Unusual Fact: Taxi fares in Djibouti increase 50% after sunset.
The first country for 2015 is Djibouti. I’m still getting used to typing that.
But how cool is the name of this country. Djibouti. I feel as though its the name of a song. Angus said to me last night “Whats shaking in the kitchen tonight sis”
I know, its a terrible pun.
We made three dishes for Djibouti. First was a delectable lamb casserole or skoudehkaris. I did not follow the complete instructions for this recipe. I took what I had read and applied it to this recipe. You see, this originally contained rice. But I was planning on doing another rice dish. I had read that you could leave out the rice in the last step and leave it as the lamb casserole. I did this because otherwise it would have been rice overload with the two dishes.
This casserole is filled with flavour. I can admit that I wan’t expecting much from Djibouti but it blew me away. I love love love this dish and you can be assured that I will be making it again. Mum said that this is one of her favourites!
A note on the cayenne pepper: we didn’t have any fresh cayennes so I used the ground stuff and instead of doing 1/2 tsp I did about a 1/4 and it was perfect. Not too spicy but there is still the warmth there.
Next are yeasty pancakes called laxoox. You will have to prepare these the day before or in the morning of the day you are planning on eating them. You can have them for breakfast lunch, dinner or dessert. Just change around your toppings. These are a easy flatbread to make if you have 10 minutes.
Last but not least is our rice dish. This is called rainbow rice. Some of the rice is removed from the rest and coloured. I chose to colour mine green and blue because they are the main colours of the Djibouti flag. Not only is this rice pretty but it tastes amazing too. The suttle flavours from the cinnamon, cumin and cardamom give it a delicate flavour. And the topping is bonus flavour. I will be making this one again for sure.
Skoudehkaris (Lamb Casserole)
Skoudehkaris (Lamb Casserole) Recipe from 196 Flavours
– 1 lb. of lamb shoulder (shank) cut into pieces
– 2.5 cups of rice
– 5 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
– 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
– 1 red onion, sliced
– 2 onions finely chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
– 2 dried cayenne peppers (or 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder)
– 4 tablespoons of oil
– 1 teaspoon of cumin
– 6 cardamom seeds
– 2 pinches of cinnamon
– A few cilantro leaves, chopped
Preheat oven at 350 F.
In a dutch oven, pan fry the meat over medium high heat. Brown on all sides without burning. Add all the onions and sweat. Add garlic, tomatoes, chili peppers and tomato paste. Add salt and spices.
Cover everything with boiling water and put the dutch oven in the oven for 45 minutes. Check the tenderness of the meat and continue cooking if necessary. Also check the liquid level and add water while cooking if necessary. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and place on medium heat.
Pour the rice, mix well, cover and cook rice 15 minutes (5 minutes over medium heat then 10 minutes on low heat). Check the amount of liquid again and add water to cook the rice if necessary. The rice should be slightly sticky and juicy.
Laxoox (Pancakes) recipe from Global Table Adventure
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup millet flour (aacceptable substitutes include rice flour or sorghum flour)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups water
Add flours, yeast, salt and sugar to a large bowl.
Add water whisk, cover and
a) refrigerate overnight
b) let sit on the counter for a few hours
It is ready when it looks like bubbly – frothy even.
NOTE: if the mixture has separated just stir it back together.
Heat up a good pan over medium for 5 minutes.
Next, evenly coat the pan with a little oil.
Add a ladle-full of batter and, using the back of the ladle, spread it around until it is about 1/4″ thick.
Cook gently until bubbles form and the surface dries out.
The original recipe said not to flip it but I did.
Serve immediately with savoury or sweet toppings.
Rainbow rice recipe from Global Table Adventure
For the rice:
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups hot water
1 onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cardamom seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper
ghee (or vegetable oil)
For the traditional garnish:
1/2 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
palm full of golden raisins
ghee (or vegetable oil)
Drop a spoonful of ghee (or oil) in a pot and heat it over medium heat. Sauté the onions with the spices until soft and fragrant.
Season with salt and pepper
Next, drop in hot water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, make the garnish. You’ll love the sweet, crispy combo. In fact, you might want to double the recipe and mix it all up with the rice.
Toss with some ghee or vegetable oil with the raisins and cook over medium heat until crispy and dark golden brown. It’ll take several minutes. Stir it a few times to cook evenly.
When the rice is cooked, uncover and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Remove the cardamom seeds and cinnamon stick. Then fluff the mixture gently with a fork – get the onions all mixed in.
Divide the cooked rice into three bowls – one large and two small (the small ones should be filled with about 1/4 cup of rice – you can always add more if desired)
Add a few drops of dye to each of the small bowls. Any colours you like. Mix the colours together and let rest long enough for the food colouring to soak in – about 5-10 minutes.
Next, sprinkle the dyed rice evenly over the white rice and mix in if you wish.