Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Making Koki

Since arriving in Cameroon I have had one favorite food that even after a year doesn’t seem to get old—It's Koki. When I tell people I love Koki they laugh hysterically because it is kind of considered the “poor man’s food” of my area. I guess once I bought it au marche and told the woman selling it how much I love it and some kids heard me and now everytime I walk by they say, “J’adore le Koki!!” (I love Koki).
I have been meaning to learn how to make Koki for a long time now. I kept mentioning that I wanted to learn to a friend of mine who makes some wicked good Koki. So this last Saturday she came by my house early in the morning so that we could go to the market together and buy everything needed to make Koki.
You need the koki beans, l’huile rouge (a thick sludgy red palm oil—its what makes Koki so good for you…NOT!), and some salt. I have piment growing in my yard so we spiced it with that. You soak the beans, remove the skin, mush it into a paste with the piment and oil, add some water and salt, put it in a banana tree leaf (also found in my yard) tie it up and boil it in a big pot over a fire for a couple hours. YUM!
It may sound easy but it is about 5 hours of work all together! African women are so incredibly strong. The woman making it with me would open the pot with her bare hands (no hot pads here!) and while I was coughing and crying from the smoke from the fire she as rocking her baby to sleep and curing the leaves at the same time!
I was pretty exhausted afterwards and I didn’t even do most of the work. But for about $3.25 and five hours of work I made enough Koki to feed myself and two other families! And now when I buy Koki I have a new appreciation for all of the work it takes to make it!


Rebecca said...

And we think someone is "cultured" if they can make their own jam or bread, and that's WITH modern conviences! I think that was your rite of passage to becoming Camaroonian. What does a koki bean taste like? anything compareable? I expect you to whip me up something tasty when you come back, cause you're coming to Provo after the Peace Corp. right? right? Teach me and Eden French!

Autumn Brown said...

Haha. I don't see Provo in my future...but I will teach you a "Cameroonian french" if you like. I will try to make you Koki too :) Hope alls well! Love you guys!

shelly said...

Just found your wonderful blog. What a life of experiences you are having!! Hope you are feeling well. Thanks for sharing I loved reading!. Shelly Nelson

Anonymous said...

You are amazing...as soon as I learn how to make squid on a stick or good miso soup, I will let you know! I am sure it will be awhile as so far I cannot even read the labels on the food! HA!
Love and miss you.

laufond said...

Hi Autumn,
I am a Cameroonian studying in L.A. I was born and raised in Douala but I'm originally from Bafoussam. I loooooooooooooove ur blog!!! I just discovered it 2 hours ago(after googling the recipe for koki) and I have already read all your posts. My favorite was the May post as it made me smile, laugh and tear up a little.
Hang in there...I hope u r also enjoying Kekem's "soya".
Thank you for doing all you are doing (in Cameroon and online :-))
Good luck with ur work, and french.
Sorry I turned this comment into an article.

Ras BrVic said...

It was nice reading one of my favourite dishes pleases even a foreigner, however i was simply searching for a revival of the cooking process when i found your blog, do you know as there's "koki Beans " so there is Koki Corn and Koki Pumpkin Seeds (Egussi), my bet isyou could fall in love for them too, stay well and strong woman.