All posts filed under: Tanzania

Recipe for Tanzanian Coconut Potato Soup

Tanzania’s Fairytale “Coconut Potato Soup” | Supu Viazi

A spoonful of Tanzania’s Coconut Potato Soup garnished with moons of buttery avocado will transport you to the windswept slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.  Never fear: The howl you’ll hear as you chow down won’t be the wind on your face, or some dangerous beast – but rather the horn of the Wakonyingo, calling for help. Wakonyingo: Fact or fiction? More than a hiker’s haven, Mount Kilimanjaro is a wellspring of legends involving the Wakonyingo pygmies. The stories fall somewhere between history and fairy tale. History reports that the Wakonyingo were an early tribe inhabiting Kilimanjaro, driven out or absorbed by invading tribes. The fairy tales report a far more interesting story – that the Wakonyingo fled beneath the mountain, where they remain today. Legends claim they are still down there, hidden from sight in a network of tunnels and caves, living a life any gnome would love. They keep their cattle with them and even grow banana trees in their earthen lairs. Ladders from their caves are said to reach the heavens. Turns out this underground lifestyle isn’t so far-fetched. The Chagga people (also Chaga), who’ve …

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Recipe for Gingered Pineapple Sundae with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Gingered Pineapple Ice Cream Sundae with Toasted Coconut

Let’s travel to Sub-Saharan Africa, where the flavors of the tropics make an ordinary ice cream sundae outstanding. Start by harvesting real vanilla beans from Madagascar to make the ice cream. Then head to Nigeria to pluck a heavy, sweet pineapple and a knob of ginger root. Nigeria is the world’s 8th largest producer of pineapple and the 4th largest producer of ginger.* Chunk up the golden fruit, then cook it with brown sugar and a whisper of the freshly grated ginger. Ten minutes on a flame will release the pineapple juices into the brown sugar, making a sticky, caramel-like sauce. Look how tall my little girl is getting… Sometime this fall she stopped using the step stool. I always knew bringing the world into our kitchen was good nourishment, but she grew an inch over the summer. <sigh> When you’re done bemoaning how fast life flies, assemble your ice cream sundae. First: Drop two fat scoops of vanilla ice cream into a shallow bowl. Second: Spoon on the hot pineapple and sauce. Work quickly to sprinkle with lightly toasted …

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Kilma'njaro, captured out the window of a flight from Dar es Salaam. Photo by Paul Schaffner.

Monday Meal Review: Tanzania

  Moving Beyond Your Breaking Point Summer sweat is a near constant, now. I haunt my house, barefoot, draped in loose flowing dresses, completely aimless thanks to this seasonal fever. It’s all I can do to stay awake when the temperatures hit the nineties and the humidity approaches 100%. Eating Tanzania in this thick sort of summer heat was just perfect. All I had to do was close my eyes, and I was there. At least, I was there on the flatlands. But I wasn’t where I really, really wanted to be. Where I really wanted to be was Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. Unlike the sizzling flatlands, Mount Kilimanjaro is covered with a perpetual blanket of snow. This epic mountain has fascinated me ever since I read about it in Michael Crichton’s book Travels. Have you read it? It is one of his least known books, but by-far my favorite because it covers Crichton’s globetrotting days. In the book, Michael Crichton attempts to climb Kilimanjaro. He approaches the mountain with all the swagger and arrogance of someone who’s …

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Greens with Veggies & Peanuts | Kisamvu

When my neighbor Jonathan told me he craves Kisamvu for weeks after his visits to Tanzania, I knew I had to try it. Kisamvu is just another word for cassava leaves, but Jonathan tells me he uses spinach whenever he’s in the states and the taste is a very good approximation. Jonathan gave me the very recipe they use at the orphanage he visited in Tanzania, called the Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children. While there, he films documentary footage to help promote the good work they JBFC does with his production company called RTC Pictures… What a fun gig! Now about that recipe… There are no exact measurements, although I did have the pleasure of watching the “Mamas” make a huge batch of kisamvu in his video footage (Mamas are the ladies in charge of the children). They do everything from build and stoke the kitchen fires (which are built under three large stones. The stones hold the pot). They also chop wood and cook the food. And the food comes straight from their gardens, moments …

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Mashed Potatoes with Veggies | Irio

  I’m a little like mashed potatoes; I’m stable and sure, but I avoid wearing colorful makeup. The last time I wore blue eye liner was the nineties, and it was already a decade too late. I’m destined to recede behind more vibrant individuals – individuals of style. But imagine what good things could come from a splash of color? The jury is out with me, but consider the mashed potato. Must she remain the unadorned, pale wallflower in a buffet of color? Tanzania teaches that this doesn’t have to be so… Enter the rainbow known as Irio, a Kikuyu dish found in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Irio simply means “mashed” – a concoction of whatever tubers and vegetables the cook wants to pull together for an easy dinner. Most often, Irio is a combination of white potato, peas, and corn, but green beans, carrots, shredded spinach, or other veggies can also play star roles. Depending on how Irio is mixed, the mash might be sunset orange, or new leaf green.  For me, it was …

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Menu: Tanzania

“The roaring lion kills no game” Tanzanian Proverb In honor of this all-too true saying from Tanzania, we’re going all veggie this week. Truth is, I’ve been doing my fair share of ‘roaring’, which leaves me with a deficit of time for anything but quick (but fun!) dishes. Veggies fit the bill rather perfectly. In fact, our menu feels like a bulletin from Smokey the Bear, but without fires… and lots of veggies… “Thanks to Tanzania, you, too, can prevent veggie boredom!”  Whether you’re tossing corn and peas in your mashed potatoes, or stirring peanut butter and coconut milk into your leafy greens, Tanzania definitely steps up with fresh ideas for your weeknight side dishes. All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Greens with veggies & Peanuts | Kisamvu [Recipe] This vegan treat is inspired straight from the heart of Tanzania; enjoy spinach cooked with carrot, onion, pepper, and a creamy, tantalizing blend of peanut butter and coconut milk. Mashed Potatoes with Veggies | Irio [Recipe] Turn boring mashed potatoes …

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Students at Nyanzwa Primary School in Iringa region. Photo by USAID Africa Bureau.

About the food of Tanzania

A few months ago, my next door neighbor, Jonathan, told me he was going to Tanzania to shoot documentary footage at an orphanage in Tanzania. “Your going to Tanzania?!” I exclaimed, thrilled with the serendipity of the situation, “Tell me all about the food – what do the children eat?” Over the next several minutes, he enthusiastically described the food of this east African country, possibly most well-known for the breathtaking peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. (Incidentally, if you ever get the chance to read the autobiographical book Travels, by Michael Crichton, you’ll find a wonderful passage about his hike to the summit of this great mountain). He said, while the food itself is simple, even outside of the orphanage, it remains utterly craveable. There’s an old Tanzanian saying that states “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” And so it is with the food. Even when there is a little, if it is good and the supply keeps coming, it fills the heart and belly to capacity. The first food Jonathan mentioned was ugali, the white …

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