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Assumpta made three dishes the day we cooked together. They were: spinach with smoked fish, roasted chicken with a squash and bell pepper sauce, and rice with peas and green beans. 

We got this fish, which she thinks is smoked mackerel, at an African store on Cumberland Avenue called Moriah. I think smoked sardines (in a can) or smoked trout from the supermarket might work if you can't find smoked fish at an immigrant market. 

She boiled the fish to tame the flavor a bit.

She boiled the chicken first, took off the skins, then baked it with lots of garlic and seasonings.

After she cooked the fish by itself, she removed the chunks of meat from the head, skin and bones, and cooked the remaining chunks of fish in with spinach, onions, and a little water.

De-skinned chicken:

Instead of chopping her garlic, she grated it right over the pot with a grater. Love that trick!

All sorts of veggies go into a chunky sauce for the chicken: zuchinni, chayote squash, variously colored bell peppers, onion, and garlic.

Baked garlicky chicken gets topped with the chunky veggie sauce and served family style.

She said in Burundi she used whole spices - they don't have processed spice mixtures. But here, she said she found these at the Arabic store on Forest Avenue near Woodford corner. She likes using them for ipilau.

Assumpta Karire and the delicious meal she taught me. Clockwise from the top: isosi (garlic chicken with chunky vegetable sauce), ipilau (spicy rice with green beans and peas), and isafuriya (spinach with smoked fish).

Thank you Assumpta!

Photos: Lindsay Sterling.