Growing up, I had a cousin, J who would always toast bits of dried crayfish and dry pepper. He would add this to palm oil and serve it over boiled yam and plantain.
I think about him and the sauce a lot. And then lately, I’ve been thinking about making a vinaigrette of it. With cane vinegar.
And that I’ve done. In it, we have all the elements I remember so well – the smoky pungent crayfish, the kick of dried hot chilies and surprisingly? Bitter from the scent leaves. I was shocked that instead of the herby, citrusy flavours I expected bitter was what arrived. Still, it lends some dimension to the mix.
And yes, when all’s said and done, toasted and mixed in, seasoned, thinned with vinegar…and tasted, you get the mix of flavours. The heat, the sour from the vinegar comes as a shock too, it doesn’t hit you till the end…that slight fire at the back of your throat.
- 1 teaspoon dried ground crayfish
- Palm oil
- Scent leaves, hand rubbed till shredded
- Coarsely crushed chilli pepper
- 1/2 cup palm wine vinegar
- In a pan, toast crayfish and salt till you begin to smell the pungent, fishy smells
- On low heat, add palm oil and let 'melt'
- Add the scent leaves, salt and pepper
- Taste and adjust accordingly
- Whisk in palm wine vinegar
- Pour in a jar with a lid
- Once cool, cover and shake well till emulsified
- Enjoy how you desire