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Quarantine Recipes: West African Chicken Curry

One factor that hasn’t modified in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is the necessity to eat. Staying dwelling has inspired some to good their culinary abilities whereas others have cracked open cookbooks for the primary time. 

To give you some kitchen inspiration, Modern Farmer is asking prime cooks what they’ve been cooking whereas staying remoted. This week, our writer, Frank Giustra, weighs in with a spicy peanut butter West African hen curry.

If I had been on a desert island and provided just one bag of groceries, it might embody canned tomatoes, pasta, olive oil and a few jars of peanut butter (no bread wanted). 

Peanut butter is a kid-favorite that appears to comply with most of us into maturity. It’s not solely tasty, however nutritious, and like many health-conscious individuals nowadays, I ultimately transitioned from the sugary manufacturers, to the extra pure picks. While I really like the stuff, I need to admit that I paused for a second when the workforce at Acceso—a company I based to search out entrepreneurial options to international poverty—recommended we produce a spicy peanut butter in Haiti. 

Since 2014, Acceso has been working to elevate 1000’s of Haitian farmers out of poverty by constructing the biggest formal community of smallholder farmers in Haiti, and changing into the biggest provider of native peanuts on the island. To construct on this success, the workforce needed to promote a spicy peanut butter utilizing scotch bonnet peppers and peanuts grown by these Haitian farmers to customers within the US. After a couple of years of perfecting a recipe, conducting style assessments in Haiti and New York, and ideating round a reputation and design, Lavi Spicy Peanut Butter was born. “Lavi” means “life” in Haitian Creole and Acceso’s intent with this identify was to seize the colourful, life-loving tradition of Haiti in a brand new and thrilling product. We launched Lavi within the US on the finish of 2019. 

Lavi is now producing a brand new supply of earnings for these farmers, and on prime of that, for every jar bought, a peanut-based nutritious snack is supplied to a toddler in Haiti by way of Acceso Haiti’s college meals program.

Spicy peanut butter, or mamba, is a standard condiment in Haiti that’s bought on road corners within the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. It’s usually savoury and sizzling, not like the candy peanut butters we are inclined to devour within the US. As I’ve discovered extra about mamba, I’ve tried some conventional Haitian and West African recipes that embody this distinctive ingredient. Recently, I attempted a recipe for Chicken Mafé, a West African dish that’s culturally near Haitian cooking, which I discovered in NYT Cooking

I adopted the recipe, however, as I used to be out within the countryside, I didn’t have entry to cabbage, carrots and tomato paste on that exact day. I did the perfect I might by thickening canned tomatoes and including inexperienced beans. Meanwhile, my girlfriend determined to create a second dish, which was extra of a hen curry type recipe, additionally utilizing spicy peanut butter. 

The ensuing dishes had been each very tasty, and we had them once more for leftovers the next night time. My girlfriend’s dish had extra of a peanut butter style and was spicier than mine, though we used equal quantities of peanut butter. At first, I assumed this was because of the extra spices she had used, however was later instructed by a chef good friend of ours that I had added too many potatoes. Apparently, potatoes soak up a whole lot of the warmth from spices. Our good friend additionally recommended we add lime juice (cherry tomatoes work as effectively) for acidity which helps stability and improve the flavors. We added lime juice on the leftovers and I need to admit, it made a giant distinction. 

West African hen curry 

Ingredients:
four hen thighs
1 onion
four massive garlic cloves
three inches ginger
1 purple pepper
2 candy potatoes
1 Yukon gold potato
1 pack inexperienced string beans
5 chopped runner beans
Paprika*
Cumin*
Turmeric*
Salt*
Pepper*
Fish sauce
1 tin chopped tomatoes
½ pint Chicken inventory
½ jar of spicy peanut butter
1 lime
½ cup mild coconut milk
1 massive handful of chopped recent coriander
*we advise that you simply use spices in portions to your desire because the measurements used on this recipe had been eyeballed 

Instructions:
Chop the garlic cloves into small items. Mix half of them with the oil, honey, lime, salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin and paprika. Add these to a zipper lock bag and therapeutic massage the hen in till coated fully. Leave this to marinate for at least one hour, and ideally in a single day if potential.

Chop the potatoes into cubes and the opposite greens roughly into an analogous measurement.

Add them to a pan, together with the onions, ginger, and the remainder of the garlic. Fry for 30 seconds to launch the aroma in a light-weight oil, after which add chopped tomatoes, the hen inventory, fish sauce, peanut butter and coconut milk. Once simmering, add the prepared marinated hen thighs and the veg.

Slow prepare dinner this for 45 minutes to an hour on excessive.

Once the hen is cooked by way of, add roughly chopped recent parsley and the lime juice. Season it with salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric to style.

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