Benin- Amiwo Recipe

Amiwo with chicken and tomato onion sauce

When we asked a friend from Benin what would be a typical recipe, he immediately mentioned pate rouge or amiwo. On the internet, I found a number of different recipes and I borrowed from a few to make this recipe. The key ingredient of the recipe for amiwo is cornmeal. Luckily, this is easy to find in the UK supermarket, especially Indian markets. All of the ingredients were easy to find. Although the ingredients are simple, the recipe actually took awhile since there are three different parts.

First, I prepared the chicken with herbs and seasoning. In addition, the chicken needed a second step of roasting and browning it in the oven. Second is the preparation of the amiwo itself, also known as pate rouge or red paste. This is a made by cooking cornmeal in a tomato sauce. Interestingly, the final consistency reminded me of polenta, the Italian dish. Finally, there is a side sauce made of tomato and onion. Although these same ingredients are in the amiwo, it is nice to have sauce to add some moisture to the plate.

So far, I have never visited Benin but I hope to be able to try the traditional recipe for amiwo one day! It is delicious, filling and also relatively healthy.

Cooking the chicken with herbs
Cooking the chicken with herbs
Preparing the tomato sauce mixture
Preparing the tomato sauce mixture

Ingredients

Ingredients for the chicken

1 whole chicken
2 onions
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for amiwo (red paste)

4-6 Tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, minced
3/4 of the cooking juices from the chicken
1 tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Salt to taste
200 g fine corn meal

Ingredients for the side sauce

3 tomatoes
1 onion
1/4 of the cooking juices from the chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

Browning the chicken in the oven
Browning the chicken in the oven
Adding cornmeal to the tomato mixture
Adding cornmeal to the tomato mixture

Instructions

First, prepare the chicken by washing it and cutting it into large pieces. Then put it into a large cooking pot and add the seasoning to taste. Also add about 200ml of water to the pot.

In a food processor (or with a hand blender), mix the onions and a bit of water. Blend until smooth. Then add the onion to the chicken and cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat. Cover and set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, start the preparation of the red paste.

First, mix the tomato paste and onions, and cook in a large pot over medium heat. Add about 200ml of water. Stir occasionally and cook for about 30 minutes. Add seasonings. Then add about 3/4 of the cooking juices from the chicken. Keep the sauce simmering.

Prepare a baking tray with foil. Then quickly dip the chicken pieces in the tomato mixture and place them on the tray. Bake them at 180C for about 20 minutes.

Now, return to the tomato paste mixture and add 50 ml water. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower to simmering. Add the corn meal progressively and stir well. The paste should become thick. Stop adding the cornmeal when it is a good consistency for your taste.

For the side sauce, chop the tomatoes and onion. Add these to a saucepan along with the remaining chicken juice. Then heat over medium for about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve everything hot

Red paste (amiwo) made with cornmeal and tomatoes
Red paste (amiwo) made with cornmeal and tomatoes
Preparing the side sauce
Preparing the side sauce

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Comments

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