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Babenda, Burkina Faso: food I've never eaten

I make 'West African style' peanut stew fairly regularly, so what else is there to this collection of hearty and rich cuisines? Babenda from Burkina Faso immediately jumped out at me as something I'd love to try. Funky smelling fermented locust beans? Sold. They're called soumbala, dawa dawa, or iru, and after failing to find them during a brief trip to London I ended up ordering some off ebay, dried.

I looked through a few recipe variations, and most closely used this one. Of course, no anchovies for me, but locally foraged seaweed (dulse in this case) gives it that salty fishy edge.

The first step is to blitz everything in the food processor: peanuts, iru, spices, and also the uncooked rice. I was using sushi rice, because that's all we ever have in, and it didn't break down much. Also probably because the tiny food processor was too full.

a small food processor containing peanuts, chilli, and dark weird looking beans a small food processor containing a mixture of things all ground up a very full food processor with rice visible on top

Then I simmered everything until it seemed cooked, and stirred in some homegrown bitter greens. I think I added too much chilli, using both dried and fresh.

gooey rice and greens cooking in a big pot with a spoon gooey rice and greens in a white bowl

I loved it. Everyone else who tried it agreed it was funky and weird, and didn't seem convinced. They did eat it all though.

🏷 food vegan worldle recipe burkina faso nottravel

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