There’s a reason why street foods are street foods. They are loved by a wide variety of people and they sell well. One of the best things you can do to your kitchen is to mimic the preparation of street foods. Today, I bring to you a melt-in-the-mouth, easy-to-make flavourful street food- Stewed Canda.
I call it Stewed Canda but I’m not even sure if there’s a proper name for it. I know we used to call it chuking canda when I was younger. This is because buyers used a fork or tooth pick to chuk (pick) the canda from the iron cast pots of the vendors who paraded the streets with the meat.
I got a request from a fan for this recipe and this brought back fond memories. Memories of when my little aunty and I will go to watch the Mount Cameroon race in Buea with a pot of canda to sell. Memories of how when chewing a slice of canda you won’t want your teeth to be laid to rest. Memories of how 100 frs was valued because with it you could purchase a plump piece of tomato sauce-marinated Canda. Memories of how the smell from Canda pots terrorised our nostrils as we walked the streets.
Imagine the joy of reliving these memories in my kitchen! This Canda is pretty easy to make if you you follow the steps keenly. Canda is the skin of beef that is usually burnt before cooking. It is also known as Ponmo in Nigeria.
To make this deliciousness, you’ll need:
2 pounds of beef skin (canda)- about 1 kg
1 cup of blended and/or tomato paste (I used crushed tomatoes from a can)
5 cloves of garlic
About an inch of ginger
1 red habanero pepper
2 small seasoning cubes (Maggi or Knorr)- preferably chicken flavor
1 medium sized onion
Salt to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Here is what you need to do.
-Prepare your Canda. I bought Canda that hadn’t been burnt so I had to process it at home, using a DIY (Do it Yourself) technique I learnt from 9jafoodie
. Cut the meat and place on a baking tray lined with foil paper. If you wish, you could remove the fleshy part in the interior but I prefer to have that in. (If you have brown already processed beef skin, please skip this stage and get to the part where you boil the meat.)
Place into a preheated oven at 350 Degrees Farenheit.
Let it stay in the oven until it gets brown. This should take about 15 minutes. It replaces the traditional method of warming the skin over flames. If your skin is meatless, it will curl up to give you that authentic Canda look. Placing it in the oven also enhances its taste as it gives it a smoky flavour.
Place the slices into a pot and put in water and bring to boil. Please put in a little water at the time and keep checking your pot because you want to have only a little water left when the meat is fully cooked.
When it starts boiling, chop part of the onions and throw in. Season with salt and chicken cubes.
Let it boil until it is really soft. Hard Canda is stressful to chew so make sure the meat is really soft- makes life so easy! By the time it is done, there should be a little stock left like in the pic below. Please note that I added water a couple of times before coming to this point. This stock is needed for the dish to be really flavourful so DON’T throw it away.
Peel garlic and ginger and put in blender with pepper and some water.
Blend into a paste.
Here is the can of crushed tomatoes from which I used a cup. If you want to make do with just fresh blended tomatoes please do so.
Heat pot, pout in oil and saute onions.
Add in tomatoes and start frying.
Fry until the tomatoes look crisp and start sticking to the pot.
Add in blended spices. Note: frying ginger and garlic in oil gives a very desirable flavour to food.
Add in Canda with its stock and stir well.
Let it simmer for about 5 minutes as you stir from time to time.
And that my friends, is the way you make the perfect Stewed Canda. If you wish, garnish with onions.
Serve it on its own as an appetizer or as a main dish with fried plantains or rice.
You should ideally cut your Canda into bite-size pieces so one piece can be eaten at a time when picked with a toothpick. I had big pieces to let my Canda look as close as possible to the street version.
Please leave a comment here if you plan on trying this out. See you in the next post!