Form a cup with two or three leaves with the cut side out so that the
edges of the salads are uniform and clean looking. The larger outer leaves are
for entree salads. The smaller cups may be used for side dishes or small
How to Cut Onions
On our visit to Africa were very fortunate in having the opportunity
to actually help in preparing meals with many African women. On these
occasions my contribution was usually a demonstration of short-cut techniques.
The ladies were delighted and particularly impressed with how
we handle onions. It was their idea that I describe the technique in this
This method was taught to me by an old-time chef who once said, "I
can run any kitchen with four tools: a French knife, a paring knife, a mixing
spoon and a wire whisk." (I would add the swivel type vegetable peeler
and perhaps a few more, but the important point is to start with the right
tools.) Beginning with the indispensable French knife, his technique is
Cut the onions in half.
Trim the skin and cut away the core.
Place it cut side down on a wooden board.
Make three diagonal gashes on each side across the onion.
Hold onion on the board cut side down with thumb and fingers around
Slice down as thinly or thickly as desired, leaving slices in place.
Swing the onion around and slice down again.
Spread onions over the board.
Hold point of the French knife in left hand and handle of knife in
the right hand.
Chop the onions by holding the point of the knife on the board and
bringing the blade and handle up and down without moving the point.
Today onions may be purchased as onion powder, onion salt, onion flakes, frozen
in packages, and even freeze-dried. All are good. But somehow it's hard to find
a substitute for good old onions that make you weep.
Accompaniments for Curry
Curries are almost as popular throughout Africa as they are in India.
The curry of Africa, however, is not like the Madras blend. It is bright
orange in color and has a most distinctive flavor. Accompaniments are as
important in the service of curries in Africa as elsewhere. The following
are suggested for an African Curry.
Mango Chutney is usually purchased ready made in Africa. But the
housewives in "Curry Territory" make wonderful chutney. See Pineapple
Chutney, page 192. They also make plum chutney, lime pickle, and green
tomato and ripe tomato chutneys.
Chopped bananas sprinkled with lime juice.
Chopped bananas, melon, mango, or papaya.
Skinned and chopped tomatoes in equal parts with black raisins.
Chopped scallions mixed with hard-boiled eggs.
Batter-fried onion rings.
Chopped onions with green peppers.
Coconut, grated, shredded, toasted.
Peanuts, whole or chopped.
Six accompaniments are adequate for a curry dish. Prepare about 1/2
cup of each and place them in small bowls or in a six sectioned relish dish.
How to Make African Salad Bowls
Small salads were served in coconut bowls throughout West Africa. They
are simply made as follows:
Cut the coconut across in two equal halves with an electric meat saw
or prevail upon your butcher to do this for you. (If you wish you may remove the
liquid first and use the unscarred half only.)
Place in oven at 325 F until meat comes cleanly away from shell.
Sandpaper the outside of the bowl until glossy smooth.
How to Make an African Coconut Ladle
An African coconut ladle is a surprisingly handy item to have around the house
and is especially appropriate to use when you serve your African dinner.
Pierce two holes in the "eyes" or black dots at the peak of the
coconut, with an ice pick or sharp skewer.
Drain the water.
Cut the coconut in two making the peak end the smaller half. This
half is discarded. (Have your butcher cut the coconut on his electric meat saw.)
Place the coconut in the oven at 325° until the meat comes cleanly
away from the shell.
Bore a "tight" I/2-inch hole on the side of the half without the
shiny dots— about 3/4 inch from the edge with an electric bit.
Force a 12-inch long dowel stick 1/2-inch thick through the hole in
the coconut so that it comes through 1/2-inch on the inside of the ladle.
(Purchase the dowel stick at the carpentry shop.)
Sandpaper the outside of your new ladle until it is glossy smooth.
The following is a list of sources where spices and other ingredients in
African dishes may be purchased:
House of Yemen
370 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10016
K. Kalustyan Orient Export Trading Corp.
123 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10016
Bloomingdale's Delicacy Shop
Lexington Avenue at 59th Street
New York, New York 10021
Atlas Importing Company
1109 Second Avenue
New York, New York 10022
Conte di Savoia
555 W. Roosevelt Road
4725 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90029
441 Clement Street
San Francisco, California
Published by The World Publishing Company
2231 West 110th Street. Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Published simultaneously in Canada by
Nelson. Foster & Scott Ltd.
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