Tag Archives: Troth Wells

Bring Back OUR Girls

fpThis post is a recipe and a story and a cry for action. Maybe you’ve heard, but you may have not. In mid April over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria while in the midst of exams. The number of missing girls is unknown because the school records were destroyed in the attack. Read more about it on BBC Africa.

This is really unfathomable to me, a middle class American woman. I send my children to school and don’t worry that anyone other than maybe a grumpy classmate will hurt more than their feelings.

Not so for moms in other parts of the world. According to Justiceforyouth.org, 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. I’m guessing that includes a lot of children.

I imagine the girls, heading to school for their exams, looking forward to the end of the day when they can have a break from school. Exams usually signal a break from school. I imagine them jingling the coins in their pockets or bag, thinking about the treat that they will buy on the way home. Maybe it will be barbecued meat or roasted corn. I think it will be something sweet, like fried yams or bananas. I have a wonderful cookbook that I’ve referred to here before called The World of Street Food by Troth Wells. I turned to the section for Africa and found a recipe for DoDo, or spicy fried plantains. That is exactly what I imagine a Nigerian girl ending her school year or semester would get as a treat.

DoDo (Fried Plantains)
2 plantains, sliced thin
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Mix the spices with a bit of water in a bowl.
2. Coat the plantain slices
3. Fry in oil until golden brown.
4. Drain on a paper towel.
5. Best served while still warm.

I said I was providing you with a story and a recipe as well as a cry for action. Mother’s Day is one week away in the US. Here’s what I want my kids to do. Bring back OUR Girls. Let’s not look at these girls as someone else’s problem. Let’s make getting them back our problem. Join the campaign. Write Congress. Sign petitions. Wear red to raise awareness. Be outraged. Moms in Africa need our support. Check out the Facebook campaign.

We must encourage those in positions to do so to help people who can’t help themselves. Lets make it about something other than oil prices for once. Let’s make it about doing the right thing for humanity.

Please fry some plantains and while you’re enjoying the sweet aroma filling your house, think of these suffering families and figure out what you can do to help. Because you can do something.


African Peanut Stew

My neighbor gave me a wonderful cookbook for Christmas called “The World of Street Food” by Troth Wells. It’s a beautiful collection of recipes from all over the world for those delicious, aromatic goodies you smell cooking on street corners everywhere.

The first thing I made with my 15 year old was Baozi which are Chinese steamed, meat filled dumplings. Yum, yum and yum.

For New Years, we decided to try Mafe or African Peanut Stew. I have a limit to the amount of fussiness I am willing to endure in my cooking. It’s pretty low. This recipe came close to that limit but it was definitely worth it. The basics of the sauce were taken from the cookbook. I modified the rest of it. This is one of those dishes that smells so good, you can’t wait for it to be done. You will find yourself dipping bread in the sauce and fishing out little bits of chicken to see if it tastes as good as it smells. Trust me. It does.

1 lb chicken
2 onions, sliced in thin rings
1 cup peanut butter
4 TBSP tomato paste
2-3 cups chopped and roasted root vegetables (I chose sweet potatoes and parsnips)
2-3 cups chopped celery and carrots, boiled, stock reserved
cayenne pepper or 2-3 whole chilis

Chop your root vegetables and place them in the oven on a pan sprayed with cooking spray and roast at 375 for 30 minutes.

Place the chopped celery and carrots in a small pot (no more than 2 quarts) and cover with water and bring to a boil, cooking for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Saute the chicken, cut into small chunks with the garlic until the chicken is cooked. Set aside. In the same pan, cook the onion until translucent. Add the peanut butter, tomato paste, and one cup of the reserved liquid and stir until smooth. Add the chicken, onions, vegetables and spices. You can add whatever amount of spices you are comfortable with. I like a little kick in my food, so I probably added about a teaspoon of cayenne, a teaspoon of ginger and a half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

The sauce should coat the chicken and vegetables. If it’s too thick, gradually add more of the reserved liquid. Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Don’t let it get too dry.

While eating an apple today, I thought how great this would be with some chopped apple, specifically Granny Smith. If you decide to add apple, do so about 15 minutes before serving.

The recipe calls for all the veggies to be boiled. It also suggests using cabbage, eggplant or turnips. You can also use 1/2 of cooked beans instead of chicken. It has also been pointed out to me that with gluten free peanut butter and spices, this is a very tasty GF recipe! PS: I hear McCormick Spices (made in Maryland) are gluten free!

Serve over rice.

I took leftovers for lunch and there was a small gathering of curious onlookers by the microwave. Okay. They were just waiting their turn. But a couple of them said it smelled pretty good!