Results tagged “senegal”

Secret Kitchen menu, 22nd September 2012

Smbitteraubergines0001.JPGthinking of Senegal

Hibiscus and ginger cocktails with green plantain crisps

Black-eyed bean beignets, Shrimp beignets,
Mackerel pastels, Black plantain fried in palm oil

Mafé and Poulet Yassa
with rice and mango & avocado salad

Pineapple, papaya & watermelon

Mini Guinness

To the land where things ferment

We rolled over the Diama dam and got all of about three feet into Senegal before having to make our first payment: the bridge toll.  Although to give him credit, we did get a proper ticket and receipt - unlike the next person in line, the frontier policeman, who simply refused to stamp our passports until we gave him 10 euro each.  Receipt?  Of course not - everyone just pays up.  Here, I'll show you: look at my big drawer full of cash.

Smdindefeloboys0001.JPGBut as it turned out, he was the only person we came across in Senegal who wanted to do things that way.  Contrary to popular traveller misconception, every other traffic policeman, customs official and gendarme was friendly and correct (if sometimes a little busy on their mobile phone to do much more than wave our paperwork in the air for a bit).  And as in Morocco and Mauritania, pretty much everyone else we met was chatty and helpful too.

Smplastickettle0001.JPGOther things really did seem to change, though, as soon as we'd crossed the Senegal river.  The landscape was much greener, lusher; there were trees everywhere; and there were monkeys running across the road.  The kettles were made of stripy plastic now.  Smwomencarrying0001.jpgThe people were all properly black and looked seriously West African - women in incredibly bright patterned fabrics carrying everything on their heads, boys in football kit practising madly for their lucrative futures in the Premiership.  And the food was definitely different.  Here, it was all about the fruit juices.  The savoury condiments, the grains, the baguettes and the viennoiserie.  And above all, the joys of fermentation ...

Fonio in the morning

You wake up in the dark and look at the time - it's only 5am! What could have woken you? You can hear insects chirping, and a cock crowing in the distance, but that's not it. Then you hear low women's voices, and the pounding - a deep, muffled, insistent sound. Drums? But why would people be drumming this early? Then you remember - it's just breakfast ...

Smdandegirls0001.JPGThis is DandĂ©, a little village up in the hills on the Senegalese side of the border with Guinea.  People here mostly eat fonio, a grain with little round seeds which looks a bit like couscous, and usually gets steamed in a similar way.  It was entirely wild until a few decades ago, and it's very nutritious - but to get the little skins off you have to pound it in a large wooden mortar, with a huge pestle, for a long time.  So the women and girls of the village get up very early every day to start pounding ...

I love this recording - the way the rhythm keeps changing and sounds almost musical.  But to listen to it, make sure you use headphones or proper speakers - on my laptop speakers it really doesn't work (you can't hear the deep bass sound of the pounding at all).

Click here to listen.

Click here to listen to more audio samples.



Culinary Anthropologist