Monday, 2 November 2009

Lesotho - Chakalaka and Pap

Chakalaka and Pap was probably one of the easiest dishes I've made as part of this learning experience. Chakalaka is a fiery hot stew made from everything red and orange - tomatoes, bell peppers, scotch bonnets (I know, again!), onion and carrot. I added chicken and the result was a delicious, albeit incredibly spicy, dish. For Pap, I used Polenta, which I have an inexplicable fondness for and which helped cool my mouth down, as I shovelled it into me in sticky spoonfuls.

I think Chakalaka is probably the second hottest dish I've ever eaten. The hottest dish was in rural Thailand and was called Phad Phet, literally 'fried spicy'. Whatever you do, if you go to Thailand, never order anything which is called 'fried spicy'! Mind you, I probably should have used regular chillies, rather than the Scotch bonnets which I seem to be dangerously drawn to.

After much nose blowing, forehead mopping and watching my partner, Zhenya, turn a funny crimson colour, I comforted myself with the thought that my stomach probably needed a good spicy dish to kill any harmful bacteria, or just . . . anything, lying around in there. Am I the only one who finds that palate-blowing spices can be cleansing?

Anyway, we've lived to tell the tale. Would definitely make Chakalaka again, but maybe ease up on the chillies next time! As you can see from my photo, I've tried to make the polenta look presentable, by shaping it in a ramekin, before putting it on the plate :-)

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