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Fatima- La Viande Fumee

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

La Viande Fumee

Congolese Smoked Meat (Ntaba)

Collection/Delivery, N1


When I say Congo, what comes to mind?Maybe you’re thinking of the unforgettable rumble in the jungle. Maybe you’re looking down at your phone and thinking of a country rich in mineral resources. Maybe your mind is journeying down the infamous Congo River in fear of Colonel Kurtz. But, you're probably lost when it comes to this central african nation’s history, culture, and food. Forget what you think you know. Let Fatima of La Viande Fumee guide you through her homeland and give you a taste of Congo through one of its lesser known exports, ntaba! This smoked meat is a common street food in Congo and has become a sought after dish here in London. On Episode 6 of This Food Bangz, Fatima gives us a look at how ntaba is prepared and shares with us sobering memories of her childhood in Northeast Congo during the First and Second Congo Wars. La Viande Fumee, which translates to smoked meat, is Fatima’s catering business, based in Angel, a community on the Northern edge of Central London. Her business has taken off in recent months. We’ve had the ntaba, our friends have had the ntaba, and we thought it was about time this food was showcased. On our visit to Fatima’s kitchen, she cooked us up a table full of Congolese street food. Let’s go through each dish.

First up, we have mikate, known as puff puff in Nigeria and bufrot/buflot in Ghana, this typical snack food goes by many names and is found across West Africa. It is a fried sweet bread, what we might call a doughnut or a donut hole here in the UK and USA. Some mikate recipes call for a little cinnamon, ground nutmeg, or clove, but most people keep their batter simple. It is a seemingly easy dish to make, but it is hard to get just right. Fatima’s mikate were light and airy. They banged! Slap some peanut butter on there and Mmmm!

Next up, we had dindon fume, smoked turkey in a peanut butter sauce! This was a treat. Sautéed with peppers and onions and stewed in peanut butter, the turkey was tender and the smoked meat was complimented well by the sweet warm flavours coming through the sauce.

Lastly, the star of the table was the ntaba. Fatima explained, traditionally, you would find people smoking goat meat atop metal drums along the roadside in Congo. She does it a little differently. She bought herself a smoker and uses applewood to smoke an array of meats—goat, lamb, and chicken. We were lucky enough to try the lamb, seasoned with pili pili, a chili powder that definitely adds a kick to each bite. After 3 hours on the smoker, Fatima plated the ntaba with sliced onions and boiled cassava and a side of grilled corn. As Eli’s 2 year old nephew says, OH MAH GODT! The fat on the lamb was out of this world. It was the best part. I can’t lie. Fatima made a pili pili sauce to accompany the ntaba, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the Congolese Fanta…the pili pili was spicy but we kept going in for more.

Final verdict, if you can’t tell already, the food bangz at La Viande Fumee.

As Eli sat down with Fatima, we got to know more about the person behind the smoker. Fatima told us of her coming of age in Goma, a city in Northeast Congo which borders Rwanda. She shared her love for the region and its people and memories of better times. Her city saw the horrors of the Rwandan genocide and the effects of the First and Second Congo Wars, and Fatima experienced them first-hand. On episode 6, we hear how Fatima was able to leave the Congo and make a life for herself here in the UK. This is a sobering episode. And a joyful episode. We thank Fatima for sharing her food and her journey with us.

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