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The Fourth Round Of Miss Africa Bangalore Is A Barbecue... And It's Just Smoking Hot

The Fourth Round Of Miss Africa Bangalore Is A Barbecue... And It's Just Smoking Hot

Well done, and rare... there was not a medium in sight.

I was recently introduced to the very interesting Miss Africa event held in Bangalore. The fourth prime (round) of the pageant is a barbecue. And why not? Africans love their meat grilled. So much so that South-African Braai is now a synonym for barbeque in most English dictionaries.

The poster of the fourth round of Miss Africa reminded me of the first African barbecue party I had attended about a year before on a roof top New Bairathi Cross. You see, Bangalore is home to a large number of African students, and so these parties are quite common. They serve as a mixer for them, to come, unwind, and enjoy food the way only Africa makes it.

Eloges Kabwe, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo had invited me at 6pm. I was there on the dot, not knowing that in Congolese, 6 means 9. Eloges was surprised by how punctual I was, which is not the norm as per 'African Time' (not Indian either). I was the laughing stock at the party - the guy who comes early. I had a two hour wait till the party started started - in other words till he arrived.

Related: Miss Africa Bangalore Helps The African Student Community Celebrate Their Culture

The highlight of this incident was I had the opportunity to watch them prepare some of the most celebrated barbecue meat dishes of Africa. There were five girls moving briskly, helping each other, taking charge of different aspects of the preparation for the party. I introduced myself to Wendy Sambaba, quite frankly because she was beautiful. She was frying the sliced ripe bananas. They go really well with any barbecue dish, I was told.

On the other hand, Jenny Eanga was arranging the bricks for the barbecue. She had some green leaves (I thought they were mango leaves) that she was going to use to fumigate the chicken. When asked whether they were mango leaves, she, not hesitating to show me my place, said “no” with a smile on her face. “They are special leaves I have bought from the supermarket,” she told me, not answering my question at all. The idea of burning the leaves was to create a large amount of smoke to fumigate the chicken on the grill. I think it might have also been a tactic to shoo me away. The idea is to give chicken a special flavor by fumigating it with specific leaves. Special leaves, freely available at supermarkets, but still kept a secret…

That evening was my introduction to the African Barbecue. I tasted delicious meats, lots of different types, and of course, the fried bananas that went so well with everything. Even other fried bananas. I kid you not.

Last week, I found myself at another barbecue party – the fourth round of the pageant. This time, I was prepared. I left late. Fashionably, African-ly late. My friends Gyan and Shabari were my 'plus one' and 'plus two' for the party. Frances Odunze, one of the co-organisers, came to us and she whispered “Hey, If you want to order anything only order it through me. We have points for the number of orders we bring in”

And what was on the menu?

Beef skewers, smoked chicken, pork skewers, steaks of all kinds, banana plantains... the list went on. I had Gyan on my right side who doesn’t eat pork and Shabari on the left who doesn’t eat beef. Tricky Indian situation – how not to offend my companions. I gathered my courage and ordered beef steak succumbing to the smells all around me. We ordered grilled chicken for Gyan and Shabari.

The food was amazing. Not just to eat, but also to look at. The presentation was fantastic. Beautiful hands had a beautiful sense of aesthetics. These were beauty pageant participants organising the event, after all.

The fashion show started a little later. Slim, tall beauties brandished their long, beautiful legs on the ramp. It ended in a group dance. Gyan had his eyes fixed on a Namibian girl. He was turning his head left to right, and right to left, following her every movement with his gaze. Creepy? No, cute. He was mesmerized. 
Soon the night drew to a close, and round four of the pageant was over.
Who amongst these fine beauties would be crowned Miss Africa Bangalore on the 25th?
We'll just have to wait and see.

Recipes from the African beauties:

Cinthya from Cameroon makes Brochette Pullet (Chicken Skewers)

Ingredients: chicken cutlets cut into cubes, vegetable oil, soy sauce, ground pepper, garlic cloves, sliced onions, red peppers cut into pieces, skewers to grill the meat.

