World Cooking – Burundi

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Burundi
Progress: 116/193

Two weeks these plantains were sat in a paper bag with an apple for company. After all that time, they were still green with the occasional patch of yellow. This became a minor obsession of mine, even bringing it up in a team meeting to ask for help. The fact that, three days later, the head of my department ended up asking about the state of my plantains shows both how nice my team is and how stupid this became. So, I ended up throwing them in a low oven for 20 minutes and, in the words of Kerry Godliman, ‘bosh’.

This is usually where I would talk about the food in the country and the choices I needed to make around this. Honestly though, Burundi is one of those nations where it was really hard to find something. There are a number of these left and I am still trying to cross these off in order to properly clear the path to the end of the list. This is not a rich country, nor is it (according to the measures) a particularly happy one. I guess this, along with the fact that it nearly completely deforested, explains the dish I ended up making.

Main: Red Beans and Plantains

This is a main meal and a simple one at that. Usually I put aside time on a weekend for these world cooking meals, but thanks to the plantains I had to make this after work. Given how simple the recipe is (courtesy of Foreign Fork) this actually worked perfectly to make after a long day in meetings. Would have been even better if I hadn’t lost time on ripening the plantains in the oven.

As the name and the photo suggests, this is really simple to make and does not contain a lot of ingredients. For my taste, I should have lowered the cumin and maybe used smoked paprika. So many dishes around the world make heavy use of cumin and, whilst I cannot deny it is a good taste, I never realised just how widespread a spice it was. I think it would probably also work better as a side, or at least have some meat in it so it becomes more like a cassoulet – but that is probably my Western privilege talking here.

Next time is an Asian dish that I have been wanting to make ever since my husband had a version of it in Hong Kong and I had some serious food envy. This is not, however, going to be me finally crossing China off of the list – rather fulfilling a promise I made to myself in the blog post about trying to make it for myself. It may not be proper spring rolls, but this banh mi will hopefully be a great way to cross of Vietnam.

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