Take a trip to the heart of Africa with these delicious Congolese recipes!
Living in a multicultural city like Hong Kong, we have the opportunity to meet and get to know people from all over the world. While our kids may have friends and teachers from different parts of the globe, they (and us!) often have little understanding of Hong Kong’s diverse refugee community.
Table of Two Cities (a community project focused on telling the stories of Hong Kong’s refugees through the medium of food) helps bridge that gap with the idea that a shared meal can bring both sides of Hong Kong to one shared table.
This month, we’re taking a look at the flavours of Democratic Republic of Congo, courtesy of Clarisse. We’re dishing up a hearty chicken stew, served alongside an African staple — semolina fufu. Finish it off with some mikate, a sweet doughnut that’s sure to be a hit with the kids!
From Congolese doughnuts to Egyptian moussaka, keep your eye out for more delicious dishes! They’ll all be featured in a book of recipes slated to be published in 2021.
Read more: Egyptian Recipes From A Table Of Two Cities
Fufu is a staple food across West and Central Africa. A carb-lover’s delight, it is traditionally eaten with the fingers and dipped into an accompanying stew or sauce. In Congo, semolina is typically used to form the fufu dough — in some other countries, plantains and cassava are used in the place of semolina. It is undeniably a perfect accompaniment to the chicken stew recipe that follows!
600g rice flour
- Fill a large saucepan with the water. Bring it to a boil and then add all the semolina.
- Stir the semolina, cover the saucepan with a lid and let it simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remember to stir it from time to time to avoid lumps and the mixture sticking to the bottom.
- Separate the rice flour into three parts and keep it ready.
- After 10 minutes, add 1 part of the rice flour (around 200 g) and combine well with the semolina mixture using a large spoon.
- Once mixed well, add another 200 g of rice flour and mix again. Finally, add the remaining 200 g of rice flour and mix well. The whole process should take around 7 to 8 minutes of heavy mixing. It may seem like a tough mixture but that’s completely normal.
- Take the fufu off the heat and place it on the floor. Find a low seat and mix the mixture with the spoon until everything is well incorporated and there are no lumps. It will take roughly 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once ready, shape them into large balls with a spoon and stack them up on a large plate or tray. They’re best eaten with gravies and stews.
Delicious, warming chicken stew with an assortment of vegetables and herbs. Best served with a mound of fresh semolina fufu but rice is also a great alternative.
1 whole chicken (washed and cleaned)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped and ground to a paste
½ medium-sized red bell pepper/ capsicum, roughly chopped
1 stalk of celery.
4 cloves of garlic, grated (can replace with 1 ½ tbsp garlic paste)
350 ml water
1 small chicken stock cube
2 to 3 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
- Chop the chicken into big pieces. Wash them under running water and put them in a large saucepan and leave aside.
- Add half the onion along with garlic, bell peppers and bay leaves into the saucepan with the chicken and stir well.
- Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on medium-low for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- After 10 to 15 minutes, heat up oil in another pan for deep frying.
- Once the oil is hot, pick out the chicken pieces and deep fry them in the oil. Fry them until they turn a deep golden brown (about 5 to 6 minutes).
- After frying, put the chicken back into the saucepan in which they were originally simmering in.
- Heat up 3 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining onion and cook over medium heat until they become golden brown.
- Add the ground tomatoes and additional tomato paste to the onions, stir and then cook until the oil separates from the tomatoes.
- Add the tomato mixture to the saucepan with the chicken in it. Then pour 350 ml of water and 1 small chicken stock cube, broken up with your fingers to the pan.
- Simmer the chicken stew for 5 to 10 minutes and it’s done!
- Serve with long-grained rice or fufu.
Mikate or beignet is a favourite snack in different parts of Francophone Africa, eaten sweet or savoury. We bet you can’t stop at just one! Best served alongside a strong coffee or tea.
2 tsp active dried yeast
15 ml lemon extract (or any other flavouring of choice. This recipe works equally well with banana or vanilla extract)
Zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
500ml lukewarm water (at body temperature), plus an extra 100 ml for later use
- Add active dried yeast to 500 ml of lukewarm water in a small mug. Stir well and add ½ tsp salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a large container, pour in the flour, lemon zest and sugar and aerate it with your hand by running your hand around the bottom of the container and moving in a clockwise direction. This is to incorporate air into the flour as well as to get rid of lumps. Do this for around two minutes.
- Pour the water and yeast mixture into the flour, along with lemon extract. Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Slowly add more warm water if needed and work the batter with your hands until there are no lumps. The batter will be sticky and a little wet.
- Cover the container the batter is in with a lid or cling wrap and let it rest for about 3 to 4 hours.
- Once it’s rested, heat up the oil for frying. Use enough oil to enable deep-frying. Drop a tiny piece of the batter into the oil to test if it’s hot enough.
- Dip your hands in water first, then break off small pieces of the batter and slowly drop them into the hot oil. You may also use an oiled spoon to take some batter and release it into the oil.
- Add the beignet balls one by one until they fill the surface area, turning each ball once it becomes golden brown for the other side to cook.
- When the beignets are cooked completely, remove from oil and let it dry on a paper towel. Then add more balls to the oil.
- Once all the batter is finished, be sure to let them cool before serving. You may serve them sprinkled with icing sugar or with some peanut butter mixed with sugar and a neutral oil for dipping on the side.
Read more: A Helper’s Favourite Recipes From Helping Hand Cookbook
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images. All other images courtesy of Table Of Two Cities.