Cameroon is yet another African country I know very little of, so this was my first – rather cheeky – attempt at presenting you with a Cameroonian dish:
As you can see, I had to start from scratch. ‘Scratch’ being another word for ‘google’, I suppose, because as I was trawling the net I came across Tessybaby, who has been posting a wide range of Cameroonian recipes in the Nigerian web community Nairaland.
I really enjoyed reading her contributions – Tessybaby has such a brilliant no-nonsense approach to cooking, her instructions are clear and kept to a minimum: no fussing around with precise measurements, she trusts our ability to adjust quantities as necessary. And you clearly don’t want to mess with her: when asked what Nigerian produce one could use instead of the Cameroonian ones she specified, she simply admits she doesn’t know. End of story. I therefore kept her recipe as much as I could, to give you a flavour of her wonderfully laconic style – it’s like a friend talking you through a recipe, from memory.
I read through her recipes and the brief conversations with people who commented on her posts as well as asking her for specific recipes. Her posts give us the recipe of the most famous Cameroonian recipe, Poulet Directeur Général, or Chicken DG (pronounced the French way, dey shey). In passing it mentions fired plantains, which one of my friends got me from the Indian shop around the corner in Southall, so I had no excuse and had to make the dish.
Tessybaby’s posts stop at some point in 2013. It’s a pity – I’d love to find out more about her and about Cameroonian cuisine!
Poulet Directeur Général – Chicken DG (serves 4-6)
- One chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 stock cube and/or a one-inch piece of fresh ginger root, grated
- fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, celery leaf, etc.)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- a handful of French beans, trimmed (optional)
- 2-3 peppers. cleaned and chopped (optional)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped or canned tomatoes (optional)
- 1 onion, chopped
- rice and fried plantains, to serve
Combine the chicken, a tablespoon of oil, spices, carrots, green beans, and peppers in a bowl. Tessybaby suggest that it’s better to have most of the “optional” ingredients, such as the carrots and peppers. Stir well and let it marinate for one to three hours.
Heat some oil in a large casserole dish or a dutch oven (I had to look that one up – has anyone used one of them before?). Add onions and fry briefly, until they begin to become translucent. Add chicken and fry over high heat until lightly browned before adding the remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes, if you are using them.
Reduce heat, do not cover, and simmer, stirring regularly, until the chicken is done and the liquid reduced to a slightly thickened sauce. If the chicken gets too dry, add some warm water. If you are using tomatos, add them a few minutes before serving.
Serve with Rice and fried plantains, which can be added immediately before serving.
And if you’re looking for a matching dessert, here’s a fruit salad in the colours of the Cameroonian flag. Original? No. Pretty? Absolutely!