All posts filed under: Zambia

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Monday Meal Review: Zambia

Between Zambia and Zimbabwe lies the stunning chasm of mist and water called Victoria Falls. The water flows through both countries like some stealthy border walker, never fixed to one particular country. Never tied down. In this poetic space, where rapids, danger, and sparkling, spraying joy all tumble together, I see meaning for our own little cooking adventure. I’m on one side of the end, metaphorically sitting in Zambia, looking at Zimbabwe. Wondering what comes next. I’m so close to reaching my goal of eating every country in the world. So. Close. And yet, the “end” feels so, so, so far away. Almost unattainable. By this, I don’t really mean the cooking . Cooking one more country will be easy. I know how to research recipes. I know how to cook them. Sure, I make mistakes from time to time, but after four years, the process feels like breathing. No. It’s something else that feels far away, that feels unattainable. Perhaps it’s that I don’t know how to reach a goal of this magnitude. Not …

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Mealie Bread with Blackened Chilies

If you ask my husband, there’s always room for cornbread. And he’ll eat twice as much cornbread if green chilies dot through the crumb. But what would he think if the cornbread came from half a world away? If it came from Zambia? As a former “Mr Picky” he says: Mealie Bread is a good way to bridge the gap for picky eaters to try something from another culture.” The cornbread in Zambia is much like the cornbread in the USA – except it is made with fresh corn kernels instead of cornmeal. This makes the flavor come alive. Zambians call it mealie bread (mealie is just another name for corn; mealie bread is popular all over southern Africa). The result is moist (bordering on juicy), naturally sweet, and great on the side of any autumn stew (such as Zambia’s Spiced Tilapian Stew). If  you’re lucky enough to slice into the mealie bread while it’s still hot? Well… forget about having leftovers. So why stud the mealie bread with chilies? Because Zambians love chili peppers.  Chilies are available in the …

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Zambia’s Spiced Tilapia Stew

  “Leading a race does not mean that you will win it.” Zambian Proverb It’s a chilly, wintery, blustery sort of day. Even the trees shudder, their leaves falling down in chatterings. Thankfully, Zambia makes quick work of dissipating the cold, with this Spiced Tilapia Stew.  Each bite pops with fresh lime juice, tomatoes, and Napa cabbage. A dusting of cumin, mustard seeds, fresh ginger and garlic give the broth depth. But it’s the Thai Bird chilies that’ll clear your sinuses.  Even just one in the pot promises a mellow tingle in every spoonful.   This is another kind of DIY soup, because of the garnishes. Children will especially enjoy squeezing lime juice on their soup and sprinkling their bowl with parsley.  Adults will enjoy seeing how many Thai Bird chili peppers they can handle. My husband added an entire sliced chili to his bowl; though he was sniffling and coughing from the heat, he then proceeded to add more. A note on the Tilapia: traditional Zambian stews often use dried tilapia. We’ve used fresh because …

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Fish market stall on Great East Road at the Luangwa Bridge, Zambia by Hans Hillewaert

Menu: Zambia

  “Talk to a person who can understand and cook for a person who can be satisfied.” Zambian Proverb I’m in the final phases of writing my memoir. By the end of November, the manuscript will be sent off to National Geographic to do their magic. At that point, they’ll work on final edits, layout, and publicity. And then, boom, next year there will be a book. My book. It’s the story of my search for food, family, and home – and I can’t wait to share it with you. But right now, I’m in crunch time and the Zambian proverb above really spoke to me because, with my book, I’ll be talking to you and cooking for you. I’ll be telling you the story of my life, and the recipes that carried me through troubling times.  Hopefully, as the proverb reads, you’ll understand and be satisfied! These recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Spiced Tilapia Stew [Recipe] Typically made with dried tilapia, our version uses more readily available fresh fish, …

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South Luangwa National Park, Zambia by Joachim Huber

About the food of Zambia

While you’ll find caterpillars and grasshoppers on the menu on the tropical plateaus of Zambia, maize (a.k.a. sweet corn) is far more common. This southern African nation will enjoy maize as a stiff porridge called nshima, in a beer called chibuku, and in sweet loafs (similar to our cornbread, but made with fresh corn [Recipe]). Like many African countries, the groundnut (a.k.a. peanut) is beloved, especially when stirred into stewed greens. Peanut oil is also preferred by many Zambian families, as for when they fry up a batch of sliced plantains. There’s also the peanut sausage. According to the World Cookbook for Students: A vegetarian “sausage” named after the wild orchid tubers called chinaka or chikanda (depending on the ethic group) used to gel them. Amazing. Fishing has a big influence on the diet of Zambians who live near the many lakes, and it is often salted and dried for preservation or travel over long distances. The salted fish is later used in stews and soups, perhaps with a few onions and tomatoes [Recipe]. Much of the population …

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