Victor Bongo - Award Winning, Celebrity Chef from the Congo | Recipes -


Featured Recipes from Victor Bongo’s New Book: Born to Cook

Food must be beautiful to look at, have an aroma which is heavenly and taste so good, your tongue cannot argue against it.

Throughout my travels around the world in the last ten years, I indulged in as much local food as possible. I became a student and learnt, so I could bring home a healthy knowledge and respect of various ethnic foods, in order to create unique dishes with an international fusion.

In this book, I present recipes for many different occasions: some are simple and quick, some are especially appealing for children, and some will wow any guest you have for dinner. I believe food brings people together and I am more than happy to bring you and your friends together over a fabulous meal! From my recipes, you may create a large dinner for a special occasion or a small tapas plate – any excuse to share, eat, talk and laugh!

In this book, I’ve shared recipes with you from all different influences – Asian, African, and some traditional French – all with my international fusion concept! Whether you’re a professional cook or experimenting at home, these recipes are great fun, and range from easy to challenging….much can be learned from these pages. After working hard to perfect these recipes, it’s my great pleasure to share them with you! I hope you enjoy the recipes in this book and have as much fun creating the dishes as I did!

-Chef Bongo

Pan Roasted Arctic Char and Prawns

with Coconut and Sweet Pea Risotto in Sake and Lemongrass Cream Sauce

Arctic Char is a member of the trout and salmon family. The first time that I had Arctic Char was up north in the Yukon. I picked it up fresh from the supplier. I was very excited and couldn’t wait to get to my kitchen and cook it. I wanted to taste the true flavour of the fish, so I just seasoned it with salt and pepper and seared it. Wow! It was one of the best fish I’ve ever eaten. Since then, every place that I’ve worked at I have managed to fit the fish somewhere into the menu. With this recipe, I wanted to showcase the beautiful flavour of this northern fish, with a refreshing drizzle of lemongrass and sake. This dish is like fireworks in your mouth.

Sake and Lemongrass Cream Sauce (see page 173)

Coconut Risotto (see page 160)

6 ​​6oz Arctic char fillets

6 Large prawns, peeled and deveined

1 T ​​Unsalted butter

2 T​​ Vegetable oil

1 t​​ Paprika

1 ​​Fresh lemon

TT ​​Salt and pepper

Serves: 6

Pairing: Pairing: Dry full bodied Napa Chardonnay – ripe apples and tropical notes with a rich buttery, toasty structure.

  1. ​Preheat oven to 400⁰F.
  2. ​​Season both sides of fish with salt, pepper and paprika.
  3. Heat up a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat.
  4. Add oil to pan and sear the fish for 30 seconds on each side. Place fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Squeeze the juice of a lemon on fish and place in oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Cook the fish until a small bit of coagulated fat comes out from the sides of the fish.
  5. In a separate frying pan on medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  6. Season the prawns with salt, pepper, and paprika. Sautee for 3 minutes, until the flesh turns pink in colour.

Plating: Arrange 6 warm plates. With a ladle, pour risotto on plate and surround it with steamed vegetables (see page 174). Place cooked fish on risotto, and top it off with cooked prawns. Drizzle sake lemongrass sauce around it and serve.

Veal Osso Buco

with Saffron Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe is the traditional way of cooking osso buco. This Italian dish is downto-earth and delicious. A beautiful dish to enjoy in the autumn season, the orange of the squash reminds me of falling maple leaves in Vancouver. Enjoy the aromas of this dish braising away while you enjoy a bottle of wine with friends.

6 8oz veal shank pieces, 3 inches thick

TT Salt and black pepper

2 cups All-purpose flour, for dredging

1/4 cup Olive oil

1 T Garlic, chopped fine

1 Carrot, peeled and diced medium

2 Celery stalks, diced medium

1 White onion, diced medium

2 cups Plum tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup Tomato paste

1 cup Dry red wine

5 Cups Beef or Veal stock (see below)

Roasted butternut squash Risotto (see below)

2 Thyme sprigs

2 Rosemary sprigs

1 Bay leaf

Serves: 6

Pairing: Dry, medium bodied, Brunello di Montalcino – complex nose, small red berries, licorice, plums, spices and pungent leather palate with fine tannins.

  1. Season the veal shanks with salt and pepper, then dredge in all-purpose flour.
  2. Preheat oven to 325⁰F.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed pan on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and
  4. sear the veal shanks on all sides until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
  5. In the same pan, add carrots, onion, and celery. Stir the vegetables, scraping bits off the bottom of the pan as you go. Cook until brown around the edges.
  6. Add the garlic, diced plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and red wine.
  7. Add the veal shanks back to the pan, along with enough of the stock to cover half of the veal. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once stock has come to a boil, put in a covered pan into oven. Let it braise for two-and-a-half hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.
  8. Once the meat is cooked, put pan on top of stove to cool down. Remove the herbs.
  9. Remove veal shanks and set aside.
  10. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh into a medium saucepan.
  11. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Skim any fat or impurities out with a spoon.
  13. Return strained vegetables to sauce and season to taste.

Plating: Ladle risotto into 6 bowls. Place veal shank on top of risotto, making sure it includes some of the vegetables and the braising liquid. Sprinkle chopped herbs on top of veal shanks and serve.

Beef or Veal Stock

5 lbs Beef, veal, or lamb bones

3 Onions, quartered

2 Carrots, roughly chopped

2 Celery stalks, roughly chopped

4 T Tomato paste

3 Fresh thyme sprigs

5 Parsley sprigs

2 Bay leaves

1 t Black peppercorns

1 t Salt

12 L Cold water

•Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Place bones in a roasting pan and roast until they are golden brown, and all of the fat has melted – approximately 1 hour. Drain excess fat and discard.

•Add onion, carrots and celery to the bones and roast until vegetables caramelize around the edges. Stir in thyme, parsley, tomato paste, salt and pepper and roast for another 30 minutes. The entire process will take about 2 hours.

•Transfer roasted bones and vegetables to a large stock pot. Add cold water, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6 to 8 hours, skimming the foam and bits off the surface regularly; this will ensure a clear stock.

•Strain stock into another pot using a large sieve lined with cheesecloth or a clean dishcloth. Discard all bones and vegetables.

If not using right away, cool the stock pot rapidly in an ice bath and then place in fridge.

Yield: 8 L

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

1 cup arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

4 cups Chicken stock

½ cup roasted butternut squash, cubed

1 pinch saffron

¼ cup Parmesan, grated

2 T unsalted butter, cold

1 lemon, zest and juice

salt and ground black pepper to taste

•Add stock to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.

•In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil and onions. Cook until transparent – about 2 minutes.

•Add rice and stir constantly until lightly toasted – about 4 to 6 minutes. Pour in white wine, and cook until completely absorbed.

•Using a ladle, add simmering stock to the rice and stir continuously until absorbed. Add the saffron. •Continue to add stock one ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked to al dente – about 20 minutes in all.

•Stir in roasted butternut squash cubes and parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest and juice.

•Season to taste. Stir in cold butter. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3 Cups