All posts filed under: Madagascar

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Monday Meal Review: Madagascar

THE SCENE I click through my email, waiting for the smoke. The burning. Before long, I’m elbows deep in an email from a woman who just started reading our blog. She asks “Do you ever not like the food of a particular country? Do you ever get tired of cooking food from other places?” I sit back, thinking… not because I don’t know the answer, but to mull over – to savor – the hundreds of dishes we’ve eaten over the last two years (I started this blog in February 2010). So many wonderful meals. So much goodness in the world. So much I could have never imagined until I began eating my way around the world. My tummy growls and I glance at the clock. Oops! I say to Malky, the cat, and pop up to give the rice a stir. A nutty, toasted smell fills the kitchen. Looking good. A moment later I am back at my computer. “Nope.” I write the woman, “Every week is like a gift, waiting to be unwrapped. Even …

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Madagascar Chicken | Akoho sy Sakamalao

There are times when I need a little bit of sunshine. A smattering of happy. A bouquet of deliciousness. Today I found exactly what I was looking for in this Malagasy chicken. One of the most unusual things about the food of Madagascar is how much it pulls from different traditions. In today’s chicken dish, we see traces of mainland Africa, Asia and Polynesia. The coconut oil gives the chicken just a hint of Polynesian tradition, while the garlic, and ginger play into Asian flavors. Finally, the lemon rind gives a fresh, yet slightly bitter flavor, reminiscent of north African cooking. Serves 4 Ingredients: 4 whole chicken legs (thighs included) 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 inch ginger, grated 1 lemon, zested 1 pepper, sliced 1 onion, sliced 1/3 cup coconut oil Method: Next time you’re looking for a blast of sunshine, like the Lemurs in Madagascar… … simply zest a sunny lemon, grate the ginger and crush the garlic… Rub all over the chicken legs, cover, refrigerate, and let marinate for at least 2 hours, …

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Vanilla Bean n’ Tropical Fruit

Vanilla beans might as well be jewels. The insides are full of teeny, tiny black caviar – the likes of which I can’t help but want all over my ice cream and baked goods… I even like to dab vanilla extract on my wrists when baking. Suffice it to say, I’m a fan. Now, imagine yourself in a country like Madagascar, where there are enough vanilla beans to pave the streets. There, thanks to such quantity, the people use vanilla bean caviar much more whimsically than I can ($8 per bean, anyone?). Even just this little bit easily perfumes my entire home… Can you imagine how intoxicating the air must smell in Madagascar, where clumps of vanilla beans hang heavy in the humid air? So what about today’s fun recipe? Well, we’re following the Malagasy style, and using the bean used in it’s most pure form, tossed with fresh, tropical fruit. The juices become infused with the most amazing, haunting vanilla flavor. While I thought I was going to make a mixed fruit salad (hello, did …

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Burnt Rice Tea | Ranovola

I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but here we are: I’m going to show you how to burn rice. It’s for a perfectly good cause: a cool, refreshing glass of ranovola, or burnt rice tea. This toasty-tasting drink is popular in Madagascar, where the bottom of the rice pot is reserved to flavor the local river water. It’s super easy to do, as long as you don’t burn the rice too fast. You have to do it just right. Ahem. Start with a cup of cooked rice spread on the bottom of a saucepan. Heat over medium until it begins to smell toasty. Continue scraping and turning the rice… Until the whole mess rattles and clacks as you move it, like a cup of popcorn kernels. Lower the heat as you go, being sure not to send plumes of smoke throughout your house. (To be honest, it’s really more toasted than burned) And here you have it: perfectly “burned” rice: Add on plenty of hot water and let steep until cooled. Meanwhile, go lounge in the …

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Menu: Madagascar

Today I sit at the dining table, the door open and a breeze coming it. Its 70 degrees. I shut my eyes and imagine I’m sitting on a beach in Madagascar – overlooking the wide, blue ocean. The last weeks have been busy. I did four interviews in half as many days, including one with Parenting Magazine.  I spoke on KRMG all about the Chinese New Year. Today and tomorrow I will be speaking at Rosa Parks Elementary School about bringing the world together around a Global Table. On Friday I’ll be filmed by the Oklahoma Center for Community Justice for a special presentation on food culture. And somehow, in the midst of all this I have had a sick toddler who I can’t seem to make better with extra hugs and kisses. All this and I’m hungry. Really hungry. Madagascar Chicken (Akoho sy Sakamalao) [Recipe] Chicken slowly simmered in aromatic ginger, garlic and lemon zest, surrounded with sweet peppers and onion. The secret? Beautiful coconut oil gives this chicken tropical flavor. Burnt Rice Tea (Ranovola) [Recipe] The …

A lake at Sambava, Madagascar. Photo by WRI Staff.

About the food of Madagascar

Watching Andrew Zimmern‘s Bizzare Foods episode on Madagascar, I was amazed by some of the shocking foods he ate. On this island nation roughly the size of Texas, you can find everything on the dinner platter from bugs to – get ready for it – circumcision ceremony remnants. Ahem. I’m not going to clarify that one. (Remember, I’m here to bring us together over simple foods, not shocking foods, so we won’t be going down any of those roads. I will say, however, if you get a chance and are curious, Zimmern never disappoints when it comes to the Bizarre). Even though Madagascar is about as remote as it gets – 200 miles away from Africa and populated with plants and animals that have continued to evolve on their own for thousands of years – there are some things you’ll recognize. For starters there’s rice – a staple from which nothing goes to waste. Even the scrapings off the bottom of the rice pot are burned until toasty, then mixed with water to make “Burnt …