Being nourished with a mishmash of Indian, #African and British food has all my life, allowed me to connect and experiment with the culinary cultures of all these cuisines. In other words, I’ve been spoilt and have loved every minute of it. Hell, I’ve been rabbiting on about it to you all since 2009.
For my generation, it feels like the Indian influence on East African cooking is a hush-hush camp, with recipes hidden away inside the spirits of expat grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles. As sad as it may sound, I’m a 23-year old girl worried that Zanzibar Trail Mix, Malindi Halwa and Ugandan Kasodi will one day be forgotten by my Indo-Chinese-obsessed peers – and that’s deep, bro.
In the name of doing my bit to preserve the East African cuisine my family are so proud of, I’d like to introduce you to Vitumbua. These Tanzanian rice flour doughnuts are a favourite of my saintly Bapu, Gunwantrai Modha and I completely understand why. Born in Tanzania, my dad his brothers think of these dishes as fuel food – they’re good for the soul and all that.
Vitumbua should be golden and crunchy on the outside and like a delicate morsel of cardamom-scented cloud on the inside. The batter is made with coconut milk which makes these cakey baked doughnuts pure white and melt-in-the-mouth.
If you have a Vitumbua or Appam pan, please use one. I don’t (shock, horror) so a cupcake tin is a great substitute. Being a Yorkshire lass at heart, I faked it and made my Vitumbua in the same way I’d make my Eggless Yorkshire puddings. I guess you could say Vitumbua cooked in this way are neither nowt nor summat, but they’re damn delicious all the same.
RECIPE OF THE DAY: Kokoro
Kokoro is a popular crunchy snack with Western Nigerian origins. It is not unusual to find street hawkers carrying this tasty snack around in trays placed on their heads. There are two types of Kokoro sold in local markets with the difference being only in shape as well as a distinction on whether this African snack is spicy vs non-spicy.
RECIPE OF THE DAY: Moroccan Lamb Tangine With Asian Pears
There’s a lot happening with each bite of this Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Asian Pears! Lamb shoulder is rubbed with a spicy, herbaceous, garlic marinade and accompanied by figs, dates, Asian pears, red onions, and honey. Let’s start with the obvious; What the heck is a Tagine and why should you cook with it? A tagine is an earthenware cooking vessel with a history dating back to 9th century North Africa. Tagine also the word used to describe the food as we would say a stew or a curry.
RECIPE OF THE DAY: Ogbono Soup
Ogbono or Apon comes from the seeds from the African Mango, also called Wild or bush Mango, which is then ground into the powder used in making Ogbono Soup. The African mango seed is said to have an impressive amount of healthy fats and fiber as well as other great nutritional benefits that would make you want to eat Ogbono Soup more often than you currently do…. 🙂 I tend to use a lot of dry fish in my cooking primarily because Mum makes it and its always readily available but any meat or fish will do…. We also had fresh water leaves which mum brought from her farm (bless her!) so I used water leaves in these but you can use any green vegetables from Ugu (fluted pumpkin leaves) to spinach, kale, bitter leaves, Scent leaves or Uziza.
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