Sauce African

Our neighbor Laurent had a ravenous craving for Thai cuisine.  There are a few restaurants here, one run by a Thai lady, that purport to be purveyors of authentic Thai cuisine. Having eaten at 1 of these restaurants where my husband had to administer a kick below table to keep me from asking which part of Thailand the lady came from, I realized that, like most of rural France, Sens is Asian cuisine poor and proud of it 🙂  Ask M. Parret.

Still, with the right incentives, he can be convinced to eat almost anything I make in my kitchen, reserving his inalienable right to criticize any “odd” cuisine prepared on French soil.

Now Laurent’s family is originally from Armenia therefore he is not intimidated by hot chillies and doesn’t mind a little weeping and snorting 😀  Unfortunately, the hottest chillies I could find were chillies for toddlers, even when you cook them with the seeds 🙁 Fortunately, for the last 12-15 years Sens has been “colorized” by an increasing flood of West Africans and other Africans from Paris.  I think housing is a lot cheaper here and there are multiple 1 hour trains into Paris for work.  Lucky for me because I was able to find some very serious West African chilli sauce a la Abdoulaye.   Sauce African 🙂

The barely suppressed sneer on Le Parret’s face when I told him we were having frog legs as an entree!  I thought he’d be happy.  Heck, they’re as much a delicacy in France as escargots!  I found the small delicate legs at Picard, the frozen food specialty store, imported from Indonesia.  So good, simply prepared with garlic and parsley.  Of course he ate them and had seconds.  Yeah, I missed him a lot during my exile in the States, but I can’t let him have the run of the picnic table.  It’s actually on American soil but I won’t upset him with that fact.  He’s too old 😀

I made an Asian style “riz gras”  with scallions, multicolored peppers and a ham hock that my husband brought back from Germany.  Very rich, tasty and filling, if somewhat gummy said my husband accidentally  😀

This Thai stir fry of beef strips with basil was good, especially after I stirred some sauce African into my portion 😉  Although the favorite, Thai chicken and aubergine curry, was the hit of day (top picture).

Thai Chicken and Aubergine Curry

3 small aubergine, cubed


2 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp peanut oil

3 tbsp Thai curry paste

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup water

1 can bamboo shoots

Zest from 1 lime

4 medium sized hot chillies with seeds, cut into strips

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp sugar

1 small bunch basil leaves (Thai if possible)

Salt the aubergine cubes, fry in 2 tbsp of oil until lightly brown, then set aside.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and the curry paste, cooking and stirring for about 1 minute.  Add the chicken pieces and the reserved aubergine, stirring to mix.  Pour in the coconut milk and water, bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce begins to thicken.  Add the fish sauce, sugar and basil leaves, simmering for 10 minutes.

Serve with rice.













About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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9 Responses to Sauce African

  1. Nadia says:

    Chillis are very hard to find here, so I planted my own this year and just harvested my first jalapeño and cayenne peppers.

  2. What a bright and flavorful meal!

  3. Mad Dog says:

    That all looks and sounds delicious – I love frogs legs and spicy food. I bet M. Parret wakes up everyday hoping for an invite chez toi, but he has to stay patriotic and make a fuss 😉

  4. Caroline says:

    Rosemary, I chortled at you wanting to ask the Thai restaurant owner “which part of Thailand she is from”! I didn’t realize Sens is only an hour away from Paris by train…don’t recall seeing posts of your visits to Paris. Am glad you are back in France and look forward to more delicious posts. Merci!

  5. Nathalie says:

    Just wanted to say hi. I saw the title of your blog mentioned in some old comment on another blog and had to check it out… because I grew up in Sens and some of my family (mom, sister and her family) still lives there! Myself I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years and I’m not of a French cook so I’ll have to live vicariously through you. Your pictures are lovely and are making me hungry, which is bad since I’m trying to lose weight right now, ha. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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