Location: West Africa
Population: 1.8 million
Geography: Savannah in the east, and low-lying plains and swamp as the land approaches the coast
Language: Portuguese, Upper Guinea Creole
Signature flavours: Millet, rice, cashew, avocado, cassava, seafood
As we’re often finding with the world’s tiniest places, it was hard to find recipes for Guinea-Bissau. Eric found one in the trusty World Cookbook, and another couple online. His choice for an avocado-centric dish caused no end of anxiety (Avo-xiety /ævoˈzajəti/ noun: the nervous state which accompanies the ripening of avocados) since we bought our avos a little too early and Eric wasn’t sure exactly when he wanted to cook. As you may know, once there is an avocado in your house, life will be dictated by the ripeness of that emotional fruit. Open it too soon, and it is the consistency of an uncooked potato; open too late, and you have grey mush. The avos were fine by the time he made them, though, so all that fear was for nothing. Due to our schedule today, we did a WSW lunch rather than dinner — the first of its kind.
Abacate com Atum: Avocado mashed with tuna, shallot, tomato, and coconut milk, and served a grated coconut garnish.
Prep and cooking time: 20 min
Millet and nuts: Boiled millet with salt and peanut putter, topped with cashews.
Prep and cooking time: 25 min
Mandioca Frita: Cassava root boiled to softness and then fried to a golden brown.
Prep and cooking time: 75 min
The Shopping List
The millet and grated coconut came from our local bulk store, and cassava from Freshco. The tuna steak was purchased at St Lawrence Market.
The avocado dish was really tasty — creamy and lemony — and the tuna was a nice, juicy cut. It went well with the rather subtle and nutty millet bowl. We both like cassava a lot. Deep frying it made the pieces really crunchy — really, really crunchy — but they had a softer, starchy centre. Eric said that if he made them again, he would heat the oil more first and fry for less time to crisp the outside without cooking it too much.
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional chef. I’m just a passionate cook with a curiosity for flavours I’ve never tried. For great recipes from gifted local cooks, follow the links above.