Kedjenou: an Ivorian dish that we serve at our restaurant

by phil on May 24, 2012

If you come to our restaurant in the Allocodrome of the Toits Rouges quarter in the Yopougon neighborhood of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, you can order this dish. Best wait a couple of weeks, though, as kedjenou is an evening dish and right now we are strictly a lunch operation.

Kedjenou is typically a dish shared between a few people. It is best at night when you have gathered with friends at a maquis. After a few beers, place your kedjenou (or poulet/poisson braisé) order, drink more, and in 45mins-1 hour, you have a feast.

This recipe is adapted from my brain on koutoukou, a kind of local gin in Cote d’Ivoire that is sold for 100 CFA a shot (20 cents). While I was drunk during preparation, this is a dish that is relatively straightforward.

Ingredients

1 Chicken
4 or 5 good sized tomatoes or 8 smaller Ivorian sized tomatoes, finely diced
2 good sized onions or 6 smaller Ivorian sized onions, not so finely diced
3 hot peppers, scotch bonnet peppers will work, not so finely diced, use more or less depending on how much heat you want
4 or 5 cloves of garlic finely diced
A healthy dash of minced ginger, maybe a tablespoon or a bit more
2 maggi cubes or other bouillon cube that has MSG in it (optional, but most Ivorians I know would consider this critical)
Salt and pepper to taste

Those numbers are rough estimates. You should have more tomatoes than onions and you can be flexible with the rest. Also, feel free to sub out bouillon cubes for other spices or more salt and pepper. We threw in some cumin and nutmeg for the hell of it. The key to kedjenou, though, is how you cook it.

Procedure

1. Chop up everything.

2. Put it in a large pot and mix it up.

3. Start a small fire or turn your stove on to low heat.

4. Put the pot on the fire with a lid.

5. Simmer for 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally.

6. Take it off the fire and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.

7. Serve with rice, cous cous or attieke.

8. Enjoy with friends and cold beer

The beauty of this dish is that you just put everything together in a pot and slow cook it. You do not need to add oil or water or broth (unless perhaps you have really shitty tomatoes that are too dry). In the words of Ron Popeil, set it and forget it. The result is moist and tender chicken in a flavorful, spicy stew.

More updates coming from restaurant/catering world, a few posts on Mali, some stuff about Lisbon (where I am writing this from) and future plans, including return to West Africa and a couple of new projects, one of which I couldn’t get off the ground because of slow internet.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlys May 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Bookmarked! Will certainly prepare this for Michael, who loves it infernal hot. And yes, scotch bonnet peppers are available here in Montmartre. Guess why?

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phil May 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

It may have something to do with that being the hang out spot for West African expats. I just found the equivalent of montmartre in Lisbon. Near Rossio, big rendez vous spot. Didn’t see any chilis, though :(

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Benjamin May 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I expect you to chef this upon your return. I’ll have some ingredients waiting for you (although koutoukou may be hard to find in Boston, we’ll make do).

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phil May 26, 2012 at 6:48 am

We can find these ingedients. Let’s do it. Easy dish to make and damn good.

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Benjamin May 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I forgot to ask…. Did you see Djelimady Tounkara at FAD? So nice…….

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phil May 26, 2012 at 6:51 am

No:(

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Katrina May 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Hahaha! I love that you mention Ron Popeil. WIN!

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phil May 26, 2012 at 7:00 am

Glad to know you are a fellow fan :)

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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures May 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I don’t eat meat, so I’d pass on the dish, but I think it’s so cool that you can say, “our restaurant.” :)

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phil May 26, 2012 at 7:01 am

Try it with tofu!

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Jools Stone May 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

Is that a baby frog I spy in the second mixing bowl pic?? There’s no mention of that in the ingredients!

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phil June 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

Shhhhhh

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Roy Marvelous June 1, 2012 at 2:54 am

Looks yummy, Phil!

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phil June 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

Free plate is waiting for you, Roy, when you come to Abidjan :)

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Ekua June 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

The ingredients look lovely together in the pot before they are prepared, but the final dish not so much. I have no doubt that it tastes wonderful, though. I say this as visually-oriented gal with the utmost love for W. Africa — I wish the food there looked as good as it tastes! I hope to visit and try this one day. Looks like good simple food that likely requires an Ivorian touch to get the flavors right!

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phil June 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

haha, I agree, that’s true for a lot of dishes in west africa. They just get cooked down to something monochromatic. Good simple food is a great way to describe it. I’m still surprised by how straightforward the preparation is.

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Mark Wiens June 4, 2012 at 2:29 am

That looks delicious Phil, especially with a big plate of rice! African stews are just such comfort food for me!

Awesome to hear that you’ve started a restaurant in Abidjan!

I’m selling Thai food at the market in Bangkok now with my girlfriend and it’s so much fun – we’re hoping to start a restaurant here too.

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phil June 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

Hey Mark,
You’re welcome any time :) That sounds great, Mark. Would love to hear more about it. Do you have a stall set up there?

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Christy June 6, 2012 at 2:32 am

This sounds delicious. Thanks for the new recipe! That’s funny about the MSG.

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Tami June 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Making this for the second time this week. The first try I didn’t have enough tomatoes and no hot peppers, so substituted a big red pepper I did have, along with crushed red chilis. I also forgot the ginger. But even that was tasty. Tonight I have all the ingredients you call for, except the maggi cubes. So I added some chicken fat (from my last batch of plain simmered chicken) to boost the flavor. I’m sure this one will be way more delicious than my last try. My new go-to meal!

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Tami June 10, 2012 at 12:14 am

Writing this now that my stew is done. omg. This is so delicious. Thanks for the recipe!!

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phil June 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Damn, Tami! Bon appetit! Sounds like it turned out well. I’m very jealous right now ;) There is a lot of flexibility with this dish. Let me know if you experiment any more with it.

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pamela June 16, 2013 at 12:45 am

I havnt tried this dish yet, but I can tell it will taste so delicious! Will add it to my menu here in Nigeria, am sure they will love it! I own a cafeteria and major in local nigerian dishes as well as Asian cuisine,As people here appreciate hot and spicy chinese sauces and all! Thanks for sharing this recipe phil….cheers…..*smiling*

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