Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Nuggets in Botswana

Ana and Mia both love chicken nuggets.  But here isn’t a McDonalds in the whole country and the KFC is all the way down in Gaborone... what’s a mom to do?  Here’s our recipe for chicken nuggets in our village:

  • Catch chicken--preferably the one that woke you up this morning.  Koekoes says, “the only good chicken is a cooked chicken!” 
  • Twist chicken’s neck
  • Pluck chicken’s feathers using boiling hot water

    • Butcher chicken, carefully removing all meat from the bones--including thigh and drumstick meat
    • Simmer carcass with desired seasonings to make soup or a yummy curry stew.  Cool and clean carcass, keeping the little pieces of meat.  Give carcass to the dog.  (Yes, I know you are not supposed to give chicken bones to a dog, but don’t tell that to our dog, Preto.  As Koekoes says, “he is a missionary dog--he eats everything and anything we can feed him!”)
    • Slice bread or rolls and lay them in a single layer on a tray outside to dry. Preferably, do this earlier in the day.  Remember how hot it is?  and that this is a desert?--it doesn’t take long to dry out the bread.  Cover the bread with a light cloth lest the crows think you are feeding them.
    • When bread is dry, create crumbs in the food processor (yes! we have one here!)
    • Roll chicken pieces into seasoned flour, then into egg and milk bath, then into the bread crumbs.
    • Drop breaded pieces into hot oil and fry on both sides.
    • Serve with tomato (tom-AH-toe) sauce and a side of mangos.  
    • For a complete dinner, peel potatoes, slice into wedges and deep fry for a serving of “chips.” 
    Okay, truth is we actually start at step 4.  When I was growing up in Nigeria, we had to start at step 1, and help the steward catch and pluck the chicken, but times have changed.  We have a small grocery store in Mochudi that sells whole chickens already dead and plucked.  But there are no convenient boneless breast packages like I usually find at Safeway or King Soopers in Denver, so I’m learning to butcher the whole chicken.  It is time-consuming and messy, but the girls love the nuggets, so it is worth the work.
    And here it is--late at night and I’m still writing because it is hard to sleep when the chickens have their clocks so messed up.  They are crowing at the top of their lungs and it is NOT morning--it’s not even midnight.  If I could only catch one of them tomorrow...yummy nuggets coming right up!

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