FEATURE ARTICLE

Yeti EzeaniiWednesday, June 11, 2008
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Forwarded by: Dr. FEMI AJAYI

AFRICAN RECIPES FROM AFROFOODTV.COM CHEF AND HOST YETI EZEANII:
MY INTEREST IN CULINARY ARTS

have always been intrigued by food. Growing up in a family where my mother made her living as a registered dietician and caterer whet my appetite for the profession. Furthermore, as the eldest child among my siblings, the responsibility of feeding my family fell on me (whenever my mother was not available). I learned to prepare not only delicious meals but also cost effective meals.


Yeti Ezeanii


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My interest in the culinary arts is focused primarily on African cuisine. I grew up in Africa, and the only food I was exposed to until the age of 16 was African food. When I came to the United States, I was very surprised to find out that little of Africa or its cuisine was widely known. Even now, there is not much representation of this wonderful, healthy, delicious and versatile cuisine in the culinary world. This has fueled my passion and led me to develop AFROFOODTV.COM, an online resource for African cuisine from recipes to cooking shows. My goals are to bring African cuisine to a generation of Africans that grew up outside Africa, to bring the cuisine to a higher level by updating some classics, and to increase the culinary world's awareness of African cooking.

African cuisine never fails to impress me; the diversity of the culture and its people is reflected in our wonderful food, and it is up to us to pass the legacy of this culture to future generations and to the masses. Several continents and cultures have successfully incorporated their culinary styles into the global marketplace with the exception of the African continent. The reasons for this are numerous, but the most common reason is the propensity for misrepresentation by mass media, projecting negative images of Africa and, thereby, increasing the incorrect stereotype of Africa being a step behind the rest of the world.

The truth is that, for the most part, Africans are very picky about the food they eat. Through my work with Afrofoodtv.com, I have had the opportunity to learn and cook with several culinary masters, and I have also been exposed to a wide array of flavors and food from around the entire continent of Africa. Every recipe tells a story of the region it is from, the people who colonized it, what is locally available, what technologies are available, and so on and so forth. More importantly, African cooking and food demonstrates the culture of slowing down to "smell the roses" and the joy of family because, in Africa, the culture is very much a communal one, where if you are successful, we are successful.

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This coconut rice is a great party favorite and is the perfect alternative to the standard jollof rice fare.

West African Coconut Jollof Rice

Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 Min
Cook Time: 45 - 50 min

Ingredient List:
3 red bell peppers
onion
4 Roma tomatoes
2 Maggi shrimp cubes
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp curry
1 tsp pepper flakes
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
cup of canola oil
1 400ml can of coconut milk
4 cups of rice
1 Bay leaf
Salt to taste

Puree peppers, tomatoes and onions with to cup of water. Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat and fry the puree and garlic for 5 minutes. Add Maggi cubes, thyme, bay leaf, curry and pepper flakes. Stir, taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Cook for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low setting and cover pot. Cook for 20 minutes. Once most of the water has been absorbed by the rice, remove lid, stir rice and cover with a clean plastic bag (like the ones you get from the grocery store). Replace lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. The bag will ensure steaming action to complete the cooking process of the rice.

Serve hot with an assortment of meat and/or fish.

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