Week 33. Djibouti. Skoudekharis.

We know people living in Christchurch and whilst they are all safe, it has certainly been a traumatic week. Watching events unfold on TV struck me how we, in the Western World,  weight our media coverage so heavily on fellow Westerners. The coverage has been extensive of NZ, as it should be, but I do wonder if we move on too quickly from the disasters in remote parts of the world. The earthquake in New Zealand will likely have taken 400 lives when the final counts are made, and whilst this is horrific it merely scratches the surface of the devastation caused in Haiti (230,000 deaths) last year. Had the quake in NZ registered in 2010, the death toll would have been only fifth behind tragedies in China, Chile, Indonesia and of course Haiti. What I am getting at is that whilst we must think of those who are affected by the quake in Canterbury, lets not forget those who are still being affected by previous devastation.

I drew Djibouti this week which took me into Africa for the first time in 2011. Djibouti is on the East Coast and one of the least populated countries on the continent. It is tiny (in the context of Africa) and borders in my opinion one of the top 3 scariest countries in the world…..Somalia. I will save my comments for when I draw Somalia, but for now think  lawlessness, open fighting, dusty cities and Pirates driving around in £50,000 Range Rovers.

When I looked for the most appropriate dish to cook I looked into the French influences which are rich in the country, but opted to go for a dish which was more suited to the nomadic tribes which still roam. So – I needed to find a dish which could be cooked in one pot, and probably on a fire.  Skoudekharis is the national dish of Djibouti and a doddle. I used one chopping board, one knife, one pot and not many ingredients….and it was absolutely delicious.

Ground Cloves made the whole ensemble taste pretty Christmassy, but not in a bad way. The lamb was melt-in-the-mouth and the chilli gave it warmth rather than heat. I would definitely make this again and I wouldn’t change it at all!


  • 500G Lamb Shoulder Diced
  • 250G Rice
  • 500g Diced, Blanched Tomatoes
  • 2 Large Onions
  • 2 Dicede Chillies
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Paste
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 TSp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Cumin

Gently cook the onions in oil until they are starting to turn golden. Add in the garlic and chillies for 2 minutes. Add the lamb and brown for 4 minutes before adding all the spices and stirring through. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 pint of water and the rice and then let it all grow until you have a dish which looks as it does in the photo (with plump cooked rice).






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