“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” -Charles M. Schulz
I seriously believe this statement is ingrained someplace on my soul. It’s important this time of year to be gentle with oneself because all the best things in life have butter and sugar. It’s also the time of year where you gather around the table to be with your family and friends and enjoy all manner of food and fun. I love this time of year. It’s like a hug from the inside when you get to grab a handful of your mom’s homemade cookies and snuggle up with your dog while it’s snowing. All you need is love.
THE DINNER: We picked Benin because we were a little bit sad that we had ended Africa on such a sour note with #72 (Gabon) and that horrific egg torte thing. It has made us a little gun shy of jumping into another African nation for fear of similar sad food outcomes. But we press on!! Benin is on the Gold Coast of the continent and it’s got some pretty good foodie neighbors. We enjoyed Cameroon and Togo thus far as well as the Ivory Coast. So with neighbors like that, we think we are in for a home-run.
We chose a stew to make this weekend, because it’s that time of year and we got some snow this week so it was definitely appropriate. Coconut Fried Rice is a shellfish and veggie fried rice dish, with a guest appearance of our long African favorite spicy piri piri!! HOORAY! The Benin people make this savory dish on special occasions — like the holidays or homecomings or birthdays. Sometimes it has peanut sauce added and sometimes it has chicken, but generally this is the most used recipe. Coconut milk is a staple in rice making in this part of the world, which is a good thing because it’s not only VERY HEALTHY for you, but is a wonderful antioxidant (hollar back, hangover coconut water drinkers!!)
Coconut Fried Rice Recipe: http://www.9jafoodie.com/coconut-fried-rice/
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
We had some fun with this recipe. It’s really just three steps: make rice in coconut milk, fry shellfish, fry rice and shellfish together… so that part was simple. None of the called for recipe components required strange trips to random markets, and no point required me to convert anything from metric for translate that nonsense from an unknown language.
Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF out of five for Meal!!
It was wonderful. I mean, truly. For normal everyday meals, it was really delicious. The coconut milk was spectacularly brilliant– it made the rice so ultra creamy and decadent without heavy cream… so that was a win, win. The spice could have been higher, but we garnished with lime and that was honestly one of my personal favorite parts. We also garnished with some fresh coconut and fried plantains. Everyone really enjoyed the fried plantains.The creamy and tangy collided in this dish. Then there was the veggies– I mean, let’s call a spade a spade and get down to brass tacks here, who doesn’t love fried rice?!? 🙂
Next week on AW195S we will travel to Poland for #76!! If you haven’t already, feel free to check out the Pinterest board of our recipes to stay up to date on our long list of adventures: https://www.pinterest.com/llbrovsky/around-the-world-in-195-sundays/
– L & K