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Jun 25, 2010 11:39 AM

Inventive recipes needed for aid worker stranded in Central Africa!!

So I just got to my new work station, which is the very north of Congo, in the bush. This is by far the bushiest of all places I have ever worked, if you'll pardon the term :) (Minus the wi-fi access and satellite tv in our guesthouse!) So, I was warned to bring food provisions with me because I wouldn't find much. This is what I'm working with:

Can find on-site:
- eggs
- tiny tomatoes
- cassava leaves (and cassava which I'm not crazy about)
- palm oil
- onions
- avocados
- hot chillies
- plantains and bananas

Brought with me:
- olive oil
- pasta
- canned tomatoes
- garlic
- Kalamata olives
- capers
- pickles
- mustard
- white wine vinegar
- some dry French sausage
- dry lentils
- canned chickpeas

So I am seeing a lot of variations on spaghetti marinara and puttanesca in my future. I was thinking lentil soup, but no carrots or celery! I look to you Chowhounds for some help! What creative things can I do with what I have access to? thanks!!


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  1. No access to meat or any seasonings? You can do a sausage & egg frittata; a lentil or chickpea stew with the sausage, onions & tomatoes; poached eggs in tomato sauce with chiles (if you like spicy); avocado, tomato and olive salad with a dressing made with your white wine vingear, mustard, garlic and olive oil and of course, roasted plantains/bananas in their the top of my head....

    1. Can you get access to any butter? If so, give this lentil soup recipe a whirl:

      I imagine you could sub a little sausage for the bacon with OK results. You can skip the celery tops; they were not included in the original recipe from my cooking teacher.


      -deviled eggs (eggs, oil, pickles, mustard
      -eggs poached in tomato sauce
      -if you can access rice, you can make banana rice (basically banana sauteed in oil or butter, then cooked with white rice and water long enough to steam the rice).
      -stewed chickpeas with tomatoes (e.g.,


      What do locals cook at home?

      1. Chickpeas can be roasted by themselves with just some oil, salt and chilies, can me mashed into a simple hummus, or combined with eggs, a grain and seasoning of your choice into a patty

        Tomatoes, onions and chilies could yield a salsa-ish type condiment - make cassava or plantain chips to accompany it, plus you have avocados and garlic for guac

        I don't know if this would work but you could try subbing plantains for potatoes in a tortilla espanola (with oil, eggs and onions you are good to go)

        I know you said you don't care for cassava, but maybe in a cake...?
        Cassava cake (but you didn't list all ingredients required - if you happen upon these, this doesn't sound bad)

        One more cassava recipe (just in case you acquire a taste for them!

        This plantain recipe calls for butter, I have no idea how detrimental subbing butter would be to the taste/final product - it could be a low cost risk though if you have an abundance of plantains. This is commonly served with avocados, eggs and sausage - which you have :


        Good luck, I'll keep thinking/searching for more ideas - add any other ingredients you may have available :)

        1 Reply
        1. I am from cassava-land. Cassava can be really nice boiled then fried and served with a sauce. Brings back great memories.

          1. Google "Brazilian Recipes". They use palm oil, cassava (aka manioc), plantains, all your familiar stuff. You'll feel right at home.