Like a little kid, I opened my parcel feverishly and discovered a magnificent book that was on the level of my expectations and fulfilled my need for broadening my culinary horizons and crossing new borders.
With it's 204 mouth-watering recipes and 258 stunning color photos, this book is really beautiful and interesting. It contains many gorgeous recipes from all over Africa and is divided into differents sections: Ingredients, Spice Blends & Rubs, Condiments, Sauces & Dips, Salads & Sides, Breads & Sandwiches, Vegetables, Fish & Seafood, Poultry & Meat, Desserts & Drinks.
Although it's title is a bit misguiding, because Samuelsson's work speaks only about a restricted quantity of dishes and is not meant to be a detailed encyclopedia (as it's title could lead you to think), this cookbook is really rich, accessible and entertaining. In fact, it's purpose is to make you discover the flavors of Africa and to make you understand what the cuisine of this immense continent is all about.
Marcus Samuelsson's aim is not to present a pretentious compilation of all the recipes that are to be found in Africa as it would be close to impossible and not needed. He only wants us to get a basic idea of this unique cuisine in order to expand that idea to something bigger and to sense the soul of that place's culinary specialities, to appreciate their true value and to no more be ignorant regarding that subject as he believes fusion food, in the near future, will dwelve more into the African cuisine and will be more influenced by it's unique savors...
I've already tested a few recipes (Berbere, Toasted Peanut Bread, Honey Bread and Bobotie) from this wonderful cookbook and I was extremely pleased with all of them! Thanks to his book, I have learnt to see Africa's cuisine in a entirely different way and to take away some of my aprioris and reticences...
If you are looking for new tastes and challenging new meals to cook, if you love spicy, exotic and tasty food, that you enjoy simple, humble yet delicious and refined dishes, and that you want to broaden your culinary horizons as ell as learn new things, then this book is for you as it is a great way to travel while staying at home.
Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia. After his mother died of tuberculosis, the little Kassashun Tsegie and his older sister, Fantaye (adoptive name: Linda), were adopted by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson, a homemaker and a geologist, who lived in Göteborg, Sweden. After becoming interested in cooking because of his Swedish maternal grandmother, Samuelsson studied at the Culinary Institute in Göteborg. He then apprenticed in Switzerland and Austria, and came to the USA in 1991 as an apprentice at "Aquavit", a restaurant in Manhattan, New York.
At the early age of 24, Marcus became the executive chef of "Aquavit" restaurant, and soon after that also the youngest ever cook to receive a three-star restaurant review from Ruth Reichl of The New York Times in 1995. In 2003, he was named "Best Chef: New York City" by the James Beard Foundation. The same year he started a second New York restaurant, "Riingo" which serves Japanese-influenced American food and he released his first cookbook "Aquavit: And The New Scandinavian Cuisine". Now, at age 37, the chef is furthering his vision via "Merkato 55" (see interview), an African-inspired restaurant he's opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District in September 2007.
In his 20s, he returned to Africa, reconnected with his extended birth family and became fascinated by the "very elegant cuisine'' of the African continent and appalled by the fact that the West had such a scant knowledge of it. Samuelsson worked for eight years on his book and delivered a little jewel of exotism called "The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa''...
This Sub-Saharan bread is made with peanuts. Although those legumes originated in South America, groundnuts (another name for peanuts in Africa) are commonly used in various dishes (stews, soups, salads, baked goods, etc...) across Africa. They were introduced by the Portuguese traders from Brazil in the 16th century, They now hold an important place in the African cuisine as this ingredients is very much used in that vast continent...
Samuelsson's dense, yet smooth "Toasted Peanut Bread" is gorgeous. It somehow has a special and spicy flavor, but in reality, it's taste is delicate and is wonderfully fragrant. In a way, it's aroma reminds me a lot to satay as this rich bread contains similar spices such as ground peanuts, coconut milk, ground chilli powder and ground cumin... It is pleasantly nutty, without the groundnuts being overpowering and it also has a delicious wholewheat flavor that blends perfectly well with the ingredients used, thus transforming the tasting of this loaf into an incomparable gustatory experience.
You'll get transported by the uniqueness of this bread. So, why not make that bread roght now and let the the savors of Africa enter your kitchen!
~ African Toasted Peanut Bread ~
Recipe taken from "The Soul Of A New Cuisine" written by Marcus Samuelsson and slightly adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.
Makes 1 loaf.
1 Cup (~240g + more) Coconut milk (see remarks)
3 Tbs Runny honey
1 Package (2 1/4 Tsps) Active dry yeast
1 1/2 Cup Peanuts
1 1/2 Teaspoons Chili powder
1/2 Tsp Ground cumin
2 1/2 Cups (319g) Plain white flour
2 1/2 Cups (394g) Whole-wheat flour
1 Tsp Salt
4 Tbs (60g) Unsalted butter, melted
1. Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Add the honey and stir continuously until the honey dissolves.
