Week 35. Niger. Caakiri

Mrs Jones and little Master Jones have headed back to New Zealand for a few weeks. As they left I looked through the list of things I was given to be getting on with in their absence:

  1. Sort out Garden. What does that even mean? It looks fine. Maybe I should move some bits about.
  2. Put shelves up in Bedroom.  Well that’s a weekend down the drain.
  3. Ebay all our crap.  This is flawed. I have to decide what is crap, which I could very easily get wrong and end up selling something she needs/ wants/ loves. This is a dog of a task.
  4. Mend the wall in the kitchen where the paint keeps falling off. I haven’t even the first clue how to do this.
  5. Don’t spend all of the joint account. That’s rich!

What I don’t see on the list is “Go out every night, have fun and get some lie-ins in the bag”. Fortunately I do know that she would be very happy for me to do this, so I have got stuck in. Unfortunately the lie-ins didn’t materialise as I wake each morning at the same time irrespective of what time I put my head down so I was a little sluggish at work today and couldn’t wait to get home to cook a comforting dish.

Niger is one of the poorest countries on the planet, vast in size and largely covered in desert. Landlocked between many West African countries it is named after the Niger river which penetrates it. Niger will be my 8th African Country to date and I wanted to do something a little different so I choose a traditional dessert. A dessert from the desert. Caakiri is traditionally West African and very popular in Niger and is the first time I have ever considered using Cous Cous in a pudding.

I have found in cooking African dishes that the economic position of the country certainly dictated the type of dish. Poor countries will eat a lot of filling dishes which are cheap to put together. Take Burkina Faso with Riz au Gras (effectively flavoured rice) or Joloff in Guinea (again rice) and now Caakiri. All of these dishes use easy to locate mass-produced foods which can be easily flavoured, taste great, not cost a week’s wage, fill you up and are not  dependent on the weather being good to guarantee a solid crop.

Caakiri is a great dish. Taking about 15 mins total to create, you simply boil a litre of water and add 400g of cous cous, a knob of butter and a pinch of salt. Re-cover (and off the boil) it all and let it sit for 10 mins. The cous cous will absorb the water and then stir it through with a fork.

Once done, add to the cous cous a pre-mix of 250g Evaporated Milk, 500g Vanilla Yoghurt, 250ml Sour Cream, 150g Sugar, 2 Table Spoons Vanilla Essence, 1tsp Ground Nutmeg.

I garnished mine with mint (which I also chopped up and stirred through) and raisins. The result was a creamy moreish glutinous dish which tasted sweet and fragrant. I loved it and will be taking it by the sackload to work for breakfast as this is how I want to start my day rather than with some Shreddies and cold milk.

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One thought on “Week 35. Niger. Caakiri

  1. Well, with that list you have to contend with, I’m very impressed that you were able to make this dessert! I like that you chose a sweet to make, since as you said, many of these African countries are so poor, it’s hard to find variety. Well done…now get to work! 🙂

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