Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RECIPE - Chicken Cabidela (Angolan style)

This is not actually a complete recipe, but it is something that I found interesting and instructive while I was doing online research on the Brazilian dish Chicken Cabidela (Galinha de Cabidela in Portuguese.)

Since the days of Portuguese colonialization, Brazil and the African nation of Angola have shared many cultural traits, as they were both colonized from Portugal, and as many of the slaves transported from Africa to Brazil embarked on their frightful journey in Angola. Brazil and Angola share a language, an official religion, a number of African-based religions, musical instruments, and food traditions among other things.

I came across an Angolan recipe for Chicken Cabidela, the dish whose recipe is in the previous post of Flavors of Brazil. What I found fascinating was how the instructions for the Angolan dish (which is remarkably similar to its Brazilian cousin) starts at the very beginning of the process of making the dish, and carries right on through to the end. Here's a translation of the start of the instruction part of the recipe: "Kill the chicken. Make sure to save all the blood, adding vinegar to it to prevent coagulation. Clean and pluck the chicken........"

The only recipes in the classical Western tradition that begin with killing the main ingredient,  as far as I know, are recipes for lobster. In Angola, on the other hand, the author, knowing his or her readership, felt that the process needed to start with an execution. In the West, we prefer to buy our main protein wrapped and sealed, for the most part, and tend to try to forget how the meat got to the supermarket or the butcher's shop in the first place. The Angolan recipe is a sharp and valuable reminder of where the food on our plate originates.

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