Although I have never been to Cameroon, I was happy to try some recipes from my Cameroonian friend Henshaw. He sent me three of his favourites, including this recipe for Poulet DG. If you look up the history of this dish, you will find that Poulet Directeur Général was previously served to the upper classes but now is for all to enjoy! In fact, it is a slightly complicated recipe so you need some time to go through the various steps, especially for the chicken. The plantains are a delicious accompaniment.
For an authentic recipe for Poulet DG and some interesting background, see Precious Core‘s website. She also has many other Cameroonian recipes.
3-4 large ripe plantains, medium firmness
1 onion, chopped
1 whole chicken (about 2kg) or 1.5 kg chicken breasts & thighs
8 medium tomatoes, blended
1 inch ginger root (peeled and roughly chopped)
8 garlic cloves, peeled
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
4 small seasoning cubes (Maggi or chicken bouillon)
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
3 stems of green onions
8 stems of parsley or cilantro
2 medium carrots or 1 large
1 handful of green beans
1 bell pepper or ¼ each of 4 coloured bell peppers
2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 habanero (hot) pepper (optional)
Vegtable oil for frying
First, make your spice blend. Combine the garlic, ginger, celery, parsley, hot pepper (optional) and half of the onion in a blender. Add in half a cup of water and blend to a paste. You can also use a hand blender to carefully puree the ingredients.
If using a whole chicken, then wash your chicken well, then pat it dry and cut it into pieces. Place chicken pieces in a large pot. Add in ¾ of the spice blend, half a teaspoon of salt, 2 seasoning cubes, a pinch of white pepper and a cup of water. Cover and let it cook on medium-high heat for 20 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, put the oil in a medium-sized pot and heat over medium. Cut plantains into circles a little less than a centimetre thick. Deep fry until golden brown. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to fry the plantains in multiple batches. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Line a baking tray with foil and spray with a light coat of oil. When the chicken is done, remove from stock and place on the prepared baking tray. Reserve the stock in a separate bowl for later use. Now place the tray of chicken in the oven at 200C (400F) to grill for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Add about 4 Tablespoons of oil from the plantain pot to the large pot that you used to cook the chicken. Heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the remaining onions to saute. Then add in the tomatoes and cook until the sauce no longer tastes sour. Stir occasionally. As the tomato cooks, chop the carrots, green beans, bell peppers and green onions. Add in the rest of the spice blend and let it cook for 2 minutes. Then add in chicken stock, remaining seasoning cubes and white pepper. Stir well and let them simmer together for two minutes.
Add in chicken and stir well. Add in fried plantains, then stir well but carefully. Finally, add in the chopped vegetables and give it a good mix. If it looks too dry at this point, add a couple tablespoons of water to make it moist. Allow everything to heat for two minutes then turn the flames off. It is done. This leaves your vegetables crisp and fresh. If you prefer softer vegetables you can cook for a few minutes longer. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve hot.
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