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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

South African Fish: Pan fried garlic Kingklip

(photo credit chefkock)
I am going to feature a few popular South African fishes and the local methods of cooking them.
Kingklip is an amazing South African fish. As it is fished by long-line method, and caught in deep water, it has a low negative ecological impact. That is, it is targeted, and very few other species are caught as a by catch. Those that are, Hake, are also sustainable. Certainly in Southern African waters.
Enough. We can now eat with a good conscience!!

You will need for 4 people the following:
1kg fillets cut into 4 portions. I far prefer to leave the skin on because there is a lot of Kingklip flavor there.
2 finely chopped garlic segments.
1 egg beaten
Cake flour.
Knob of butter
oil for frying. (I use a very light mild olive oil)

Tip: If your 1 kilo of fish is in one long fillet like the photo above, then cut it in half lengthwise and then in half crosswise. Just make the tail side a bit longer to compensate for weight. The thick pieces will need to be fried on the three side not just two like the flatter tail portions.
beat the egg thoroughly together with the finely chopped garlic. Coat the fillets well and then roll them in the flour and allow them to set for at least 30 minutes. This protects the delicate flesh from drying out and imparts a beautiful garlic flavor. Don't overdo the garlic though or else you will lose the fish flavor.

Then in a non stick pan, melt the butter into about half a cup of oil and bring the temperature up until the butter solids are beginning to brown. Drop the fish in and start watching. As soon as it is browned turn it over. Brown all sides and remove. I have finally converted to the Jamie Oliver method of cooking fish skin side down first. With thick fish like Kingklip, if you do it skin side up first, when you turn it over the skin contracts and pulls the fish apart. I wish Jamie had told us all that that was the reason!!! Grrrr!
If you have any doubts about whether the fish is cooked, just gently lift and break a thick portion. It should flake right through and be white inside not pink. I cannot overemphasis how important it is not to overcook any fish. Kingklip can go rubbery and then can dry out very quickly. Be careful.Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Bon apetit!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

“Chef Phineas Kuchicha’s boneless stuffed chicken thighs”

This is also called Ballotine of Chicken

I think this falls into the category of African Style Cuisine, because, firstly, the recipe was designed and created by a native African, Phineas Kuchicha who is our incredibly talented Executive Chef at the Game Lodge where we both work, and secondly, this forms part of our Boutique Lunch menu served for our Foreign visitors. It is boned from scratch and prepared by our amazing team of Chefs under Phineas' direction.

This is one of the most innovative methods of preparing chicken I have ever come across. Using legs and thighs instead of the more popular breasts is very much more flavorful and succulent. I really cant encourage you enough to give this a go. You will be amazed.


4x Boned chicken leg and thighs joined complete. (see below how to do this yourself if you don’t have a friendly butcher) Get the biggest you can, because you may waste a bit in the boning.
1 tsp salt
250ml double cream
400g cleaned mushrooms, roughly chopped
100g cleaned and shredded spinach
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
100g bread crumbs
100g chopped onions 

(Boning might waste a leg and thigh whilst you practice, but add it to your chicken stock pot along with the bones you remove. I tried this for the first time last week with a little success. Lay the leg and thigh on a board with the bend facing towards you. Slice from just below the knuckle along the leg bone, over the joint and down the thigh bone. Then snap off the bone with shears at the knuckle. Leave that bit of bone in. Use your fingers and the tip of a knife and push the meat away from the rest of the bone. You may have to cut a bit around the joint area. Don't worry if it doesn't look very neat. You can tidy it up after stuffing when you skewer it.
-Marinate the boned chicken in a little oil, chopped 2 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons paprika, seasoning- salt and pepper, mixed herbs for at least 30min
-fry onions, garlic, mushrooms and spinach for 3min  
-add bread crumbs and cream
-simmer for 4 min till thick and cool for a few min.
-spread the de-boned chicken legs and spoon the stuffing (about a tablespoon) lengthwise 
-roll and secure with a string or thread some tooth picks through so they do not open up when cooking
-preheat oven at 180 degrees celcius (176 F)
-roast in the oven for 15-20min (depending on the size of the legs) till done but still juicy.
Slice across the leg/thigh  and serve as required