Cote d'Ivoire

Cuisine Around the World

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Demographics

97.2% of the population are ethnic Africans. The country used to be very wealthy (1960s-1970s) due to the country's warm and humid climate being perfect for the cultivation of coffee beans. An economic crash in the 1980s led to a decline in growth of the nation's GDP and to this day 42% of the citizens live below the poverty line.

Culture

The music of the Ivory Coast is mainly polyphonistic, which is characterized by multiple voices accompanied by drums. The main cultural attraction however is a sport, soccer (football). The team is known as "Lés Elefantes" and they have made the past two world cups, however they have been unable to advance past the opening round.
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Politics

The Ivory Coast was a French colony until after WWI, when imperialistic policies of the world powers began to crumble. The country lived in relative prosperity under a democratic government until the 1980s, when multiple coups resulted in a government lead by a strong executive.

1999 Coup D'etat (Historical Event)

The current president Bedide ostracized many of his opponents and his administration reeked of corruption. In 1999, a man by the name of Robert Guéî lead a military coup against the Bedide administration, and after weeks of fighting, prevailed. Many historians consider this beneficial for the country, as the Guéî administration pushed for less wastefulness in the Ivory Coast.

Famous Person

Yaya Toure- Soccer Player

As noted earlier, soccer is the grand spectacle in Ivory Coast, and therefore its most recognizable name is a "footballer". Yaya is the captain of the Ivory Coast National Team and plays professionally for the renowned Manchester City in the EPL.

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Tourism

There is hardly ANY tourism to the Ivory Coast, as the nation is riddled with poverty and most importantly, disease. Tourists would require extensive vaccinations, most notably the yellow fever. Visas are rarely given to Ivory Coast.

Exports

The Ivory Coast has, for the region, a relatively high income per capita (USD 1014.4 in 2013) and plays a key role in transit trade for neighboring, landlocked countries. The country is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, constituting 40 percent of the monetary union’s total GDP. The country is the world's largest exporter of Cocoa Beans and the fourth largest exporter of goods, in general, in sub-Saharan Africa (following South Africa, Nigeria and Angola).In 2009, the cocoa bean farmers earned $2.53 billion for cocoa exports and is expected to produce 630,000 metric tons in 2013. According to The Hershey Company, the price of cocoa beans are expected to rise dramatically in upcoming years. The Ivory Coast also has 100,000 rubber farmers which earned a total of $105 million in 2012.

Culinary

Ivory Coast cuisine is similar to that of its Western African neighbors, one based around tubers, grains, chicken, and seafood, while also utilizing many spices. The main "crop" however is the cocoa bean. The Ivory Coast not surprisingly has a coastline, and therefore the fishing industry plays a major role in the economy. One popular dish of the Ivory Coast is Kedjenou, a spicy stew of chicken and occasionally fish.
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Recipe for Kedjenou

  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 to 3 pounds
  • Eggplant, peeled and cubed -- 1 large
  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2 or 3
  • Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
  • Hot chile peppers, chopped -- 2 or 3
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
  • Ginger, minced -- 1 tablespoon
  • Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Salt and pepper -- to season

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Add all the ingredients to a large oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the pot with one or two layers of aluminum foil and place the lid on top of the foil.
  2. Place the pot in the oven and bake for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the pot from the oven occasionally and shake it to keep the chicken from sticking.
  3. Remove the pot from the oven. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Serve hot with couscous, attiéké (see note), rice or boiled yams.

KEDJENOU VARIATIONS

  • Kedjenou can also be cooked on the stovetop. Bring the ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You will need to shake it a little more often than the oven-baked version to keep it from sticking.
  • Lower-fat Version: Remove the skin from the chicken and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of peanut oil.
  • Some (mostly French) recipes call for first browning the chicken in peanut oil and sauteing the onions. While this adds flavor to the dish, it is not strictly authentic.
  • You can add 1/2 cup water or chicken stock to the pot at the beginning if it looks way too dry. The tomatoes should give off enough liquid though that this shouldn't be necessary.

NOTES

  • Attiéké is a couscous-like side dish made from grated and fermented cassava. Instant boxed versions can be found in many Middle Eastern or African ethnic markets.