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Monday, June 14, 2010

Tastes of home: experimenting in the kitchen

Last night I wanted to make an adaptation of jalepeno poppers with urusenda, the spicy pepper here. To make the cheese stuffing, I needed milk. This led to perhaps my favorite discovery so far in Gisenyi.

I went into one of the many stores that advertises Amata meza, “good milk,” and asked if they had amata konje, cold milk. She showed me the jug in the fridge, so I produced my empty half-liter water bottle and she filled it up for 200 francs ($0.30). It looked very thick and I was afraid I’d gotten the infamous “chunky milk,” but when I tasted it at home it was delightful, drinkable, tasty yogurt! It’s called ikivuguto, as opposed to ishyushyu, regular milk.

I boiled some of the yogurt and added lemon juice to separate the curd. Following the Peace Corps cookbook’s instructions, I strained this through a cloth and let it sit with a weight on it for a bit. It turned into soft cheese – somewhere between ricotta and paneer. I stuffed it into the urusenda, breaded them, battered some onions, and made a fried appetizer feast!

Yogurt – oh the possibilities! I can make curries, top lentil soup with it, or put it on the granola I made Saturday morning:

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