Secret Kitchen menu, 22nd September 2012

senegal
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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

About tonight’s menu

We spent some time in Senegal a few years ago on our way to Ghana, tasting everything we could and learning from some fantastic cooks, from street food sellers to restaurant chefs.  We ate extremely well and fell in love with Dakar.

'Jus locaux', so called to differentiate them from the likes of Coca-Cola, are infusions made from hibiscus flowers, root ginger, the fruit of the baobab tree, tamarind and more.  Tonight we've spiced them up with vodka and rum.

Our favourite street food snack was beignets de niébés, and our favourite seller, Bintou, showed us how to soak the dried beans, pound them to a fluffy paste in a huge mortar and fry them in groundnut oil.  She was a third generation beignet seller with 20+ years experience.  This is my first try!

Mafé and Poulet Yassa are both classic dishes from the region.  The former is made with peanut paste, plenty of chilli and some unusual condiments, including fermented sea slug and the fermented seeds of the néré tree.  I have tried to remain as authentic as possible...  The chicken was marinated in lime juice, onions and chillies, then grilled over charcoal, and finally slow-cooked with the marinade.  We hope you like them as much as we did in Senegal.

Oh, and the Mini Guinness is the nightcap our friends used to serve us at Green Turtle Lodge in Ghana - a shot glass of Ghanaian Takai (coffee and chocolate liqueur) topped with a layer of creamy South African Amarula liqueur.  Looks just like a mini Guinness and tastes amazing.

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