Nine hungry expats gathered on Saturday morning to learn how to cook traditional Liberian dishes: a spicy stew of collard greens with chicken and fish (should be served with rice), and fried plantains. The setting – a luxury apartment above a sparkling swimming pool – wasn’t exactly your typical Liberian kitchen, but the food was as authentic as anything served up at a roadside food stall. Enjoy!
Stew (Makes about 10 servings):
- 1 large head of cabbage, cut into large pieces
- 2 bunches of collard greens, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup of chili peppers, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- Half a chicken, skinned and cut into medium-sized pieces
- 5 large shrimp
- Half a red snapper, cut into medium pieces
- 6 cubes of shrimp bouillon
- about 2 tsp. garlic powder
- about 2 tsp seasoned salt
- vegetable oil
- Put the chicken pieces into a large pot with 3 crumbled bouillon cubes, about 1 tsp. each of garlic powder and seasoned salt, a third of the chili peppers, a small handful of diced onions, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to mix and put on the stove to boil.
- Cook chicken until the water has boiled off, then add another 1.5 cups of water. Cook for another 7-10 minutes (until browned).
- Transfer the chicken to a large pot with about 1/2 inch of oil on the bottom of the pan. Save the liquid from the original pot! Fry the chicken for several minutes, stirring, until each side is crispy. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and put on a plate.
- Cut slices into the fish, and season with the remaining garlic powder and seasoned salt, as well as 2 cubes of shrimp bouillon.
- Add extra oil to the pot used for frying the chicken (should be about 1/3 – 1/2″ of oil in the pan), and fry the fish. When each side is browned and crispy, remove the fish and put it on the plate with the chicken.
- Add more oil to the same frying pot if necessary, then add in the remaining diced onions and the rest of the chili peppers. Cook until the onions are golden.
- Add the collard greens and cabbage to the pot, as well as two more crumbled cubes of bouillon. Mix well and sautee for several minutes.
- When the greens have cooked down a bit, add the liquid from the chicken (step 2) to the pot and stir. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken and fish pieces to the greens and stir. Let simmer uncovered to let the liquid boil down (about 10 minutes).
- Taste for flavor, and you’re done! Serve with rice.
Fried plantains (pretty self-explanatory):
- 4 large plantains
- Peel plantains and slice diagonally into 1/2″ thick pieces.
- Fry in about 1/3″ of oil
- …told you it was easy. Plantains aren’t sweet, so you can add sugar or cinnamon.