Africa Recipes: Peanut Biscuits (Kulikuli) – Benin

Kulikuli (peanut biscuit) is a delicious African snack enjoyed all over Africa though prepared differently based on the country. Today we are preparing kulikuli the Benin way.
• 3 ½ cups peanut butter
• 1/2 cup warm water
• Peanut oil, for deep-frying
• Salt
Step 1
Peanuts can often be freshly ground for you at health food stores. Put the peanut paste in a bowl, and use your hand to knead and squeeze the paste to remove excess oil.
Step 2
Add small amounts of warm water from time to time to help extract the oil. Continue the kneading and squeezing until most of the oil is extracted and you get a smooth paste. Season with salt.
Step 3
Add the extracted oil to the oil you will use for deep-frying.
Step 4
Shape the paste into rings or small, flat biscuits. Heat 1 inch of peanut oil in a skillet and fry the biscuits until golden brown. Remove from heat, drain, let cool, and store in an airtight container until needed.

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Asia Recipes: Cambodian Pork Rice Soup

Here’s a really fantastic dish to put on the table at the end of a long, cold winter day.  If you’re craving comfort food and you’re up for an exciting taste treat (and exciting visuals) you’ll enjoy this recipe. Plus it’s a one-dish dinner that you can whip up in under an hour.
The broth is flavored with ginger and lemongrass that are smashed to release their flavor, and salty dried shrimp.  If you can’t find the shrimp, chopped anchovies are a perfect substitution.
It’s a very thick, full-bodied soup that’s loaded with tender rice and garlicky ground pork. You can get creative with the accompaniments.  I chose basil, peanuts, scallions, crisp cabbage, fried shallots and fresh limes – simple ingredients, but they adorn the soup so beautifully that the meal almost seems extravagant!
I especially love the fried shallots!

If you want to add some heat to your bowl, spoon on some of this mixture of chopped Thai bird chiles and fish sauce.  It’s a popular Southeast Asian condiment, known in Thailand and Laos as prik nam pla.
This dish is adapted from Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford.  The authors ate their way through Southeast Asia and their cookbook is full of great recipes and fascinating tales of their journey. I’m not sure if every recipe in the book fits the book’s title as perfectly as this Cambodian pork rice soup does.  It definitely has a great balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet.
We have a deep freeze here in Boston and it’s a great excuse to cook lots of delicious, warming comfort food. I think a steaming bowl of hearty soup can truly warm and nurture you from the inside.
Marinate the pork
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Make the Broth
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed, 1 or 2 tough outer layers removed, smashed flat with a meat pounder or rolled with a heavy rolling pin
  • 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger root, peeled and smashed flat
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp or 4 flat anchovies (packed in oil) finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup jasmine rice, rinsed several times in cold water and drained
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or other vegetable oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (1/4 cup)

  • ¼ cup Thai fish sauce
  • 1 bird chile, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 3-4 shallots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise, about 1 cup
  • 2 cups bean sprouts or thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 15-20 Thai basil leaves, slivered (or substitute regular or sweet basil)
  • 1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

  1. In a small bowl stir the pork with fish sauce and sugar. Set aside.
  2. Place water, ginger, lemongrass, salt and dried shrimp (if using) in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for 5 minutes. Add rinsed rice to the pot. When it returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and golden, about 3 minutes, Regulate the heat so they don’t burn. Transfer shallots to a condiment bowl.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet and toss in the garlic and anchovies (if using) Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the pork and cook, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the pork is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the pork stir-fry to the soup pot, once the rice has finished cooking. Stir through. Season with salt, to taste.
  5. Mix the bird chile with ¼ cup fish sauce in a small condiment bowl. Set aside.
  6. Just before serving, gently reheat the soup. Divide the shredded cabbage or sprouts among the bowls. Add a pinch of shredded basil and a pinch of scallions to each bowl. Ladle the soup on top. Add a bit of each topping and a generous grinding of black pepper to each bowl. Serve with a lime wedges and prik nam pla on the side. 
  7. Enjoy!

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3 ways with chocolate-covered clementines

That time of year when grocery stores are filled with juicy and sweet clementines is finally here! Of course, enjoying them just as they are is perfectly fine, but I love to dress them with a little melted chocolate for the holiday season. This couldn’t be easier: all you need is some good-quality chocolate and a few toppings.
Top the chocolate with any one of the three following toppings: finely chopped pistachios (or any other nuts), sweetened shredded coconut or fleur de sel.
If you’re hosting an afternoon holiday party, serve alongside coffee, tea or hot chocolate, or add the fruit as part of a holiday dessert tray.
Here’s how to make chocolate-covered clementines: melt good quality chocolate using a double-boiler. Transfer chocolate to a bowl and dip clementines segments in the chocolate, letting any excess drip. Sprinkle with pisctachios, coconut or fleur de sel and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge until chocolate has hardened, about 20 minutes.
By Jennifer Bartoli

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Asia Recipes: Pork and rice (bai sach chrouk) – Cambodian


  • 600 gpork neck, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbspvegetable oil
  • toasted shredded coconut, chicken broth (optional) and steamed rice, to serve
Garlic and coconut marinade
  • 3garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbspsoy sauce
  • 65 g(¼ cup) grated palm sugar
  • 250 ml(1 cup) coconut milk
  • 2 tbspfish sauce
  • 1lime, juiced
Pickled vegetables
  • 110 g(½ cup) caster sugar
  • 185 ml(¾ cup) rice vinegar
  • 2red bird’s-eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 1carrot, thinly shredded
  • 1cucumber, thinly shredded
  • ½daikon (see Note), thinly shredded
  • 10 cm-pieceginger, thi


