Yoka Rafalakhi recipe, a savory and very hot dish from Guinea in West Africa.
For: 4 servings
- 600 g cassava ((yoka) - fresh tuber(s) - peeled)
- 3 plantains ((aloko) / known as gonja in Uganda)
- 2 cans coco yam (taro) ((Ignam)) 2 cans
- 150 g Groundnut/peanut butter/paste ((kanzi bàra) - about 150 - 200g)
- pepper ((gbèngbe) very hot habanero pepper - optional - use only what is good for you!)
- 3 onions ((yèbè) - large)
- salt to taste
- 2 Maggi boullion cubes (or other spices)
- 500 g sweet potato (peeled)
- fish ((yèkhè) - canned tuna in oil, ca. 400g or other similar fish fillet can do)
- This is a simple dish involving cooking the ingredients above for about 4 people and so one can surely estimate the amounts. Folks in many parts of Africa do not measure anything and use the eyes & experience to estimate amounts. We have however taken the step to use the above amounts. I am told, one can use only cassava, minus coco yam and sweet potato, or only do with sweet potatoes without cassava & coco yam, though all are going to be used.
- Peel cassava, sweet potato, coco yam and plantains and cut them into small mouth-sized pieces.
- Chop the onion and together with the cassava, coco yam sweet potato and add water so it reaches about the level of the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil. Using hot water shortens cooking time. Let this boil for a few minutes.
- Add fish, groundnut/peanut butter and plantains, Maggi, salt & pepper Mix and stir well but carefully.
- Let this cook on low heat until ready, i.e. until especially the sweet potato, cassava & coco yam are soft. Stir now and then.
- A teflon pan is best to help prevent scorching at the bottom. This should form some thick mixture.
- The total boiling time should be about 30 - 40 minutes.
I ate this the other day & it tasted delicious. It is sweetish, because of the plantains. I had never eaten such a mixture of cassava, sweet potatoes, coco yams (!) & plantains all cooked together (something that would make a “conservative” Ugandan frown), in groundnut & fish sauce, to make a type of “katogo”. One thing I have said elsewhere, though is the West Africans beat “us” on this. They are much more adventurous when it comes to cooking & so have countless dishes consisting of practically endless combinations. Their sauces ALWAYS if possible consist of MANY ingredients, with often astonishing mixtures, but which taste nice. That is however the same thing in Europe, Asia & elsewhere where dishes consist of many things. The possibility of cooking such food oneself is one can determine for example how much pepper to add. Guineans & other West Africans, who apparently start with impossible amounts of pepper as kids would add what at least in non-pepper eating traditions like mine would find simply too hot. The one habanero pepper used in the recipe would be found to be DEFINITELY too hot for most folks.
By omitting fish, I would suppose a vegetarian would probably like this.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taro … Taro or cocoyams, cassava, sweet potatoes & peppers can be bought in African or Asian food stores for those abroad
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch_bonnet_%28pepper%29 & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habanero_chili are widely used in West Africa and are SUPER HOT, but aromatic
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato. You mostly find the white-flesh type in Uganda
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava … cassava, elsewhere known as Yucca or manioc / maniok is widely eaten also in Eastern Africa
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantain, known locally in Uganda as “gonja” is much more widely eaten in West Africa, where it appears to be the “standard” banana for cooking. For information purposes, in Uganda plantains play only a small role. For cooking purposes “matoke”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matoke is a staple in a number of regions.