Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nhopi - Zimbabwe Pumpkin Cornmeal


Z is for Zimbabwe...

Many countries have a version of a savory cornmeal porridge. In Italy, it's known as polenta, it's Coo Coo in Barbados and Funchi in Aruba. When trying to pick a country for letter Z, this was my problem with Zimbabwe. I've already done most of their recipes I was able to find, albeit with slight variations, in recipes from other countries. This demonstrates how the cuisine of African slaves was brought to the Caribbean and became staples of our cuisine as much as it is in Africa. Their version of Cornmeal Cake is very similar to Jamaica's Cornmeal Pudding I did here except they top theirs with sour cream instead of coconut milk. Dovi, their Chicken Peanut Butter Stew is very similar to Suriname's Chicken Peanut Butter Soup I did here and Sadza is their polenta. This variation of polenta made with pumpkin was an interesting twist and as with many African dishes, there is some peanut in this version also.

(adapted from here)
Serves 4
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 2  cups water
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 8 oz. pumpkin, peeled, cooked and mashed
Boil water. Made a paste with half of the boiling water and the cornmeal. Slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly. Simmer on low heat for 3 minutes. Use an immersion blender if the cornmeal is lumpy.
Add pumpkin, sugar, salt and peanut butter.

Stir to combine and cook for for another 2-3 minutes.

Zimbabwe, African Recipe

A delicious side dish that goes well with stews or other dishes that have lots of gravy. The nhopi will absorb the gravy which will enhance the flavor.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 44

Chef Mireille

Monday, September 29, 2014


Yemeni food is flavorful but not spicy on its own. Zahawiq is how spice is added to the food, which leaves it up to personal preference how spicy or not you want to make your food.  No food is served without at least one type of zahawiq.

Zahawiq is a type of condiment eaten with many foods in Yemen. It's often served with rice or bread, as well as a dipping sauce for fried foods. There are three types. One with cheese which is usually served with fish. The basic zahawiq which is served with everything from rice and bread to meat dishes. The green zahawiq is most often used as a dipping sauce for fried foods, but also often just served with bread. I will be demonstrating here the basic and the green one.

Basic Zahawiq
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Habanero/Scotch Bonnet green chile
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • a small handful of cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Green Zahawiq
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1/2 bunch garlic chives, rough chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 leaves mustard greens (I used red mustard variety)
  • 1/2 Habanero/Scotch Bonnet green chile
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor and process well. While the processor is running, slowly add olive oil and mix until sauce comes together.
This is very spicy, but very flavorful.

You can serve it with Khobz (Yemeni flatbread) and Foul (Fava Bean Stew) as done below.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 44

 Chef Mireille

Khobz (Yemeni Flatbread)

When perusing Queen of Sheba's site, this bread is the one that looks most similar to the ones I eat at Yemen Cafe here in Brooklyn. To complement this delicious bread, don't forget to look at my Yemeni recipes for Foul & Zahawiq.

Yield: 4 breads
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water (120 F)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil + more for brushing
Combine flours, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
Add water and oil and mix until dough comes together. Knead by hand for 5 minutes until you have a very soft dough. (You may need to add another 1-2 tablespoons of flour if the dough becomes too sticky.)
Place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Divide into four and form into 4 smooth round balls. Place the balls on a flat plate or in a shallow bowl. Brush the tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave it to rest for 2 hours.

Preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 500 F 30 minutes before starting to stretch the dough.
Working with one ball at a time, stretch the dough by hand as thin as possible or as large as your pizza peel is. Do this by stretching the dough over your fist. See video instructions below.

Bake for 4-5 minutes.

Next time, I would reduce salt by 1/2 teaspoon.
Next time, I would also cook it in the broiler part of the oven to get more color on it.
It is difficult to stretch the dough by hand if it is your first time like it was mine. After you stretch it a little, if it starts to break, place on the pizza peel and using your fingertips stretch the dough outwards. Make sure you have enough cornmeal on the board so it does not stick when you slide onto the pizza stone.

This soft bread is perfect for dunking intoYemeni Foul (Fava Bean Stew).

