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the appetizer:

West African cuisine is heavy with starch, light on meat and generous on fat. Cooks in West Africa often use root vegetables like yams, cocoyams, and cassava, as well as cereal grains, plantains, hot spices, rice, peanuts, black-eyed peas, okra, green peas, citrus fruits, and pineapples.

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Shitor Din (Dark Chilli Sambal)

Recipe Origin: GHANA

Many African recipes combine filling, although rather bland, dishes made from grains or vegetables with spicy sauces, soups and condiments to provide the flavor. Chilli Sambal is one of these zesty additions and can be used to pep up not only grain or vegetable-based dishes, but seafood, poultry and meat recipes, too. Here are three Chilli Sambal recipes known collectively as 'Shitor'. Two are traditional: the one made from fresh ingredients will keep for only a day or two. The other two can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Traditional Dark Chilli Sambal

Makes approximately 750 g (1-1/2 lb)

350 ml (12 fl oz) vegetable oil
4 medium onions, finely chopped
100 g (3-1/2 oz) root ginger, finely grated
30 g (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
2 chicken stock cubes
200 g (6-1/2 oz) peeled dried prawns (shrimp)
100 g (3-1/2) tiny prawns (shrimp), ground to a powder
75 g (2-1/2) chilli (hot pepper) powder

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the onions and ginger for 10-15 minutes until the onions are golden. Stir in the tomato paste and mix thoroughly.

Crush the chicken stock cubes and add them to the pan, without water. Stir to mix. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add both lots of prawns (shrimp) and stir for 1 minute. Add the chilli (hot pepper) powder and thoroughly blend in. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring continuously. Be careful not to burn the mixture at this stage. Remove from the heat and stand for about 1 hour or until the sambal has cooled down. Transfer to a storage jar and keep in a cool place until required.

Fresh Shitor

Makes 2 Servings

6 fresh red chillies (hot peppers), finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste

Combine chillies (hot peppers), onion and tomatoes in a bowl and mash or process to a pulp. Season and serve as a side dish or sauce.

Dorinda's Shitor Din or Mako Tuntum

Makes approximately 750g (1-1/2 lb)

350 mL (12 fl oz) vegetable
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 medium onions, finely chopped
100 g (3-1/2 oz) root ginger, coarsely grated (with or without skin)
30 g (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
2 chicken stock cubes
150 g (5 oz) dried prawns (shrimp)
100 g (3-1/2 oz) dried, tiny prawns (shrimp)
100 g (3-1/2 oz) chilli (hot pepper) powder

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the garlic, onions and ginger for 10-15 minutes until the onions are golden. Stir in the tomato paste and mix thoroughly.

Crush the chicken stock cubes and add that to the pan, without water. Add both lots of dried prawns (shrimp) and stir for 1 minute. Add the chilli (hot pepper) powder and thoroughly mix in.

Remove from the heat and stand for about 1 hour or until the sambal has cooled down. Transfer to a storage jar and keep in a cool place until required.

Note: This sambal can be stored for up to 1 year in the refrigerator, so you can make a large quantity and freeze in several small containers.

from:
A Taste of Africa
by Dorinda Hafner
Ten Speed Press, 1993
$16.95 / Paperback
ISBN 0-89815-660-2
Recipe reprinted by permission

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This page modified January 2007


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