Something quite different – Nigerian Garri, Zanzibar pancakes, Joloff rice or Shuku Shuku.
While Cassava is originally native to South America, it reached African shores via Portuguese traders in the sixteenth century and, for the past few centuries, has become a stable in many continental dishes. It’s a starchy root harvested from the cassava plant, a perennial crop extensively farmed. And what you can do with it is legion. If you have ever had tapioca pudding, you have eaten it. Google cassava recipes and explore Africa, from east to west, with easy to make recipes and accessible ingredients. It can taste a bit like solidified dust, so cooking it right is important.
Nigerian Garri, a cassava based dumpling, is used in countless dishes and in almost every soup.
Apart from likely being one of the most beautiful places on earth, Zanzibar’s signature delicious are Zanzibar pancakes. It’s a staple at markets and has slowly made its way onto the menus of several resorts on the island. With savoury or sweet fillings, Nutella an absolute must, this light and fluffy rice flour pancake is delicious as mains or as a dessert. A word of warning though, make a lot of them, as they are super more-ish. There are several recipes available online with ingredients readily available at most large and well-stocked supermarkets.
Sadza is pap, but with a somewhat different texture. Closer to ‘stywe pap’ as we would call it in South Africa. Traditionally made north of the Limpopo, the cooking process starts with the mielie meal and water forming a paste on a medium heat. Thereafter, water is added and cooked through until translucent, and reduced to taste. Sadza is served with greens such as spinach or relish. It’s easy to make and for an incredible journey, serve it with Muboora – a delicious pumpkin leaf dish with either tomato and onion relish or Movi, a version using peanut butter.
Sticking with starchy foodstuffs, Joloff rice, a stable in Nigeria and many other west African countries. It’s simple and easy to make, comprising of minced tomato, onion, pepper and a variety of spices. It is served on its own or, sometimes, with fried chicken, beef, or fish. There are resources aplenty for recipes and variants all over the net.
No meal is complete without dessert and, if Zanzibar pancakes are not your thing, try Shuku Shuku – Nigerian coconut balls that are so delicious you may want to skip starters, mains, and the diet. Forever. Made with coconut, sugar, egg and self-raising flour, the combination of ingredients in just the right quantities create a simple but incredible dessert. It’s baked, not fried, so one could argue some health benefit during internal discourse about a second or third helping.
Where to get the ingredients:
Ayoka Supermarket in Rivonia stocks a wide variety of Nigerian and West African delicacies and raw ingredients. Call: 081535 0995
African Basket in Midrand (www.afribaskets.com)
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