Casa del Picky Eaters

Olympic Food Day Five: Chad

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After the misery of bad takeaway yesterday, it was back to proper cooking. Tonight we’re in Chad, an African nation to the south of Libya. Chad is one of the least human-friendly places on earth: life expectancy at birth is approximately 48 years, and almost one in ten babies born in Chad will die in infancy (the seventh highest infant mortality rate in the world, right behind Guinea-Bissau). The country has been in extreme drought pretty much forever, and so given all that, it’s really bloody impressive that they’ve managed to send three athletes to the London Olympics. Go Chad!

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a nation where 80% of the population live below the poverty line, tonight’s meal is very simple. Chadian fried fish was the one recipe that kept cropping up and so I’ve taken this version, and tweaked it to make it gluten and bone free.

Chadian Fried Fish

Haddock fillet, cut into chunks (traditionally tilapia or Nile perch so a sea fish was really not right at all, but it worked)
A large clove of garlic, sliced
Maize flour (I used Cool Chile Co’s Masa Harina)
Three tomatoes, skinned, filleted and diced
Cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper

Using the tip of a knife, cut slits into the fish pieces and insert the garlic slivers. Dredge the pieces of fish liberally in the flour, and fry in vegetable oil over a high heat until golden brown. Add the diced tomato, a little cayenne and S&P, turn the heat right down and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes.

Chadians would probably have this with rice but we are at risk of basmati overload with this venture so I served it with mashed potato and wilted spinach. I had expected this to be quite plain but it wasn’t at all; B and I both found it very tasty and the garlic melted evenly into the flesh rather than being a sudden strong flavour in the otherwise mild fish.

Chad was the random selection of my friend Amelia, who lives in Saffron Walden. I’ve never been to Saffron Walden, but I doubt it bears much resemblance to Chad.

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