Since my deliberate Pan-African journey began, Senegal has always been a country of immense interest to me. This is especially due to the fact that its history is so rich in artistic culture. This is why I thought finding a recipe to try my hand at from there would be brilliant! As luck would have it, while I was searching I found a recipe with more meaning than difficulty.
Attaya is the Senegalese tea ceremony. It is quite easy to prepare and extremely fun to partake in. The recipe simply calls for tea leaves, boiling water, sugar, and mint leaves. It is prepared in three rounds. The first round is simply to boil the tea leaves in the water and add a very small amount of sugar. The second round requires more boiling, addition of sugar, and a few mint leaves. The third and final round asks for some more sugar, and a generous quantity of mint, or mint flavored candy. I personally substituted the peppermint candy with pure peppermint herbal tea.
(Photo Retrieved from: simmeringsenegalfiles.com)
As you can imagine, the sweetness grows on your tongue with each round you take. The symbolism of this ritual is very beautiful. It is supposed to represent friendship; each round showing a longer period of time. Thus the longer the friendship, the sweeter it grows. If that isn’t heart melting, I don’t know what is. You will find a more in depth recipe and explanation at Saviour.com- The Secrets of Snegal Tea
Wherever you go, you can know a people’s taste by their street food. The next recipe I prepared which I am going to share with you is a common dish found in several different Western, Northern, and Francophone African countries. It also goes by different names, sometimes being called Kelewele or Aloco. In Congo, specifically, it is called Makemba.
(Retrieved from: Commons)
This deliciously spicy dish is brought together by fried plantains coated in a combination of different spices. With a hot, – crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside- feel, it is a recipe that can’t be forgotten. My aunty generally brings plantains for our household from Tanzania when she comes to visit. Before we would simply fry or boil them, but after trying this spicy plantain recipe, I don’t think I can ever go back.
It is very simple to make. A short run down of the steps or process for me started with slicing up the plantain into bite sized pieces. After that I used cayenne pepper to add the spicy zing, grated ginger, pepper, some salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice or just plain water. I let the bananas sit in the paste for a while and then fried them up. My suggestion is to you is after they are cooked, don’t cover them up in a stifling container because the heat makes them sweat and then you end up with a soggy mess. So wait for them to cool before you cover them up or eat them hot. Straight off the pan.