Monday, January 25, 2010

Gambia - Rice and Peanut Porridge

Gambia is a winter getaway for Europeans. It’s got sun, beaches, resorts, wildlife reserves and a great place to bird watch. But don’t whistle after dark, it’s a taboo.

This sliver of a country with stunning beaches is not without its problems, though it has enjoyed relative stability since independence. This is not to say that Gambia is prosperous. It relies heavily on exporting peanuts. Apparently you earn peanuts when your only major crop is peanuts. Though the country does have tourism and so, as their tourist slogan says: visit the Gambia, the smiling coast of Africa.

I decided to cook a Gambian breakfast. I woke up early on a school day and served John and Julia Churah Gerteh (Rice and Peanut Porridge) before sending them off to school. I figured it would taste like oatmeal, only with peanut butter. It wasn’t exactly a big hit, but it was an interesting start to the day. It’s fairly safe to say that none of their classmates had Gambian porridge that morning.

Churah Gerteh

3/4 cup rice
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 cups water
Salt and sugar to taste

Add rice, peanut butter and water to a pot. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 50 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Add sugar to taste, spoon into a bowl and add a little milk to thin and cool the porridge.

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