i had a special request to see the kinds of food i am eating while i’m here. so i’ve been trying over the past 2 weeks to photograph my cooking and eating experience. so, if you’re interested in food, photos, and few words, this is for you! :o)
as is customary now, whenever we visit with bisarra, she likes to prepare food for us. this is what she makes every day for the children at school. it’s a dish called “windi bundu” and it consists of coarse rice flour (basically the consistency of cous cous), moringa leaves and spices. check out the link to learn more about moringa leaves and their health benefits. it is something i’m learning much about and it’s pretty intriguing.
once the moringa leaves are cooked and the rice flour steamed, she mixes those together with spices- tonka, which is a pepper here, and various other things that i don’t know of :o)
oil, onions and peppers are added as well and then mixed together to finish the dish.
it’s one of the first local foods i had back in february, and i really like it! now i know how to make it and plan on doing so at my house. which will be a little different cooking techniques, but hopefully the same results.
here’s a dish i make often for myself: curried lentils and potatoes. also have become pretty adept at making flour tortillas and “fake naan” which you can see here :o)
i’ve been making these muffins quite often, and they serve as a great breakfast or gift to share with friends. there’s always some combination of veggies and fruits: zucchini, carrots, apples, bananas; as well as hempseed powder, moringa powder, dates, and local nuts (have no idea what kind) for some added health benefits. muffins aren’t really what i would call “healthy,” but i try to cut the sugar because of the natural sweetness of the dates and add some other plant proteins and then i feel better about making, eating and sharing them :o)
last week, my friends came back from their time in their village and brought back tomatoes from their friend’s garden. the tomatoes were SO GOOD. and i haven’t had tomatoes here because they’re all imported and super expensive. so these were a treat. we decided to make fresh salsa and since we didn’t have any chips, we made some! we used flour, so they’re not your traditional corn chips, but honesty, food tastes better when you make everything from scratch. i’m learning that for sure.
here’s a meal i make once a week and eat for non-consecutive meals. my official name for it is ratatouille with meat. ha. because it’s basically the same ingredients.
browned ground beef with garlic and onions:
freshly bleached and chopped veggies:
add tomato paste, water and spices:
pour over rice and top with homemade crackers:
these are dates. i learned how to eat them in the dried state like this: bite in half, check for bugs, take out the pit, eat.
i also learned how to soften them and use them in my breads and muffins. can you believe i NEVER knew what a date looked like?? i’m now working on my very own larabar recipe because i should be able to figure it out, and they are the only “energy/bar” thing i eat at home anyhow. i’ll keep you posted, because my first attempt was a failure. :o)
and finally, my homemade crackers. the first batch were slightly in between “saltine” and “hardtack”, and these were a little thin… so i’m still working on that recipe as well.
so, there you have it. a little glimpse into my culinary foray here in niger. :o)
(shane & shane- i miss you)