Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cameroonian food – part 3 – steamed in leaves

Some dishes are steamed wrapped in banana leaves—the old-fashioned, eco-friendly, and tasty version of aluminum foil—the Dualas make Ekoki (from the sound of the pestle - Mboloki - pounding in the mortar - Eboki) The basic Duala Ekoki is made from ground beans similar to black-eyed peas, mixed with red palm oil. Another version is made with ground corn with Mbaa leaves.
Another banana-leaf-wrapped loaf is Ngondo nya Mukon (pronounced Ngonda’Mukon), most often made around the holiday season at year’s end. It is a cake made of ground pumpkin seeds, ground dried shrimp (Dibanga), and filled with beef or shrimp, sometimes smoked fish.
Wrapped Bekwang with Kiling-Kiling sauce
 at Madame Njoh restaurant in Akwa-Nord
A Duala leaf-wrapped stew is Suwé nya Dibomba – fish in banana leaves. My personal favorite is Bekwang, ground Makabo (similar to a dense potato) wrapped in leaves, served with a Kiling-Kiling leaf sauce (slightly slimy, similar to okra).
The Béti make a stew called Ndomba (fish or game) which is also cooked in a banana leaf wrapping. 
Mbongo Chobi with boiled plantains
The Bassa, from south-central Cameroon, make a very tasty leaf-wrapped fish stew called Mbongo Chobi, whose sauce is green-black.

A nice rainy day dish is Pépé Supi, a thick soup made with Makabo (a type of very dense local potato), basil (called Kotimandjo in Duala), spiced with hot Scotch Bonnet, Djangsang (a local spice that looks like a chickpea but has a very distinctive taste), and Pébé, another local spice in a hard shell.

Djangsang spice. You only need a spoonful (crushed)