Provence Ratatouille + West African Plantain yields..... "Plantaintouille" .....!!!!! I first encountered this dish from watching a children's animation film of the same name. The movie was really fun to watch with my daughter who also quite enjoys cooking!
In the movie, I learnt quite a lot, most strikingly, that anyone can cook, even a rat! and also I learnt about the dish called ratatouille.
Ratatouille is actually a type of vegetable stew which originates from the Provence region of France. Its a very simple dish which is made by combining a range of vegetables particularly eggplants, courgettes (zucchinis), onions, peppers, with fresh herbs & spices like basil, thyme. The vegetables could be cooked all together but are best cooked separately, before combined, usually in a fancy, plating style.
There are actually variations of this dish eaten in other parts of the world, variation stemming from the types of vegetables used. This knowledge motivated me to create a West African version of the stew. In addition to the typical ingredients, I added mushrooms and plantains....the result is best experienced than explained. Try it out.
What you need
- Courgettes (also called zucchinis). You can use the green or yellow varieties
- Ripe plantains
- Eggplant (you can use large white garden eggs as a substitute as they are less bitter than the green ones)
- Pre-made red pepper base sauce (get recipe here. Alternatively use tomato purée/paste)
- 1-2 handfuls of chopped red sweet peppers
- 1-2 handfuls of chopped onions
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- Freshly milled black pepper
- Salt to taste (use any of your other preferred seasoning)
- Fresh basil
- Fresh thyme
- Coconut oil
|Layered steamed vegetables before adding sauce|
What to do
- Prepping vegetables. I prefer to cook the different vegetables separately to enable them develop their individual tastes and flavours.
- Wash and slice the courgettes, mushrooms and eggplant. Also peel and slice the ripe plantain. Ensure you cut them into equal sizes for ease of plating/presentation. Steam the vegetables separately with a pinch of salt added. Take care not to over cook at this stage as further cooking will still be carried out. Set aside the different steamed vegetables.
- Now in a large sauce pan, heat up some oil and add the chopped garlic, chopped onions and red peppers. allow to soften a bit then add some generous quantity some pre-made red pepper base sauce. You may also add chopped plum tomatoes, but I did not use it on this occasion.
- Allow all to sizzle and infuse together. Add basic, thyme, black pepper and salt to taste. Also if using, this is the stage you add your additional preferred seasoning.
- In a casserole dish, arrange the steamed vegetable slices and pour over the sautéed peppers/onions. Ensure you make enough to drench the steamed vegetables.
- Place dish in a hot oven to allow the flavours to develop for a further 5-10 mins being mindful of not overcooking the vegetables.
- Its ready! Serve hot or cold. As a starter or as a side dish with rice of pasta dishes.