BBC Good Food Magazine
Big Zuu’s Big Eats TRY IT YOURSELF Akara (African doughnuts)
Editor Keith Kendrick finds inspiration for leftovers and more in a new cookbook from the Dave channel’s rising star
Feeding my teenagers is a continual process of appeasing their appetites and preferences. One week they’re locusting their way through a couple of loaves each; the next they’ve moved on to other foodstuffs, leaving me to come up with creative ways to use up stale bread (our leftovers feature on page 80 is great inspiration for this). The latest victim of their fickleness is bananas. I’d buy three bunches a week; now I watch in despair as said bananas change from green to yellow to mottled to black, like a time-lapse horror movie. I hate food waste more than anything – and our kids have tired of banana bread.
So thank goodness for Big Zuu’s Big Eats, a new BBC Books title from the rapper, songwriter and TV star – real name Zuhair Hassan. The book features recipes from his successful cookery show on the Dave channel, which he co-hosts with his friends Tubsey and Hyder. It’s packed with recipes inspired by his mum, Isatu Hamzie, who fled war-torn Sierra Leone in 1995, aged 26. But it also has twists on dishes from around the world, including the Middle East, the Caribbean and the Med. Some of my favourites are jollof rice balls with scotch bonnet sauce and Jamaican pepper shrimp.
But back to those ripe bananas – ideal for using in Big Zuu’s mum’s recipe for akara. They’re easy to make – just mash with rice flour, fry and dust with sugar – and super-sweet to eat. Light and fluffy: this is finger food at its finest. And a perfect way to get my teenagers excited about bananas again.
MAKES 12 PREP 15 mins plus 1 hr
resting COOK 20 mins EASY V
4 medium ripe bananas (about 350g), mashed
130g rice flour
1.5 litres vegetable oil (if using a deep-fat fryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the oil), plus 1 tbsp 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp grated nutmeg, plus extra
1 tsp tomato purée
3 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra
for dusting 1 Mash the bananas in a bowl with the rice flour, then mix with the 1 tbsp vegetable oil, baking powder, nutmeg, tomato purée, a pinch of salt, the caster sugar and 80ml water. Leave to stand for 1 hr.
2 Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 160C or in a deep saucepan over a low-medium heat, ensuring it’s no more than two-thirds full. Lower golfball-sized scoops of batter into the hot oil. Fry for 4-5 mins until golden brown, then lift out using a slotted spoon and leave to drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Dust with extra sugar and nutmeg.
GOOD TO KNOW vegan PER SERVING 119 kcals • fat 4g • saturates 0.3g • carbs 19g • sugars 10g • fibre 1g • protein 1g • salt 0.1g