Saturday, March 07, 2020


The other day I pissed-off a good friend by suggesting that the proper peanut butter and jelly sandwich should omit the jelly, and include slices of good garlicky dry salami instead. Squiggles of Sriracha optional.
PBS, not PBJ. PBS.

Her reaction was: "Shuddup! Your worst food suggestion. EVER!"

This from a woman culturally inclined to add dried fruits to savoury dishes, along with lentils. I'm not sneering, Parsee food is very good.
And she's a food maven. Just not Nigerian.

This naturally brings up the ground nut chop. As an alternative Sunday dinner instead of both jollof rice and mabokay. Or even dhansak, down at the home for crusty ex-colonial military men cast out of the bosom of their families for being incorrigible unreconstructed imperialists.

In the interests of honest food writing, I confess that I am NOT a crusty unreconstructed imperialist colonial. Or elderly and doddering.
Although I sometimes channel for that crowd.


Four chicken legs.
Two cups chicken stock.
Four large tomatoes, peeled and seeded.
One onion, chopped.
One or two TBS sambal oelek.
One TBS curry powder.
Quarter Tsp. ground cumin.
Quarter cup peanut butter.
A little minced garlic, ginger.
Dash of Worcestershire sauce.

Brown the chicken pieces in the frypan. Remove to a plate. Gild the onion, then add the garlic, ginger, and sambal oelek. When it is good and fragrant, put the chicken pieces back in and add the tomatoes, curry powder, and ground cumin. Stir about to coat the pieces, pour in the broth, scrape crusty bits off the bottom of the pan, bring to a boil then turn the heat low and let it simmer. Stir occasionally.

After twenty minutes, mix the peanut butter with half a cup of warm water, and add to the pan, with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Stir this into the pan and stir till smooth. If it's too thick, add water. Simmer another ten minutes or so, then serve alongside a mound of rice, garnished liberally with chopped green chilies and parsley or cilantro.

If you want to be really authentic, in lieu of any minced ginger, rub the chicken pieces with a little ground dried ginger before browning them, and add smoked salt fish to the stew along with various vegetables. I do not do that. Cooked vegetables should be on the side (greens and pot liquor, or garlic spinach), and the sauce should be sort of thick. Smooth but thick.

Some people add Scotch Bonnets and hardboiled eggs.
You may do so, I shan't judge you if you do.

A squeeze of lemon is nice.


I cannot wait till the chachantengs in Chinatown to which I go for lunch on my days-off discover dishes such as these. The urbanized Hong Kong Cantonese fascination with melted cheese on top of numerous hearty dishes convinces me that they would take to groundnut sauce like ducks to drink, once they got over an initial revulsion. A smooth and spicy groundnut sauce is infinitely better than melted cheese. Noodles, chops, fish, vegetables .....

My schedule at work will change, starting the week of the sixteenth. Four days straight, going forward. Saturday through Tuesday. That means three days in a row for smoking my pipe, eating what I shouldn't, and navigating pigeons and psycho homeless people on the street.

Plus Hong Kong Milk Tea.
Lots of Milk Tea.

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