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.
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
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.