Friday, December 11, 2009
Congo, The Republic Of - Fish with Sorrel
The Republic of the Congo is on the opposite side of the river from Democratic Republic of Congo and its less dangerous and friendlier. It’s famous for its lowland gorillas and chimpanzees, dense forests and jungle. This country, which was a former French colony, is in central Africa and borders with Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Republic of the Congo offers tourists surf beaches in Pointe-Noire, white-water rapids on the Congo River and Odzala National Park. Nearly half the people live in the urban areas and Brazzaville, the capital, still has a French feel with its tree-lined boulevards and street cafes serving French croissants.
Still, The Republic of Congo has had decades of political turmoil since independence in 1960 and for centuries the country’s coastline was one of the main areas for slave and ivory trade by Europeans. Today, even though it’s on its way to becoming a modern multi-party state and is more industrialized than most of its neighbors, its unsafe to travel along the Ubangi River border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the routes between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
For our meal I cooked Fish cooked in sorrel (in my case, I substituted the sorrel with baby spinach). I fried onion, garlic, chili pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste to make a sauce and then poured it over the fish. I then added spinach along with seasonings and served with rice.
Sorrel is also known as Spinach Dock or Narrow-leaved Dock. You can use sorrel in soups, sauces and salads. The flavor is sharp and has a similar taste to kiwi. It is not related to Jamaican sorrel.
For us this recipe was a disaster. It had to do with the fact that I bought some bad fish, I believe. I bought whole Sea Bream that John filleted for me since he’s a fisherman. He kept saying to me, “You’re lucky mom that I fish.”
We ate some of it, but it didn’t taste right. Needless to say, I won’t be buying fish from this particular grocery store again.
Fish cooked with sorrel
Oil for frying
1 fish cut into serving sizes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chili pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 bunch of fresh sorrel (or baby spinach)
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in pan and fry fish until done. Set aside. Heat more oil and fry onion, garlic, then chili pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in enough water to make a smooth sauce. Heat to a slow boil. Pour sauce over the fish. Add the sorrel leaves, bay leaf, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 10 – 20 minutes. Serve over rice.