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"HEART OF AFRICA"
Burundi Goat Rehabilitation Project

Alliance Burundaise pour la Coopération et le Développement &
Austrian Help Program

burundigoats@yahoo.com
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SAUTÉED NDAGALA (WHITEBAIT) IN TOMATO SAUCE --
A BURUNDIAN FAVORITE

- by Omer, 'Heart of Africa' Project cook and para-veterinarian

 

 Ndagala are small fish that are unique to Lake Tanganyika and are a favorite ingredient in Burundian cuisine.  They are 2-3" long, and are sold either fresh and dried.  The most popular way of eating them is simply by frying – whole – in a little oil and eating with a little lemon juice or hot sauce.  As a main dish, they are most commonly cooked in a tomato sauce and eaten with 'pâte' – a thick porridge  made of manioc (cassava) flour.

Here is how Omer makes Ndagala in tomato sauce for his boys, who attend school and also work for the project on the weekends as herders to help pay for their school fees and supplies.  Pictures are at the end of the recipe.

Ingredients

2 T Palm oil
250 g Ndagala (left whole)
2 Onions (chopped)
4 Garlic (chopped) – not used in rural areas
3 Large tomatoes (chopped)
1 Hot pepper (whole)
½ L Water
 Salt to taste

Method

  • Heat palm oil over high heat, to allow sediments to burn off *
  • Add ndagala and sautée until well browned – reserve in another pan
  • Sautee onions & garlic, then add tomatoes and cook until a nice sauce is formed
  • Add ½ L of water & the whole hot pepper
  • Cook sauce down until it is of the thickness you want
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add sautéed ndagala,
  • Cook until well mixed

*  Palm oil is made in hand presses in the villages and contains quite a bit of sediment, which must be cooked off prior to adding ingredients.

To Serve

  • Make a pot of 'pâte' – a stiff porridge made of manioc flour (method described in pictures, below)
  • Mound the pâte in the middle of a round tray
  • Pour ndagala sauce over and around the pâte
  • Place tray in the middle of a small table
  • Everyone sits around the table and eats with a large spoon from the dish
  • Any leftovers are for breakfast the next morning
  • Some villagers use banana leaves as the tray – the leaf then being fed to the animals
  • Voila!  No dirty dishes!

 

Ndagala are sautéed until nicely browned; Omer takes a taste.

The onions and garlic have been sautéed in the oil used for the ndagala, and Omer now is mixing in the tomatoes.

The mixture is then cooked a few minutes, until well combined.

Omer has heated and clarified the palm oil, and now is adding the ndagala – while Shiva and Hind, Project guard dogs, watch hopefully

Egide, one of Omer's sons, then prepares the tomatoes, garlic and onions.  The sautéed ndagala have been removed from the casserole, and are in the aluminum bowl next to the tomatoes.

The water, a hot chili and salt have been added to the onion-garlic-tomato mixture, and are cooked to a smooth sauce – here, Egide adds the ndagala for the final stage of cooking.

On another day, Omer fixes mukéké – also a popular fish dish - in the same manner.  The mukéké have been cut in pieces and are in the small pot to the rear, being fried in palm oil a few pieces at a time.  The freshly-prepared tomato sauce is in the pot in front.  After the mukéké are fried, all will be mixed in the large casserole and cooked a few minutes.

 Bukuru, kitchen and garden boy,  is behind Omer cooking pâte:  water is boiled, and then cassava flour added a little at a time, cooked until it thickens, and then more flour added until it becomes nearly as thick as bread dough.  This is the staple carbohydrate of Burundi, eaten with a vegetable or fish sauce.

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