Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dining-In: A Culinary Tour of the World-Botswana

 The Country: Botswana
Continent: Africa, south
Capital: Gaborone
Current Head of State: President Ian Khama
Form of Government: Parliamentary Republic
Official Language: Setswana, English
Ethnic Groups: Tswana, Kgalagadi, Bajarwa, Kalanga, white
Population: As of 2014-2,155,784
Currency: Pula
Independence Date: September 30, 1966-From the UK
Main Religion: Christianity
National Anthem:

The Food: Phaphatha and Botswanan Chicken Groundnut Stew
This is my first stop in Africa for this project and it turns out it was a delicious stop! Both of my items were amazing. A lot of Botswanan recipes were for beef, and since I don't eat that, I had to look around for something that worked. I managed to find one I really liked. For my other recipe, I chose Phaphatha. Though a difficult word to pronounce, phaphatha is actually a delicious bread. It is essentially an English muffin, but with elements of biscuits and pancakes added. It's baked on the stove top which really intrigued me. It doesn't rise nearly as long as a traditional yeast bread, like biscuits. And the way it cooks on the stove, is like pancakes. I ate mine with butter but you could add jam if you wanted. The original recipe says it makes a good breakfast sandwich too, if you are so inclined. The recipe used metric measurements, which I had to translate. I will provide the translated amount, as well as my own notes.


17.6oz flour, plus extra for rolling and kneading
½ pkg. yeast
1-1 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Gradually add water and combine with your hands to form a dough. Only add enough water to form the dough.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes till it’s soft and pliable.

Put aside in a bowl covered with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about half an inch thickness. Using a round object like a plastic cup or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. 
Dust the phaphathas liberally on both sides and place in a flat pan on medium heat with enough space between them to allow for rising. The phaphatha will continue to rise while cooking. When it is very puffed on the top, turn over to cook on the other side.
Remove from heat when cooked through and enjoy with tea (or coffee) while warm. Alternatively, stuff with whatever you like to make a sandwich.

My first batch got a little too done on one side and the part that touched the pan got too hard to eat. It was easy enough to eat around that part though. The second batch I had turned down the heat and they ended up being less overdone on top. These were delicious and I loved the texture. I'm curious to see if these would freeze well to eat at a later date. I think they would, if I planned on toasting them. I can see how they would make an awesome breakfast sandwich too. Maybe I'll freeze one and test it out next weekend!

For my entree, I decided to try the chicken and groundnut stew. Groundnut is basically peanut butter. I have heard of savory items with peanut butter in them. It's used a lot in certain Asian cuisines like Thai food, but I haven't had a lot of experience with it myself. I vaguely remember using it one time in last year's project, but it evades me at the moment what I did with it. This was a very good use of peanut butter, and if you aren't used to it in savory preparations, I highly recommend this one. Again, I translated the metric amounts and will provide them here.

Botswanan Chicken Groundnut Stew:   

1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8.5 oz. water
4.5 oz peanut butter(I used freshly ground peanut butter with no sugar added.)
4.5 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 Tbsp. brown sugar(I completely forgot this and left it out. I didn’t even notice until typing this out. Feel free to leave it out if you want it to be less sweet)
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes

Prepare the sauce by combining the sugar, chili flakes, ginger, peanut butter and tomato paste in a bowl. Slowly stir-in the water a little at a time until the sauce is smooth. Add the oil to a large pan and fry the chopped onion until translucent. Add the chicken and continue frying until the chicken has begun to brown before adding the bell pepper. 

Continue cooking until the chicken is nicely browned all over. Pour in the peanut sauce and stir well.
Cover and reduce the heat to low simmer. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice or rice balls. (I served mine with cooked whole wheat berries and bulgur wheat that I had left over from some salads I had a couple weeks ago.) 
I ended up doing this for Sunday lunch instead of Saturday dinner and it was a great Sunday lunch! The peanut butter isn't very peanutty, it's just very rich and savory. Because I left out the sugar and used fresh peanut butter, there was no real sweetness to it. It blended with the tomato paste really well. I found that this had a lot of oil on the top. Probably from the chicken and the peanut butter, as well as the small amount of oil in the pan to start with. I recommend pouring this off or using a spoon to skim it off because you don't need that much fat in it.

I liked how both of these items cooked on the stove top. It's good for times when you don't want to use your oven, like hot summer days. Of course, the chicken is a bit heavy for a really hot day, so you might want to wait for colder weather. It's great comfort food! If you have never had African food, and are curious about it, this is a great place to start. I highly recommend both of these recipes!


1 comment:

  1. I make a coconut milk and peanut sauce chicken in the crockpot that sounds similar to this which is a hit. -G