Chop-Chop School

The school bus driver dumped us weekly during afternoons at the Hedendahl’s home where cooking classes were held. The international school at that time followed the Swedish curriculum which called for lessons in how to cook! He laughed at the whole idea and called the setup “chop chop school”. Anyway we had great fun and learned a lot. Besides eating what we cooked. New courses every week.

Essential Ingredients
Palm butter and other African ingredients can be obtained in Stockholm, Sweden, at “Taj Mahal” Kammakargatan 40, 111 60 Stockholm. Phone 08-21 22 81.

Also try Hötorgshallen at Hötorget, Stockholm. And other well assorted or foreign food stores in your area.

Essential Links:
Liberian cookbook
Congo cookbook

Pepper Soup
One of two main national dishes of Liberia is the pepper soup. It demonstrates the fact that the country formerly was known as the “pepper coast”. Lying close to Ivory Coast, one may suspect what type of goods made up the stamina in early trading in this area! Several alternate recipes!

Recipe submitted by Dello Juhlin:
600 grams boneless chicken meat or beef
1 litre water
2 onions, diced
1 can crushed tomatoes (about 400 grams)
2 tblsp tomato purée
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Liberian Hot Pepper (substitute cayenne pepper or any other suitable peppers) It should make a really really hot soup!
½ tsp blackpepper
1 tblsp peanut butter
vegetables (any suitable variety)
possibly boiled potatoes

Boil the water with the meat until done, about 20 minutes. A trick of the trade is to put a grain of rice into the water–it is soft when the meat is done.
Add the onions, salt, pepper, crushed and puréed tomatoes
Cook for 5 minutes at reduced heat.
Add the vegetables, peanut and peanut butter (dissolve the peanut butter in a little broth will make it easier to mix into the soup)
Taste! Add more spices as required.
Cook for about 15 minutes covered.

Recipe submitted by Siv Lindgren:
1 whole chicken (thawed if frozen)
3 onions, in pieces
1 litre water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Liberian hot pepper (substitute cayenne pepper or other suitable peppers) It should make a hot soup!
½ tsp black pepper
1 can (400 grams) crushed tomatoes
2 tblsp puréed tomatoes
4 pared, diced potatoes plus one cut in 6 pieces
3 carrots, cut in 1 cm pieces
1 package green peas (unknown quantity)

Put the chicken (whole), onion, salt, and pepper in a casserole. Cover with water and cook until the meat is tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Take out the chicken.
Add to the broth: Tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. Stir. Cook until the vegetables are done.
Meanwhile bone the chicken and cut into suitable pieces.
Add the chicken and peas to the ready soup just to let them get warm.

Country Chop
Serves 10

600-700 grams chicken (legs) or beef
1 can palm butter (unknown size)
½ tsp salt
½ litre water
½ tsp Liberian hot pepper (sutstitute cayenne pepper etc)
2 onions, cut into eight pieces

Boil the meat in salted water separately.
In another casserole, cook the palm butter with an equal ammount of water, onions, and pepper about 15-20 minutes until it thickens and the color darkens.
Add the chicken/meat, but not the water it was cooked in.
Possibly add shrimps just before serving.

Plantain Bananas
There are several other varieties of cooking or starchy bananas that could be substitute candidates if you cannot find plantains. You should be able to find plantains or other cooking bananas in most well-assorted stores. Or try to find stores supplying tropical foods.

8 plantain bananas, ripe (if you buy them green, let them ripen), peeled and cut into pieces diagonally
20 cc oil (not olive oil)

Make a mixture of:
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
The original recipe was unclear about wether or not the spices were mixed with the oil.

Sauce ingredients
1 onion in slices
50 grams butter
1 tblsp flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Liberian hotpepper (cayenne pepper)
20 cc water
1 tblsp puréed tomatoes
1 packet shrimps (doesn’t specify quantity)
1 can tuna (doesn’t specify size)

Dip the banana slices in the mixture
Fry the bananas in the oil at moderate heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown
Put the slices in an oven safe casserole

Set oven for 175 degrees C

Prepare the sauce:
Melt the butter in a sauce pan
Add sliced onion and fry until tender
Add flour and spices
Add water
Let it get warm on low heat, possibly adding more water
Simmer for a while stirring occasionally
Add tuna and shrimps (shrimps can be added just before serving)
Pour over bananas

Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until warm

Fufu is basically mashed yams or cassava and is what potatoes are to westerners. The Congo cookbook has a superior section with all about fufu! Follow the link!