Ivory Coast: kedjenou chicken

Kdjn3-3It was a gloomy Sunday afternoon when he came into my room, dripping from the rain.

He pulled a frozen white ball from the plastic bag he was carrying, and dropped it on my lap. “There you go, do something with this” he said, and turned to leave.

“Papa,” I said “what’s that?”

Kdjn1That was attiéké, an Ivorian couscous made from fermented and granulated cassava (yucca) pulp, which is then steam-cooked.

As it turned out, we had a newly-opened African grocer open in the neighbourhood, and Papa had decided to buy me some attiéké to make.

Papa rarely does things by accident, so choosing attiéké was neither a mistake nor an uninformed choice. He picked attiéké because he knows what it is, having lived in Ivory Coast a couple of decades ago. He and Mama moved there in 1978. They came back to Europe in 1982… with 2 kids in tow.

Having never been back to Ivory Coast myself, I suppose Papa thought it would be interesting to get acquainted with my native land’s cuisine by making it myself.

Attiéké is usually served with kedjenou, a slow-cooked stew of either chicken or fish (although other proteins can be used). Kedjenou is typically made in a dish called “canari,” a terra cotta pot, in hot coals. Nevertheless, a deep pan will work just fine.

Attiéké sec Dry attiéké

Dry attiéké

You can find 2 types of attiéké (in specialty shops): dried or frozen. If you are unfamiliar with attiéké, I would suggest getting the dried one and following the package directions. That’s the best way to get a nice and fluffy couscous.

Kdjn2Serves 4

  • 300g / 10.5 oz. attiéké
  • One chicken, cut into 4, or 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, or 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cm / 1 in fresh ginger, chopped or grated (or more, to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

In a deep pan, heat the oil over high heat. Carefully add the chicken and sauté for a few minutes, until the skin is crispy.

Add the rest of the ingredients, seaon with salt and pepper, cover and seal the lid with a towel.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 40-45 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

In the meantime, prepare the attiéké:

Steamed: line the basket of your steamer with a clean tea towel. Spread the attiéké evenly and fold the rest of the towel over. Put the lid on and steam for about 15-20 minutes, mixing regularly so the grains don’t stick together.

In the microwave: soak the attiéké in the same amount of water (1 cup water for 1 cup attiéké), and set aside for 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Cook about 5 minutes in the microwave (850W). Immediately fluff it with a fork and spread in one layer on a shallow dish to cool.

Serve topped with the chicken and sauce.


3 réflexions sur “Ivory Coast: kedjenou chicken

  1. Pingback: Ivorian Kedjenou chicken - Yum Goggle

  2. Lovely exotic recipe to try for a change, and seems easy to make. I thought that ginger was Asian and that in Africa they use instead a chilli pepper called « pili-pili », but you don’t mention it in your recipe. Maybe I am wrong, but I shall try to use it in this recipe, as I don’t particularly fancy ginger. Having no african stores nearby, what could I use instead of attieke, rice or cous-cous?

    • Hi Alma
      Yes, you can definitely use couscous instead of attiéké
      You are right, I didn’t mention chilli, simply because none of the recipes I found used any. But I suppose you could definitely use it if you like spicy food

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