Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Little Bit of Spain in the African Continent

I have cooked my way through yet another country that shares the common name of Guinea. Tonight's meal was specifically from Equatorial Guinea, a nation located in Central Africa. If you are super interested in languages like me, you might be wondering why the recipe names are in Spanish. Equatorial Guinea is actually the only African country where Spanish is the national language. This is a result of 190 years of Spanish rule. October 12, 1968 saw Equatorial Guinea's independence, but they were soon practically demolished by the president Francisco Macias Nguema who pretty much destroyed the economy and government. Today French and Portuguese along with Spanish are the official languages with many tribal languages also spoken. The people are mainly of Bantu origin. The mixture of Hispanic and African culture and traditions can be seen in many aspects of the Equatoguinean culture. Roman Catholicism is the largest religion. Acoustic guitar bands mirror the Spanish-style. Football (soccer) is the most common sport. The cuisine also sees a lot of influence from its colonial Spanish roots. I couldn't find all that much information about the cuisine, but I did learn that fish is very popular. Served with a creamy sauce  a colorful succotash which is apparently the national dish, my Equatoguinean meal did not disappoint.



Chilies and peppers are common in Equatorial Guinea where spices are often used to enhance the flavor of many foods. Since seafood is very popular, I found whole fish stuffed with peppers and onions to be a great main to represent Equatorial Guinea. I'm not sure if this recipe is 100% authentic, but most of the recipes I found for Equatorial Guinea resembled this dish.

Pescado Rellleno
4 whole fish (I used trout), cleaned and opened
1 lemon, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 poblano pepper, finely sliced
½ a small onion, finely sliced
lemon juice, to serve

Preheat your broiler or a grill. Season the insides of the fish with salt and pepper and stuff them with the lemons, poblano, and onion. Cook each side of the fish for about 4-6 minutes, or until cooked through. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.

 

 Avocado and peanut sauce goes perfectly with the fish and the chilies give it a little extra oomph.

Salsa de Aguacate
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 cup stock (beef or chicken)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp minced chili pepper
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring the avocados, stock, water, chilies, lemon juice, and tomato to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often and adding a little extra water if all of the liquid evaporates. Add in the peanut butter, bring back to a simmer, and cook for 2 more minutes. Season to taste and serve.

 

 

 
I read that succotash is the national dish of Equatorial Guinea. I thought that was interesting because succotash is a staple of southern comfort food. There are a lot of elements of African food in southern cuisine. It always interests me to find more. For another take on succotash, try out my corn and edamame succotash recipe.

Succotash
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp oil
3 small tomatoes, chopped
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups frozen lima beans
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 20 minutes, pouring in a little water if the mixture gets too dry. Add in the lima beans and corn. Cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
 
 
Several of my past countries have called for a whole fish, but I had never been able to get my hands on one before. Spain once again did not fail me and I got an entire trout for only €2 already gutted and cleaned. All I had to do was stuff it and broil it to make a delicious meal from Equatorial Guinea. Paired with succotash and a creamy avocado sauce, this meal was absolutely heavenly. The fish was cooked to perfection and cleanly slid right off the bone. The succotash was light and flavorful. The sauce had a great flavor and texture. Why can't Tennessee be near the coast so I can always enjoy fresh seafood? I never thought I like seafood before coming to Spain, but now I see that was because I'd only ever had frozen tilapia or over cooked salmon. Now that I can buy it fresh and cook it myself, I'm soaking it all up. Thanks Equatorial Guinea for this wonderful meal!

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