Pictures from Senegal

Sunday, January 10

Lait Caille

I'm not sure I entirely understand what goes into lait caille, or sweet milk, but I am starting to familiarize myself with all its uses. A spoiled yogurt that's been sweetened so that people will actually eat it, this product can be sold in plastic pouches or by the tub. Its typical uses are a) frozen and later eaten like ice cream and b) poured over hot millet and eaten for dinner on Sundays.

Occasionally with the latter option, called ngallah (spelling not guaranteed), other fun items are added to the milk, such as pineapple, raisins, or coconut shavings. Ngallah is traditionally served on Easter in Catholic Senegalese households, but as my host mother says, it's easy to prepare and that's just the type of meal she wants to make on a Sunday night before a long week of work starts. Given the amount of vitamins in both millet and lait caille, not to mention the different ethnic stores in the states, I recommend everyone try to make this dish. Therefore, I submit the following website recipe for more info.

Most recently I've attempted to use lait caille to make my own version of ice cream. My family has an ice cream machine (who knows why or how) and so I spent a day researching recipes, and appropriate substitutes for those recipes, in order to create the perfect mixture. Actual yogurt is an option here, but it's very expensive. Whipping cream and half and half are rumored to be in larger towns, but not actually in mine. Thus sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, lait caille, eggs, and flavoring syrups became initial attempt. I tried two flavors on my endeavour; chocolate and vanilla. Curiously, both ended up tasting very similar to Pink Berry (yum, right?) although not my intention.

In future, I'm thinking about searching trading out ingredients and trying recipes involving gelatin, real yogurt, whipping cream and other milk options if I can find them. As far as flavors goes, coconut milk is available, other flavor syrup types (strawberry, pistachio, orange, etc), and perhaps even smashing up some of my precious stash of Oreos. I'll also try to experiment with stove top cooking techniques before the freezing process. My host mother's challenge is to find a good recipe that can be made in bulk for parties (and because when don't the Senegalese share?) for a low cost of production. If I didn't know better I'd think she was a) testing me and my purchasing skills and b) looking to open an ice cream shop. Which to tell you the truth, both of those ideas sound awesome to me. If only I could find a bored entrepreneur with awesome worth ethics...

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