NDOLE

Ndolé is central Africa’s ultimate surf n’ turf dish. Originating from Cameroon around the town of Douala, ndolé is a variable dish made to showcase some of the best and most abundant homegrown ingredients. The peanut-based stew is usually paired with bittersweet ndolé leaves and can contain anything from shrimps to dried fish or ground beef/chicken. Because we’re feeling decadent, our version contains all three.

Once a special occasion dish reserved only for weddings, baptisms and the like, ndolé has risen to the status of a national dish in Cameroon.

We love the creaminess of ndolé and the invigorating mix of vegetables, fish and meat. The peanut sauce also adds a richness that is perfectly offset with a plate of plantains. We’ve never been to Cameroon, but we have it on good authority that many dishes there go down in a similar way – namely, a rich, saucy, spicy stew accompanied by a fairly neutral carb, like the thick starchy fufu or bobolo, which is fermented ground manioc or cassava wrapped in leaves.

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 SERVINGS-

  • 1 lb (~500g) spinach

  • 2/3 lb (~300g) ground beef / chicken 

  • 1/2 lb (250g) fresh shrimp

  • 1/4 lb (~100g) smoked fish, deboned and flaked

  • 1/4 lb (~1oog) roasted peanuts

  • 2 tbsp (30g) dried shrimp

  • 1 bunch spring onions

  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 2-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups (500ml) water

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

LET'S MAKE IT! -

  • Start your ndolé by creating your fragrant base of roasted peanuts, chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and water in a blender. Once you've gotten a nice paste, turn off your blender and set it aside.

  • Take a deep pot over medium-high heat and add in your olive oil. As the bottom of the pan starts to get hot, add in two tablespoons of olive oil and your sliced onions.

  • As your onions start to soften 1-2 minutes later, add in your shrimps. Cook the shrimps for 2-3 minutes as they start to develop a nice pink color, but be careful not to overcook them or else they'll become stringy and dry.

  • Set aside your cooked shrimp and onions for the time being as we move onto the meat.

  • In the same pan, next add the ground beef and sear the meat as it starts to brown.

  • Once the meat has browned, add your pureed peanut mixture into the pan, mixing it well into the meat.

  • If you'd like, here you can add your dried shrimps and smoked fish flakes to give your ndolé some added flavor.

  • Add in all your spinach leaves and bring your ndolé to a boil.

  • Once the ndolé has started to boil, lower your stovetop heat to a simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the moisture levels, and add a bit more water if you feel that the ndolé is starting to dry out.

  • Once your ndolé is cooked, season it with salt and pepper to your liking, then take it off the heat and transfer it to your serving dish. 

  • Finally, add your cooked shrimp and onions on top, and enjoy! Ndolé can be eaten with a side of fried plantains, rice, or even some good old flatbread. 

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