Maafe

We are in Senegal this week!

We chose Senegal because it’s in Africa and so far we’ve only done two African countries, Morocco and Israel. I wasn’t aware that we’d done so little in Africa until I started marking off the countries we’ve “visited” on a map of the world. We’ve done plenty in the Mediterranean, Central America, and southeast Asia but the Africa on our map is a little bare. I don’t want Africa to feel left out so we looked at the map and settled on Senegal. Well, we looked at the map for ideas, Googled the cuisine, and then settled on Senegal. We looked at other countries but their cuisines didn’t seem all that appealing or included a lot of yucca and I’m tired of eating yucca. I mean, there is only so much you can do with it, fry it or boil it, and it almost never results in something super good. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the yucca fries from El Salvadorian week but I don’t need to keep recreating them with different spices. I get it, yucca is good!

Quick aside. I use “we” a lot when writing on the blog or when explaining to people what we’re doing. Many people have asked me to clarify who “we” are and when I say that it’s James and I, they ask what exactly he does. First of all, rude. Secondly, he doesn’t have to cook to be considered a contributor.  He helps choose countries, researches meals, helps decide which recipes would work on what days due to time constraints; his input is very important. He also watches our girls while I’m cooking so I can cook with little to no interruption. That right there is probably the best thing he does to help out because those girls be cray sometimes. The second best thing he does is pay for all of this, which he does without complaint. I’m not working so he funds this entire project and doing this is not cheap. For whatever reason, meat and fresh produce are hardly ever discounted, even though they are unbelievably healthier for you than pre-packaged food, so our grocery bill varies from $60 to $200 per week. That is not a complaint, I am fully aware this is a choice and we are by no means obligated to do this, but it is a huge factor. So yes, he is a partner in this and what he does is no less important than what I do.

Now that I’ve talked about how great my husband is, let’s talk about this meal!

This meal was pretty easy to make and the ingredients weren’t hard to find at all. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it, these types of meals are my favorite! The sauce was made up primarily of tomato and peanut butter. Yes, I was curious about that because those two are not typically paired together (at least I’ve never paired them) so there was some slight hesitation about that. The recipe I used seemed to lend itself to improvisation because it was pretty lax about what vegetables to use. I liked this a lot because I could 1. use veggies I liked and 2. use veggies I could find easily. I ended up using okra and cabbage because I like okra and cabbage. Easy enough.

We all really enjoyed it. The tomatoes gave the peanut butter a little tartness which was interesting. Ginger was optional but I did use it because I love ginger. It was very present but not overpowering, which I think was due to the acidity of the tomatoes. I’m just guessing here, I have absolutely no knowledge of food chemistry. For that, you can turn to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. The meat was also surprisingly tender for a stew, for which I once again credit the tomatoes. Tomatoes are super fruits for a reason.

This was a pretty great introduction to Senegalese food. It made me hopeful for the rest of the week.

Recipe

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