In the southeast of Kinshasa, at the foot of the hill on which one can still admire the villa of Mobutu Sese Seko, is a neighborhood called Mama Mobutu, in honor of the first wife of the dictator - perhaps reason enough to wonder where you actually landed.
Shrimp and Peanut Butter Sauce
In many cuisines of Central Africa, dried shrimp play an important role as a flavoring for stews and soups. In the Congo Delta a sauce is popular, which is made of dried shrimp, peanut butter, tomatoes and onions. It is eaten with yams or sweet potatoes. During his dreams in Kinshasa, Hektor Maille as well could enjoy this sauce. Entirely in accordance with the protocol, he ate it with Chikwangue, a sort of sausage from crushed and roasted cassava, which is wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked. The elastic, hardly aromatic but quite nutritious Chikwangue (also called Kwanga) is a traditional food of the Congo River Delta - one finds it sometimes in Europe in shops that are frequented by exiled Congolese.
The «Sauce aux Crevettes» is a pretty solid recipe. Even larger modifications can not throw it off course. On 25 November 2010 we made our sauce the subject of a small experiment - admittedly not entirely voluntary, but we had forgotten to buy tomatoes. Instead of the tomatoes recommended in the recipe, we cooked the sauce with three tablespoons of industrially produced Mexican tomato-pepper sauce, which is usually eaten raw. It was the only tomatoe-like thing we found on the evening in question in our Kitchen. We did dilute the Mexican Sauce in some water befoire adding it to our project. We expected the worst and were quiet sure that we would have to rely on the services of «Domino's» Pizza bakers. The result, however, more surprisingly was barely different from what we were used cooking the recipe with tomatoes. The spices in the Mexican sauce, that are so prominent on a tortilla chip, left almost no traces in our «Sauce aux Crevettes».
More about the travel adventure of Secret Agent Hektor Maille:
Even when there is no TV chef smiling at them, dried shrimps and deep-frozen chicken hearts are the ingredients of a menu that one can dream of, most certainly when one is sitting around as a secret agent in the Congo, not knowing what one should say about it:
First Publication: 30-11-2010
Modifications: 1-12-2010, 20-6-2011, 15-11-2011, 19-12-2011