Every so often, when browsing through the local market, I find a real gem sitting on the shelf. Sometimes that lucky find is fresh asparagus or perhaps shiny gold leggings. I have even bought a can of sardines just because the packaging was so good. But today I think I may have found the best yet:
Tag Archives: food
Any country that was once a colonial state has a rich history of tea-drinking and Mozambique is no different. The varieties offered here aren’t especially extensive, usually the basic Five-Roses variety or if you’re real fancy, then maybe you can splurge on Roibos. If you’re Mozambican, tea drinking involves 4 or 5 spoonfuls of sugar and plenty of condensed milk. By the time you’re done sprucing it up, it’s more like sugar water with a hint of color in it.
Now, coming from the Georgia you’d think that I’d have a real liking for bona fide, porch sittin’, Southern, sweet iced tea, but I never developed that taste. However, recently I decided that iced tea combines so many great factors that I enjoy, so heck – I was gonna give it another try. So this weekend, I made my first batch of peppermint iced tea and don’t you know, it’s delicious and refreshing. How did it take me so long to come around to this drink?!
Tea, be it iced or steaming hot, seems to have been on the mind quite all over the world this weekend. While I was busy brewing my pot over here, Alexi sent me her next guest-post about tea as well:
I’ve made a habit of posting images of me holding wonderfully random objects that have come into my life here; a jar of honey, a cashew fruit and nut, now this. It’s called a custard apple. I’ve also heard it be referred to as an Amazon apple and Annona fruit.
There is one blossoming tree in the compound and I’ve only been able to snag one or two before the guards get to picking them. They don’t exactly taste like apples, but they are delcious and have a great texture – somewhere between custard (appropriately) and a granular pear. Each segment has a single, hard, black, oblong, smooth seed.
(also known as Matsau ati Nhaua in the local language Xitswe)
One of my goals for this year was to learn and actually make a local dish. So, while Andrea and Lexi were visiting in March, Hamida gave us a hands on lesson on how to cook Mozambique-style. From buying bean leaves in the back of the local market to prepping fresh crabs and cracking coconuts, we participated in making the meal from market to plate.
Fejao means beans. In this case, green beans. The main ingredient to this dish is green bean leaves. Most components of this dish could probably be found or substituted with something similar in your local garden if you want to try this out. I offer substituions based on vague assumptions and not on culinary wisdom.
- large bag of fejao leaves, plus a few green beans
- crabs, 8 to 10
- onion, chopped
- coconut, freshly grated
- peanuts, about 2 cups
- Finely chop the fejao leaves and beans. Put in a small pot and cook on med. high with no added water. (Collard greens may be a good substitution since I’m not so sure the local grocer in the US will offer bean leaves). Cook down for about 20 to 30 minutes while you do the next few steps.
- Grate coconut, then “milk” it with hot water. Squeeze handfuls of the soaked coconut, drain the liquid into another bowl for “first milk”. Then add more water to the coconut, re-squeeze and drain for “second milk”. Keep coconut milk but discard grated coconut meat.
- “Pillao” the peanuts. This basically means pound into semi-fine flour. (Women here all have large wooden mortars and giant 5 foot wood pestles, they use to pound different materials into smithereens. I think a smaller mortar and pestle will work elsewhere. It just might take more time and be less impressive to watch.) Add a bit of dry rice to peanuts while pounding to absorb the peanut oil. Separate out rice after done pillao-ing (rice will be visibly unsmushed).
- Clean the crabs and take off the legs and gill bits. Boil crabs in a bit of water until pink, then take out.
- In a big pot, boil coconut milk, add pounded peanuts, stir and bring to a boil. Add crabs and chopped onion.
- Squeeze liquid out of bean leaves. Then stir into coconut crab mix.
Serve with rice or chima