Chilling time overnight
To make marinade, place ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl and stir to combine and dissolve sugar. Add pork, turning to coat, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Meanwhile, to make pickled vegetables, place sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cool completely, then stir in vinegar, chillies, vegetables and ginger. Place in a sterilised jar (see Note) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Leftover pickles will keep refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.
Heat a barbecue or chargrill pan to medium-high. Remove pork from marinade, discarding excess marinade. Season pork with salt and brush with oil. Cook, turning halfway, for 8 minutes or until caramelised and cooked through.
Scatter over coconut and serve immediately with pickled vegetables, chicken broth, if desired, and rice.
  • Daikon is a large white radish from select greengrocers and Asian food shops.
  • It is essential to sterilise jars before filling them to prevent bacteria from forming. You can reuse any glass jar as long as the lid seals well. To sterilise jars, bottles and metal spoons in the oven, preheat oven to 120°C. Wash items in soapy water, rinse, then dry. Place equipoment (inclduing non-plastic lids) on an oven tray and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and fill jars while still hot. To sterilise jars, bottles, containers and metal spoons in the dishwasher, wash on the hottest cycle. Dry, then fill jars, bottles and containers while still hot.
By: Phoebe Wood

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Refreshing post-holiday smoothie

After too many indulgent holiday dinners, countless potlucks, bottomless celebratory drinks and a myriad of cookies and confections, something refreshing and light is in order this time of year.
This smoothie has all the flavours of the holidays, without the butter, cream and gravy. It’s light and refreshing, not too sweet with a hint of citrus and mint. The best part, you probably already have these seasonal ingredients on hand.
Here’s how to make it. You’ll need;
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ⅓ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 clementine, peeled and segmented (be sure to remove any seeds)
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup cranberry cocktail
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes

Put everything in your favourite super blender and blitz until smooth. My blender had no problem crunching up the pomegranate seeds, but you can always pour through a fine mesh sieve before serving.
For those who love green smoothies, add ¼ cup packed, chopped, stemmed kale or spinach to make this extra healthy!
By Leah Kuhne

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Australia and Oceania Recipes: Te Bua Toro Ni Baukin – Kiribati

This recipe could be called “if you can’t pronounce the name, don’t bother trying”. I am an adventurous person but this time, I have to say I could have skipped this adventure. The only good thing about this recipe is that it allowed me to use the pumpkin I had purchased for Halloween to carve with my kids… and that I hadn’t had time to carve this time!
Kiribati is probably one of those countries you have never heard of. It is really an island nation composed of 32 atolls located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I do not think there is a country more removed from anywhere on this planet than this nation. It spreads over a surface as big as the United States but its land area is barely over 300 sq. miles with a population of just over 100,000 people. Another interesting characteristic of this country is that it is the only one that is located on the four hemispheres!
Finding a dish that is characteristic of this country was not an easy task. I found typical dishes like the Palu Sami but soon discovered this was really originally a Samoan dish that is also served in Kiribati. I therefore settled on Te Bua Toro ni Baukin. Yes, this is the actual name of this dish which is as weird as its ingredients. Islanders obviously rely a lot on local wholesome ingredients but also need to find ways to preserve food, which is why they also use powdered milk or tinned meat in some of their recipes.
As I cooked this dish, I realized that I would have a hard time with it. However, I served it to my kids without any word. My daughter Ava only finished it after I gave her ketchup to mask its weird taste. My oldest son Elior, being as adventurous as I am (if not more), devoured the dish in less than 5 minutes. That’s my boy!
Ingredients (for 6 persons)
– 1 cup flour
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 6 tbsp. powdered milk (or 15 cl soy milk)
– 1 medium pumpkin (about 1.5 lb. grated pumpkin)
– 1 medium cabbage (about 1.5 lb. shredded cabbage)
– 1 lemon
– 1 tin meat (or ½ lb. corned beef)
Peel pumpkin and grate flesh into a dish, or if the pumpkin is large, cut the top and carve the inside. Drain excess water from grated pumpkin.
Shred cabbage and add to grated pumpkin.
Add flour, tinned meat (or diced corned beef), powdered milk (or soy milk), cabbage and baking powder to the pumpkin. Mix all together. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Put mixture into a baking dish that was greased with butter or oil.
Cook in 350 F oven until brown, about 45-50 minutes.
By: Mike Benayoun

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Africa Recipes: Akassa – Benin

Akassa is a traditional Beninese recipe made of cornmeal and typically served as the base for a stew.
• 1.5kg cornmeal
• Water
Step 1
Mix cornmeal thoroughly with 3L of water. Pour through a fine sieve to separate the water from the coarse meal.
Step 2
Discard the cornmeal and retain the water.
Step 3
Put the water from the cornmeal in a pot and allow to settle overnight. Carefully drain in the morning, retaining the sediments at the bottom of the pot. Retain the soaking water. When ready to prepare, place 500ml of the soaking water in a pot, bring to boil, and add 100ml of the sediment.
Step 4
Cook, stirring vigorously for about 12 minutes. If the porridge gets too thick, add a little more water as you continue stirring.
Step 5
Akassa should be thicker than the porridge-like Bouille, but should not be thickened to solid dough like FuFu.
Step 6
Serve with soup or stew.

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