Bajias is a Mozambican snack made with beans. In Nigeria it is called Akara……
The first time I got to know and taste Bajias was last year while we were shooting an insert for the show, I am Woman. A street vendor was preparing them and they were sold at R1.00 each. I imagined the fritters would have that beany-taste since the main ingredient is beans but to my surprise they didn’t. The lady mentioned that Bajias is a street food recipe from Mozambique. One needs to grind the beans until they form a paste. Modern technology allows us to do that using a food processor. What I found fascinating was that the street vendor was grinding them with a pestle and motar right there and then.
So, recently I went to a Nigerian food shop and asked the shop assistant about the Akara. He took me through the recipe and I ended up buying black eyed beans from the shop. The difference between the Bajias and Akara is that there is an option of adding powdered fish (shrimp) in the Nigerian recipe. Otherwise, it can be left completely vegetarian.
The recipe is fairly easy to prepare but the only thing that became a drag for me was separating the beans from the skin. It took longer than I expected. Maybe I did it wrong, I don’t know.
Anyways, I think Bajias / Akara would make for a great snack while watching soccer during the world cup. What do you say? Have you ever tasted Bajias or Akara?
Bajias / Akara (Mozambican / Nigerian Bean Fritters)
500ml (2 cups) black eyed beans
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 red/green/yellow pepper, cut into chunky strips
1 vegetable stock cube
Few sprigs of parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Oil for frying
Yesterday, I had an amazing time cooking at the HecticNine 9 Studios! Oh my God! The presenters, Ayanda and Lesego, are insane! There’s too much energy in that studio and they are both complete naturals! They make TV presenting look effortless! I really take my hat off to them.
The theme or rather topic of the episode was KZN townships, the lifestyle, food, music and the people. My KZN based reader turned friend and colleague, Samkelisiwe Mhlongo, came to my rescue. We brainstormed recipe ideas and I ended up going for the Mince noBhontshisi recipe. It’s an easy recipe, perfect for mid-week. One wont spend a lot of time slaving in the kitchen. Samkelisiwe tells me they serve it with Phuthu, Rice or uJeqe (Steamed Bread). You should have seen the crew after the filming. Let me just say, there was no food left! Ha! Check out the recipe below!
— HECTICNINE-9 (@hecticnine9) May 22, 2014
@mzansicuisine lekker baba. Say hi to Calmin, one of the presenters. He was one of my students.
— Riaan Visman (@Narshall) May 22, 2014
@mzansicuisine hai thuli bendifunuthi ndiyithandile I resp yakho
— Amila (@Amila25Www) May 22, 2014
— Alusa (@AfroLusa) May 22, 2014
“Hayi sana wayishaya intoyakho uyeva! Bendizibuza umpokoqo and then yhooo bekumnandi ukujongile okwakutya dear” Nangamso Mguga
Mince and Bhontshisi (Beans) Served on Phuthu
Serves: 2 – 4
30ml (2Tbsp) canola or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
10ml (2tsp) medium curry powder
±400g lean beef mince
1 beef stock pot
30ml (2Tbsp) tomato paste
400g (1 can) red kidney beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 sprigs Italian parsley, chopped
250ml (1 cup) boiling water
15ml (1Tbsp) butter
750ml (3 cups) quick cooking maize-meal
It’s Friday! Yay! So glad the week is finally over.
In my previous post I promised to post the second recipe I prepared at the Cooking Demo inDurban……
I prepared a traditional Zulu dish, Isiphuphulu Sikabhontshisi Namazambane (Bean & Potato Mash) & Pan Fried Hake Fillet drizzled with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce. I have simplified the former and just added chopped red pepper for the appearance, texture and definitely flavour.
I’ve never prepared pan fried fish before and like most people I know I always bake or deep fry my fish. So, preparing the hake fillet was interesting and exciting for me as I had to go do a bit of research first. Research says the secret to a good fish is ensuring that it is not overcooked. It also stipulates that the time it takes to pan fry your fish depends on the thickness i.e. you cook it for 5 minutes per centimetre. It is also important to heat your pan then the oil before frying the fish. This prevents the fish from sticking to the pan. I dedicate this recipe to one of my favourite women in Mzansi, Lebo Mashile and to all the other vegetarians in our country and beyond. She mentioned on twitter yesterday that she is a vegetarian, doesn’t eat meat only fish.
As I mentioned, I prepared the dish in Durban and audience went crazy it disappeared like hot cakes. So I hope you also enjoy it! Happy Cooking!
Isiphuphulu Sikabhontshisi Namazambane (Bean & Potatoe Mash) Recipe
125ml (½ cup) sugar beans
500ml water, boiling
4 medium sized potatoes
15ml (1tbsp) butter
1 red pepper, chopped
1ml white pepper
Pan Fried Hake Fillets with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce Recipe
±500g hake fillets
salt (for rubbing fish)
pepper (for rubbing fish)
15ml (1tbsp) capers
50ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
3-4 tbsp butter
1 sprig of parsley
juice of 1 lemon (freshly squeezed)
It’s a bit chilly in Jozi and since today is International Soup Day I thought I would share my favourite soup with you…..
Isophu yombona is a traditional soup for the Xhosa culture in the Eastern Cape. It is made from dried mealie kernels and sugar beans by just simmering these ingredients until soft then add seasoning such as salt.
This soup takes me back to the good old days when it was cooked in cast iron pots on a fire situated in the centre of a thatched roof rondavel with windows the size of a fist hehe! Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit here….windows were the size of a rugby ball….This way of cooking way warmed up the room during the cold winter days and everyone would gather around the fire while the soup was cooking.
The soup takes a long time to cook and is slow cooked. This long cooking procedure usually presented an opportunity for story telling. The grandmother would narrate the stories. In those days most households did not have television sets, this encouraged the children to use their imagination. Most often the stories would have a wolf and a jackal. In all these stories the jackal was portrayed as wise and the wolf as stupid. Those were good days as we never knew how a wolf looked like, however you imagined a fool. Hehehe! Good days indeed!
Fast tracking to the future and recreating the same kind of scenario the soup would be simmering in the kitchen with the aroma inviting an imagination of a tasty and steaming bowl of soup….ready to be savoured…….Mmmmmmm!
What is your favourite soup and what does it remind you of?
250ml dry meal kernels
250ml sugar beans
3litres boiling water
3 spring onions, chopped
200ml -250ml bacon, diced
1 stock cube
2ml black pepper
5ml olive oil
1-2 garlic, chopped