Any guesses where on the map you’d be able to find the Central African Republic? Seriously though, I love a name that is descriptive enough that anyone can find it – like South Africa or… okay I think that’s actually about it.
This is one of those nations where I got excited about making something that, whilst it has similarities with dishes I know how to make, still uses a bit of an unusual ingredient. It is also a recipe that a lot of other people doing similar cooking around the world tours seem to do – mainly because it sounds good and the ingredients are still accessible outside of the Central African Republic.
In terms of a cuisine, this shares a lot with other Central African countries as well as those in Western Africa. This means that fufu/ugali is regularly served as a main part of a meal with the protein coming from fish, chicken, goat, wild game or insects. Since a lot of things tend to bleed borders, I am glad to have found something that seems specific to the country.
First things first, I mentioned back in Eswatini, that I was going to use pumpkin seeds that I toasted myself from the carving pumpkin I previously used. This did not end up working because I didn’t have enough and because of the pumpkin cultivar, they were a bit bitter. So, off to the local health food store to buy edible pumpkin seeds it was.
For this recipe, from Tara’s Multicultural Table, you have a gluten-free beef meatball where pumpkin seeds are used as filler and to add flavour. The raw meatball mix smelt absolutely amazing and reminded me of some mushroom pate that I used to get from Borough Market before the end times.
The recipe I used has you boil the meatballs rather than fry them, but I think in retrospect that I should have done so. It also says to serve this over rice – however I went another way and turned these into meatball subs. Tasty ones they were, but I think they could have used some more spice in the sauce.
With so many African countries done in quick succession, it’ll be a while before I have to look up a recipe for this continent or have the conversation of whether this is the time that I need to make jollof rice. Not sure where I will be throwing my recipe dart for the next country, but it’ll be fun to see what happens.