a guest for a month, but on the day you make individual portions, that’s when someone comes over unexpectedly, and try sharing 3 steaks between 4 people. (I have tried; it isn’t pretty.)
The usual everyday stew might be:
- Groundnut (peanut) sauce with either meat, chicken, or fried fish cut in pieces;
- Ground pumpkin seed sauce, same as above;
- A dense tomato and onion sauce, same as above;
- Okra stew with smoked fish or beef…
The stew is served along with a starch, such as boiled rice, boiled plantains (green or yellow), miondo, yam…
A less common stew is made with kiling-kiling – a slightly slimy leaf, chopped, and cooked with crab, served along banana leaf-wrapped dumplings made of ground makabo. Another less-everyday dish is Mandja Moto - tiny whole fish (about the size of a little finger) - stewed in a tomato sauce.