In East Africa, on the Indian Ocean, Tanzania and its name were created in 1964 by combining Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Here evidence of a human presence, or at least an earlier member of the Hominidae family, date back two million years.
Two thousand years ago the Haya people living in this area built a type of blast furnace for turning iron and carbon into steel. In the nineteenth century, Zanzibar became an Arab-controlled slave center.
Famous for its wildlife, its art, and its music, Tanzania is not famous for its cuisine. The usual dish is grilled meat, often with a curry sauce. There is a considerable Indian influence, and with mangoes, coconuts, ducks, and curry, we were able to put together a very good Tanzanian meal, including one of the best soups we’ve made. Even [my daughter] Talia loved this one. Perhaps that’s because it is really more a vegetarian stew than a soup. If you use dried beans, they must soak overnight.
Coconut soup 2 cups dried red kidney beans
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons mild Madras curry powder
large pinch of salt, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
6 turns of black pepper
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
6 cardamom seeds
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup rice
Soak the kidney beans the night before. In a large pot, sauté the onion in peanut oil. Add the curry powder, the pinch of salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and tomatoes.
Add all the water from one fresh coconut, the cardamom seeds, the rest of the salt, the coconut milk, and the chicken stock.
Cook until it comes to a boil, add the rice, and continue boiling for 10 minutes or until the rice is done. Serve with grated fresh coconut on top.
Duck main course
This dish is served in the old capital of Dar es Salaam, which means “harbor of peace” in Arabic. To make it, you should find a young duck that is not too fat and weighs about six pounds cleaned. 1 6-pound duck
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
6 cardamom seeds
2 generous pinches of salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon cayenne or other hot red pepper powder
2–3 cups chicken stock
Cut the duck in quarters. Brown each piece on all sides in peanut oil. Add the onion, tomatoes, cardamom, salt, curry powder, and hot pepper. Add enough chicken stock to cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
Mango cashew pudding 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted cashews
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill the bottom of a baking dish with the sliced mango mixed with the lemon juice and sugar. Crush the cashews into powder with the brown sugar, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Spread this paste on top of the mangoes and bake for 30 minutes.
Mango orange juice 4 oranges
3 pints mango juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Shot of rum (optional)
Add the zest of one orange to the mango juice and the juice of four oranges. Add sugar to taste and pour over ice. A shot of rum makes it nice for the grown-ups. Enjoyed these recipes? International Night includes recipes for 51 other international meals (starter, main course, dessert and a drink) - including dishes from French Guiana, Senegal, Japan, Romania and Saudi Arabia... Get your copy here.
Main image: Man opening a coconut, Zanzibar (Shutterstock)