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 44

Chef Mireille

Yemeni Foul

Of all Middle Eastern cuisines, Yemen is one of my favorites. There is a restaurant here in Brooklyn's Middle Eastern enclave called Yemen Cafe which I have been frequenting for many years. In addition to the delicious food, the staff here is so friendly and nice. Its a family friendly place with a huge fish tank that the kids always get a kick out of. Although everything is delicious here, my favorite are their lamb dishes. Lamb cooked slow and tender so that it just breaks apart with one pierce of the fork in flavorful broths. I can't think of how many lambs get slaughtered a week just for this restaurant. Most dishes are served with huge hunks of lamb. The last time I visited the cafe, I saw the delivery van and the whole van was full of lamb carcasses being delivered to the cafe, waiting to be butchered.
Yemeni Flatbread and Salad served family style, Lamb Broth, Zahawiq, my friend's son enjoying his Yemeni food, happy smiles eating Yemeni
As soon as you sit down, you are greeted with complimentary lamb broth, basic zahawiq and large Yemeni flat bread that is constantly being replenished as you eat your meal, complimentary. You barely have a chance to finish the last bite and a fresh warm bread out of the tandoor has been replaced on your table (except on a Saturday or Sunday when the place is so busy the staff are running around like crazy so you might have to give them a gentle reminder you need more bread). Then there is the hulba that tops some of the stews. Hulba is ground fenugreek powder which is soaked for a day and then whipped so that it looks like whipped egg whites.
Lamb, Kebab, Saltah (vegetable stew) with Hulba, empty bowl of saltah eaten with lamb and flatbread - too delicious!
Once I went with a Vegetarian friend and that time I tried foul and I was equally impressed with this dish, which is popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa in countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt. There are many different types of Yemeni flat breads as demonstrated by Queen of Sheba. Her blog full of Yemeni recipes is a great resource if you'd like to try this cuisine, with most of the recipes accompanied by videos. All of the Yemeni recipes posted today were adapted from her site & my dining experiences at Yemen Cafe.
For ease, I have posted and linked them here in separate posts:
Basic & Green Zahawiq
Khobz (Yemeni Flatbread)

Serves 4
  • 1 19 oz.can fava beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil. Add onion, chile, garlic and bell pepper. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are brown and carmelized.
Add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes until they turn mushy.
In the meantime, puree the beans in the blender with 1/4 cup water.
Add to tomatoes with 1 1/4 cup of water and the spices. Add salt, to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with Yemeni flat bread or pita bread.

Yemeni food is flavorful but not spicy on its own. Zahawiq is how spice is added to the food, which leaves it up to personal preference how spicy or not you want to make your food.  No food is served without at least one type of zahawiq.

See here for my zahawiq recpes.

Despite Yemen being a culture that loves their lamb, you can still enjoy a Vegetarian Yemeni meal.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 44

Chef Mireille

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Green Bean Raspberry Salad

The Blogging Marathon which I have been participating in on a regular basis since December, 2011 is not just a bunch of food bloggers who decide to post recipes on the same themes every month. It is a vibrant community that engages online as well as offline.

Brazilian Banana Coffee Crumb Cake from Santa Catarina - Cuca de Banana

Cuca, Brazilian Coffee Cake

X is for Xavantina, Brazil...

As most of you know, this month we of the Blogging Marathon group are cooking International dishes by alphabet, but then a dilemma arose. There is no country in the world that begins with the letter X. However there are many cities that begin with the letter, mostly in China. I went on a search for something a little different and came upon this Brazilian town beginning with the letter X.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Glamorgan Sausage

W is for Wales...

Glamorgan Sausage is essentially what the rest of the world might call a Vegetarian kofta or kebab. It is a popular breakfast item in Wales, made of leeks and cheese. When I looked at the original recipe source, it said to use Caerphilly cheese, which is a Welsh cheese or to use some combination of Cheddar & Havarti. I have never noticed this cheese before, despite visits to Whole Foods and East Village Cheese. I didn't have time to go to East Village Cheese, my spot for getting inexpensive gourmet cheeses in NYC.

I happened to have a job near Trader Joe's, so I decided to stop in there and see what kind of substitutes I could find. I first found a block of Dubliner cheese - I figured Ireland is pretty close to Wales so I thought that would be a good substitute and then I was looking for some Fontina or some Gouda since I am not a Havarti fan...and then lo and behold what caught my eye...a block of Welsh Colliers Cheddar and it was cheaper in price than the Gouda too! So it's not the Caerphilly, but it is a Welsh cheese and I am sure someone in Wales is substituting this cheese to make their breakfast Glamorgan.

Print Friendly


Related Posts with Thumbnails