Niger is located in the continent of Africa. It has Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest.
The capital is Niamey.
The official language is French.
The climate in the southern region is known as Sahelian, which has a short rainy season. The northeast winds blow April to May and rain lasts one to four months. Temperatures rise in the winter season which is considered to be February to May.
The staple foods are sorghum, millet, beef, sheep, goat, nuts, fruits and any other foods that they can get from the neighboring countries (https://reliefweb.int/report/niger/niger-staple-food-and-livestock-market-fundamentals-september-2017#:~:text=Sorghum%20and%20millet%20are%20by,calories%20in%20the%20Nigerien%20diet).
GROUNDNUT BEEF STEW WITH GROUND RICE BALLS (https://www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/mains/groundnut-beef-stew-with-ground-rice-balls):
- 1 lb. (500-600g) diced beef (we used beef shin)
- 4 TBSP palm oil or groundnut oil (we used ethically sourced Carotino red palm oil)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 2 Scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded
- 1 TBSP (20g) root ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2-1/4 TBSP (30g) ground dried crayfish (or fish sauce/shrimp paste)
- 1 C (120g) smooth peanut butter
- 4 C (1 ltr) beef stock (made using 1 stock pot or cube) – use gluten-free stock if required
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 6-3/7 C (200g) spinach, roughly shredded
- Unsalted peanuts, chopped, to serve
- Season the beef with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 TBSP of the oil in a casserole and brown the beef in batches on a high heat, for about 5 minutes per batch. Set the browned meat aside.
- Put the onion, red pepper, Scotch bonnets and ginger in a blender or food processor along with ¾ C (100ml) of water and blitz for 2 minutes or until smooth. It should look like a tomato smoothie when it’s ready.
- Using the same casserole that the beef was browned in, add the remaining oil and turn the heat down to medium.
- Add the blended onion and pepper mixture for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced and there is no excess moisture.
- In a small bowl, mix the ground dried crayfish (or alternative) and peanut butter together.
- Add this to the casserole and stir until well combined.
- Slowly add the stock whisking continuously until well incorporated and creamy.
- Return the beef to the casserole stir in the lemon juice and check the sauce for seasoning.
- Partially cover and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the beef is tender.
- In the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, add the shredded spinach and leave to simmer.
TUWO SHINKAFA (Rice balls):
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- 2-1/4 C (275g) rice or rice flour
- Fill a pot with 4-1/2 (600ml) of boiling water, add the salt and place over a medium heat.
- Slowly pour in the ground rice, stirring fast and continuously using a wooden or silicone spoon.
- Once the ground rice thickens add another 2-1/2 C (300ml) water and turn the heat down to low.
- Cover the pot and let the mixture steam for 8 minutes.
- Fold the tuwo once more until there are no visible lumps and all the water is gone. The tuwo should be soft and easily moldable.
- To get a perfectly round shape for the tuwo, put a little water (less than a TBSP each) into 4 bowls.
- Divide the cooked dough between the bowls then carefully flip, continuously, until a ball is formed.
- Alternately, scoop a quarter of the dough onto a square of clingfilm; gather the corners together then twist to shape into a round dumpling-like ball.
- Ladle some soup into each bowl with the tuwo, top with the meat and scatter over the crushed peanuts.
- 1 C corn meal
- 1-1/2 C water
- 2 TBSP sugar (or more)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tsp Chili powder (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- Enough oil for frying
- Add all the ingredients in a pot, stir and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Continue to stir as you cook, and it gets thicker.
- When it thickens and elastic, scrape off the dough from the ladle and cover or scoop in a plastic wrap and set aside to cool down to touch.
- Cut a small piece, if necessary, sprinkle some cornmeal over it and roll out, make sure the two ends are thinner than the middle part and the middle part is not too thick
- Repeat the process until you’re done with the dough, allow to air dry for a few minutes to avoid breaking while transferring to the hot oil for frying. You can sprinkle some cornmeal over the rolled-out dough.
- Heat enough oil in a frying pan and allow to get hot to about 350 degrees F. You can test the oil by dipping the thin part of a ladle into the oil, if it sizzles it’s hot enough. You can drop cornmeal into the oil and if it sizzles then start to fry.
- If the kokro turns brown immediately the oil is too hot, then turn down the heat. If not, the thick part will fry quicker than the rest of the kokoro.
- Fry until golden brown and crunchy to your preference. If it’s not fried enough, the middle part (the thicker part) will be soft.
- Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and allow them to cool down before storing them in an airtight container.