3. Remove from the heat and let cool until just warm (lukewarm, see remarks), then whisk in the yeast.
4. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until frothy.
5. Toast the peanuts in a large saute pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden and fragrant.
6. Add the chili powder and cumin and toast for 20 seconds.
7. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until a smooth paste forms.
8. Mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
9. Add the butter, coconut milk, and peanut paste to the well and slowly combine with the flour, using your hands to work the flour into the well until all the liquid has been absorbed (see remarks).
10. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until a ball forms, about 5 to 10 minutes.
11. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth/towel or oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
12. Butter a 23 x 13cm (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan.
13. Punch down the dough and place in the pan.
14. Cover with a damp cloth/towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 40 minutes.
15. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).
16. Bake the bread for 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
17. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the pan and let cool completely.
When I made this bread, there wasn't enough liquid. So, I recommend you to use a can (400ml) coconut milk for this bread or enough additional liquid/water in order to form a ball of dough.
The coconut milk should not be too hot (under 50° C/122° F, at body temperature), otherwise it would kill the yeast and your dough would never rise!
Serve this bread with either a comforting soup, beef stew or fish stew.
It is also delicious with honey, cheese or jam and smothered with chocolate spread.
Recette tirée du livre "The Soul Of A New Cuisine" écrit par Marcus Samuelsson et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.
Pour 1 pain.
1 Tasse (~240g et plus) de Lait de coco (voir remarques)
3 CS de Miel liquide
1 Sachet (2 1/4 CC) de Levure sèche
1 1/2 Tasses de Cacahuètes
1 1/2 CC de Poudre de piment
1/2 CC de Cumin en poudre
2 1/2 Tasses (319g) de Farine fleur/blanche
2 1/2 Tasses (394g) de Farine complète
1 CC de Sel
4 CS (60g) de Beurre non-salé, fondu
1. Dans une petite casserole, porter le lait de coco à ébullition.
2. Ajouter le miel et remuer jusqu'à ce qu'il soit entièrement dissout.
3. Retirer la casserole du feu et laisser refroidir le liquide afin qu'il soit tiède (voir remarques), puis ajouter la levure et bien touiller/mélanger.
4. Laisser reposer pendant 5 à 10 minutes, jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit mousseux.
5. Faire griller les cacahuètes dans une poêle, à feu moyen pendant 1 à 2 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient dorées et embaument.
6. Ajouter la poudre de piment et le cumin, et griller encore pendant 20 secondes.
7. Faire légèrement refroidir, puis transférer dans le mixer afin d'obtenir une purée/pâte homogène.
8. Dans un grand bol, mélanger les farines et le sel ensemble. Faire un puit au centre.
9. Au centre du puit, ajouter le beurre, le lait de coco ainsi que la pâte de cacahuètes et bien mélanger à la farine en utilisant vos mains, jusqu'à ce que tout le liquide ait été absorbé (voir remarques).
10. Transférer la pâte sur un plan de travail légèrement fariné et la pétrir pendant 5 à 10 minutes.
11. Mettre la pâte dans un bol huilé/beurré et bien l'enduire de cette huile/ce beurre. Couvrir avec un linge humide ou une feuille de plastique alimentaire huilée et laisser lever dans un endroit chaud, sans courants d'air pendant 1 heure 1/2 ou jusqu'à ce que la pâte ait doublé de volume.
12. Beurrer un moule à pain rectangulaire de 23 x 13cm.
13. Dégonfler la pâte et la mettre dans le moule.
14. Couvrir avec un linge humide et laisser lever dans un lieu chaud et sans courants d'air pendant 40 minutes.
15. Préchauffer le four à 180° C (350° F).
16. Cuire le pain pendant 35 minutes, jusqu'à ce que le dessus soit bien doré et que le pain sonne creux.
17. Poser sur une grille pendant 5 minutes, puis retirer le moule et laisser refroidir complètement.
Quand j'ai fait ce pain, il m'a fallu utiliser beaucoup plus de liquide que mentionné dans la recette. De ce fait, je vous recommande d'utiliser une boîte de lait de coco (400ml) pour ce pain ou de rajouter sufisamment d'eau/de liquide afin de former une boule de pâte.
Le lait de coco ne devrait pas être trop chaud (plutôt à la température du corps, en dessous de 50° C) autrement votre levure sera tuée et votre pain ne lèvera jamais.
Idées de présentation:
Servez ce pain avec un soupe réconfortante, un râgout de boeuf ou de poisson.
Vous pouvez aussi manger ce pain avec du miel, du fromage ou de la confiture et pourquoi pas du chocolat à tartiner.