Kedjenou de Poulet à la Patmal

Kedjenou has always been my favorite Ivorian recipe.  However, I really perfected this national dish when I was a student in the US. As a graduate student living in an American family, I was very homesick at the time. So, to make myself feel better, I used to make this dish five times a week. My host family thought Ivorians had only one national dish! But, the truth is, I love kedjenou so much that I personalized it. Please try it.  I am sure you will enjoy it as much as my family does.

Ivory Coast Talié

In Ivory Coast, we like to eat out of an earthenware talié such as this one. The starch goes on the bottom, with the sauce spooned over it, and we eat with our right hand. This is my favorite way to enjoy kedjenou.

Country of Origin:  Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
Serves:  7
2 whole chickens, cut into pieces
     (if your butcher can split the backs, thighs and breasts in two, the size of the pieces will be nicer)
5 tomatoes, cut into 4 pieces each
1 med. eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 bunch coriander, torn into 1-inch lengths
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into quarter-sized disks
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2-4 habañero chiles, stemmed and pricked the tines of a fork
2 Jumbo cubes, crushed
     (Maggi chicken seasoning cubes may be substituted if Jumbo is unavailable in your area)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Massage salt, pepper and crushed jumbo cubes into chicken.  Add the chicken pieces to an 8 quart stockpot, along with all other ingredients. Mix well, so that vegetables do not just “sit”on top of the chicken.

2. Cover stockpot and cook over medium heat. Shake the pot from time to time (every 10 minutes or so) to mix the ingredients.  (Do not open the pot. This dish is cooked with steam. The liquid from the vegetables will form a sauce on its own.)

3. Continue cooking for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

4. If you like your sauce spicy, crush 1-2 of the chiles into the sauce prior to serving.

5. Serve with rice, attiéké, fufu/futu, or couscous.

Editor’s Note:  You can use more or less of the habañero chiles, depending on your family’s taste and tolerance for pepper.

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