Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Betumi Africa Cookbook Project

Political Africa - 1898. Digital ID: 1261025. New York Public Library

The African Culinary Network (Betumi) has launched the Africa Cookbook Project to archive African recipes and culinary writings. According to their website, a database is already in the works to catalog cookbooks from various regions, and ideally make them available digitally. The Library's African cookbooks are located both here at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library and at the Schomburg Library for Research in Black Culture. Betumi's blog featuring African foodways and cultures is also definitely worth a look.

Shrimp and Okra Stew (Ila) - Nigeria
(adapted from A West African Cookbook, 1971)

1/2 cup peanut or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1lb fresh okra (or frozen)
6 medium tomatoes
1 large or 2 small ripe bananas
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp or prawns
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1t. salt
1/2t. ground red pepper
2/3 cup water

Heat the oil in a pan or casserole and add the chopped onion. Wash the okra, if fresh, cut off the tops and slice thinly. Frozen okra should be thawed enough to slice. Add okra to sizzling onion. Peel and chop the tomatoes and peel and cut the banana into small cubes. Add both to mixture in the pan. Cook together for several minutes. Mash the shrimp or prawns in a mortar or bowl, adding the juice of the lime or lemon, salt and pepper. Add this paste to the cooking mixture. Add the water and simmer all together for about 30 minutes. Serve with plain boiled rice.