Method of preparation
In a large bowl whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce and pepper. Before adding chicken, set aside a small bowl of marinade to coat skewers when cooking. Place the chicken, garlic, onions and peppers in the sauce bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or longer if possible). Light the barbecue. Drain chicken and vegetables. Thread chicken and vegetables on skewers alternately. Lightly oil barbecue grill. Cook the skewers for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the skewers over and coat them often with marinade while cooking.

Mabintou Tangare from Mali makes Foufou (Foufou is a staple food in Most African Countries, particularly Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone)

Ingredients: cassava, yam, banana.

Method of preparation
Cassava is left outside for about 2-3 days to soften. Then it is grated, using a blender. Ferment again for another 2 days. Remove the water that has settled on top. The starchy root is mashed, pounded, (you can use rice, corn that is ground) and cooked with water, stirring vigorously into a thick, smooth consistency.
Pieces of boiled cassava, yam and banana are pounded together in a giant wooden mortar using a wooden pestle. In between blows from the pestle, the mixture is turned by hand and water gradually added till it becomes sticky. The mixture is then formed into a ball or a rounded slab and served. To be eaten with fingers.

Frances Odunze from Nigeria makes Suya (Skewered Meat)

Ingredients: ground peanut, garlic, onion powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, chicken bouillon powder, white and hot pepper, meat.

Method of preparation
In a medium bowl, mix garlic powder, onion power, smoked paprika, white pepper, cayenne pepper, hot ground pepper and bouillon. Place it on a plate, Set aside.
Peel roasted peanuts and grind in a coffee grinder with skin on, until finely crushed. Do not grind the peanuts into paste. Add the ground peanuts into spice mixture.
Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. You want to have a completely dry steak before cooking. Slice the steak into a diagonal medium thin shape,
Thread the steaks onto the skewers about 4 per skewer. Making sure the skewer is fully covered with slices of meat
Rub the steak skewer with the spice mixture on both sides. Line a roasting or baking sheet with foil paper. Place skewers on the sheet , then place on the roasting pan.
Drizzle with oil and bake on for about 12-15 minutes.

Optional -Towards the last 3 minutes of baking switch from baking to broiler setting to get a nice crisp brown on the outside.

Rauha N.H from Namibia makes Biltong

Ingredients: chicken, black pepper, coriander, salt, vinegar

Method of preparation
Meat is marinated in a vinegar solution for a few hours, then the vinegar is poured off before the meat is flavoured with salt and spices. The spice mix is sprinkled over the meat and rubbed in. Salt and pepper are optional and can be added as an extra preservative. The meat should then be left for a few hours. The excess liquid is poured off before the meat is hung to dry.

Jessy from Kenya makes Stewed Beef:

Ingredients: vegetable oil, chopped onion, beef cubes, fresh ginger grated, cloves garlic, hot paprika, curry powder, tomatoes, chopped carrots, potato.

Method of preparation
Cut onion, tomato, carrot, potato, and beef into pieces. Fry the onions in oil, add beef. Garnish with ginger, garlic, hot paprika and curry. Add the carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. Simmer in the stock. Add salt to taste. Cook until thick and pasty and l broth has reduced. Enjoy!

Laurenne Ano from Ivory Coast makes Alloco (Ivorian snack made from fried plantain)

Ingredients: 1 cup palm oil ,1 or 2 chilli peppers chopped, onion chopped, salt to taste.

Method of preparation
Cut the plantains lengthwise and then into little pieces. Pour oil into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Fry plantains until golden or reddish-brown. Remove them from the oil and set aside on a paper to absorb oil. Fry the peppers and onion. Add plantains to the mix. Add a little water, cover and simmer for several minutes. Salt to taste.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of

By Avnash Totad Rajappa
Photographs by Christian Biaie