24 May 2010


Greens (not bitter)

Maggi cubes (or other MSG/flavor source)

Chop greens into fine pieces (hold in a bundle and cut across in small sections - on a cutting board if you're American, or just in your hand against your index finger if you're Cameroonian). Boil until tender. Drain.

Chop onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and piment finely. Fry in lots of oil with plenty of Maggi. Add in drained greens, mix thoroughly and fry a little more.

Throw in some meat or fish chunks if you've got them lying around.

I made njama-njama for the first time the other day after Jane gave me a bunch of non-bitter greens. Yum! It is one of my favorite Cameroonian foods, and maybe the only time you eat vegetables as a dish.

I'm eating a plant! There were twice as many greens as shown here.

After chopping the first half. Fingers still intact!

Onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, cube (Honig, not Maggi)

And it's njama-njama! This is normally eaten with fufu corn aka couscous de maiz. But I like it just straight veggie deliciousness. No bland, non-nutritive starch ball necessary!

Bagels From Heaven


2 t dry yeast
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/4 c. warm water

3 1/2 c. flour (+ more for kneading)
1 1/2 t salt

Add sugar and water to 1/2 c. of warm water and let sit 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt and form a well in the center. Pour the dissolved yeast and half the remaining water into the well and mix. Add reserve water as needed to form a firm and moist dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Gradually work in more flour to form a stiff and firm (but still smooth and elastic) dough. Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it, cover it with a cloth and let it rise somewhere warm for about an hour (or til doubled in size).

Punch the dough down and let it rest 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (or 9, if you can only fit 3 bagels at a time in your marmite oven and you like symmetry). Roll each piece into a ball and press between your hands to get rid of air bubbles (you can feel them coming out!). Coat a finger in flour and press it through the ball to form a ring. Gently stretch the ring and work your fingers into the hole until it is about 1/3 the diameter of the ring. Cover with a cloth and let rest 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, set the oven to preheat at 425 F or preheat your marmite to what seems like a good temperature. Also, bring a large pot of water to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Use a slotted spatula to lower the bagels into the water in batches of 2 or 3. Boil, uncovered, until they rise to the surface (~1 minute) and then flip them once. Remove from the water and drain excess water. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or inverted pan lid) and bake 20 minutes until beautifully golden.

I found the recipe here, a truly amazing baking blog! While mildly time consuming, like all bread is, the bagels were amazing! My yeast didn't proof as well as I wanted, and my bagels were neither smooth nor highly-poofed, but they were delicious bagels in Cameroon. The recipe is easy if you've got the time, and I imagine they get better each time you make them.

Lacking cream cheese, lox, jam, etc, I ate the bagels plain, and ate one toasted and topped with a fried egg, avocado and Cameroon style condiment. Yum, yum, YUM!

Bagels resting pre-boil.

Boiling water on the left, marmite oven on the right.

Bagels a-boiling and a-beginning to float.

Bagels enter the oven.

Fresh, hot, tasty bagels! Before entering my belly.

Vegan Naan


10 May 2010


2/3 c. warm water
1 t sugar
2 t yeast

1.5 c. flour
1 T oil
1 t salt
margarine for frying

Mix yeast, sugar and warm water and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy. Add flour, oil and salt and mix into a dough. Knead for 5 minutes. Let rise for 30-90 minutes until doubled in size or impatient. Divide into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Flatten with hands or rolling pin, depending on desired irregularity coefficient, to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Fry in a pan over medium heat, adding margarine for each piece. (More margarine = more tastiness, less margarine = more health, butter instead of margarine = non vegan, wheat flour = add more yeast).


This recipe is best served with LJ's Chana Dal and McCrays amazing greens, some cold beer and friends. But. It goes well with pretty much everything. I would wrap bread in this naan. Maybe not.

Best Eggplant


09 May 2010


1 small eggplant
2 T butter/margarine
1 t salt
3/4 c. water
1/2 T sugar
1/2 T vinegar

1/2-1 t. ea:
- cinnamon
- coriander
- cumin
- turmeric
+ spicy chili to taste

Cut eggplant into small chunks (1/2-1 inch). Heat butter and spices, cook for ~1 minute (don't allow to burn). Add eggplant and salt and toss to coat. Combine water, vinegar and sugar and add to pan. Simmer covered until tender (~10 min). Uncover and simmer rapidly until liquid is evaporated (~15 min).

This is one of my new favorite recipes! The original recipe can be found here. I like to eat this plain, but it's also good over rice, couscous and with naan. When I serve it over something, I don't evaporate ALL the liquid.

Everytime I cook this, Jane comes to the window and says, "Zara, what are you preparing? It smells SO good!"

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