Friday, January 17, 2014

Red Palm Oil - A Cause and a Recipe

Orangutan in the wild - courtesy
of wikicommons
With the recent surge in popularity of palm oil in both natural food and personal care products, there has been a major concern of the effects on orangutans habitats from the growing and harvesting practices of the oil. In many countries forests are cut down to make way for palm oil plantations.  In places like South-East Asia these forests are the only natural habitat for orangutans.  Over the past few years the number of orangutan deaths has increased to nearly 5,000 yearly, and with only 60,000 estimated orangutans left in the world, the species is facing a very real threat of going extinct.

At Alaffia, we use red palm oil and other oils in several of our products.  However, our natural West African palm oil is grown and harvested by small-scale farmers in the Maritime region of Togo. Oil palms are native to West Africa, and have been grown as part of multi-cropped sustainable small farms for centuries. Furthermore, it is important to point out that orangutans do not exist at all in Africa.

If you have purchased some Alaffia Red Palm Oil recently, and are looking for some recipes to use it in, look no further. Below is a recipe that was recently featured in Whole Foods' online magazine Dark Rye.


Black-Eyed Peas in Red Palm Oil
Serves 10
Ingredients:
·         1 cup red palm oil
·         2 large red onions, thinly sliced
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
·         1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (omit seeds if you want less heat)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
·         1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
·         1 pound tilapia or other whitefish
·         3 large carrots, cut in ¼-inch slices
·         4 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 6 cups cooked beans
·         1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
·         2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
·         2 cups green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
·         Rice, for serving

Method:
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet (the larger the diameter the better). Add onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeños, and cook until onions are caramelized (add ½ teaspoon salt to develop flavor). Add tomato sauce and remaining ½ teaspoon salt (if desired) and cook until tomatoes are reduced. (Note: Adding a little salt at every step develops the flavor.) Add fish and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until fish is cooked through. Add carrots, cover and cook until crisp-tender. Add black-eyed peas, bell pepper, tomatoes and green beans to the pan, stir gently and thoroughly; cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked to desired consistency. Serve over rice.


For more recipes check out the latest issue of Dark Rye, and while your there please watch an amazing video taken by a team that went to Togo to see firsthand the amazing work Alaffia is doing.


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