What would it be like to travel to Tanzania? I’ve oddly often felt kind of reluctant to the idea of traveling to Africa, but for no reason I think that traveling to Tanzania could be something I’d be doing someday. The country seems to have pretty amazing decors, varying from infinite lands with a rich wildlife and the Mount Kilimandjaro often in the background, to stunning white sand beaches in Zanzibar and on the continental coastline. Maybe it’s also because two of my closest friends have been there on vacation and have come back absolutely delighted, I guess that helps to build a certain trust too.
Tanzania is a large country. Its culture cannot just be narrowed down to just one recipe, one landscape, one category of people or one type of touristic vacation, but as it is the first time I materialize my interest for the country, I’ll try my best to honor it the best way I can.
Now that I have done a bit of research about Tanzania and what I could be doing during daytime if I were going on a trip there, I could totally picture myself wandering the streets of the capital Dar-es-Salaam and make a happy dinner out of BBQ Mishkaki outdoors (chicken and beef skewers with local spices and grilled vegetables), or enjoy an amazing day in clear blue waters in the bay of Zanzibar island and have the freshest grilled fish for a light lunch on the white sand beach. Here is a picture of Mishkaki taken by the food blogger Mark Wiens at Migrationology. His blog is pretty inspiring and all the foods always look yummy! I thought it would be nice to show one of his pictures as we rarely find nice pics of meat dishes from Tanzania on the web, and I just love the colors on this one. Besides, Mark’s blog has got to be known, in my opinion. But for now, let’s get back to my kitchen, my recipe and my concept of traveling on a plate. I’m drastically in big need of a vacation, and tonight’s dinner might do the trick to virtually fly me far far far away!
For today’s recipe and my World Food Challenge, I’d like to shoot in between the meat delicacies of the capital city and the fish from the island. I have to say that this world food challenge has been full of tasty surprises, the spices combination that I’ve made must have turned out just right because I did feel like I traveled to Africa tonight. I picked a dish of seafood that is very popular in Tanzania, although it naturally is cooked more often along the coastal regions of the country rather than in the in-lander parts. The dish is called Kamba in Coconut Sauce, which translates into Spicy Prawns in Coconut and Lime Sauce. The spices reveal a strong influence of both the Indian and the Persian cuisines, so do the chilies, even though Tanzanian cuisine always has had a well known history with flavorsome dishes long before the spices commerce started in the area. Although Kamba contains potatoes and is usually served over white rice, I chose to make a lighter version without the potatoes, and to serve it over another national specialty dish, the Kabeji ya Kukaanga – aka Tanzanian Stir-Fried Cabbage, to make it very healthy. Kabeji is usually served on the side, but I thought the combination of the Prawns and the Cabbage with their respective sauces would be a nice idea, and it did prove very nice! Both sauces have the same base of ingredients, so it matched perfectly. Yay!
To ease the cooking process of this recipe, it is essential to prepare all the raw ingredients before the fire goes up on your stove. It is better to start with the Cabbage recipe and move on to the Prawns preparation. One last detail before we get started with the recipe: normally we would use regular white cabbage for the Stir-fry and stop the cooking before it looses its crunchiness; as the only cabbage I had on hand tonight was Chinese cabbage and I knew it could get soggy and loose all of its water at once when it’s being cooked, I’ve chopped it and kept it raw (uncooked) in a bowl, before I combined it at last with the warm sauce specially made for Kabeji. Allow me to confirm that it was a great move, and the result was very nice, given the fact that I’ve served it with the warm Prawns and Coconut sauce on top of it, which added to the “cooked” feeling without turning the whole meal into an overall soft chew (which would have been terrible!). Anyway, the whole meal for our dinner was a true success and I feel very proud to have achieved an “Africa” food challenge!!
INGREDIENTS (for the Cabbage)
- 2 portions of cabbage to fill 2 large individual bowls, julienne cut
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp of ginger powder
- 1 tbsp of curcuma
- 2 tsp of tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1,5 tbsp of neutral oil
- 1 tbsp of lime juice
INGREDIENTS (for the Prawns)
- about 200 grams of prawns, shelled (or you have to shell them)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, julienne cut
- 1 hot green chili, sliced in little circles
- 1/2 lime juice
- 1,5 tbsp of oil
- 2 tbsp of soft yellow curry paste
- 1 tbsp of curcuma
- 1 tomato, cut into salad pieces
- 200 ml of coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of ground coriander
- First, cut the cabbage into julienne. If you used Chinese cabbage, put it aside in individual serving bowls.
- Heat oil in the pan or the wok , sauté the onion, then the garlic. When they start to brown, add ginger, curcuma and the tomato paste with a bit of water. Stir in for one minute.
- Add salt and lime juice.
- If you used regular white cabbage, add it now in the wok and stir to combine to the sauce for one or two minutes, keeping it crunchy. If you used Chinese cabbage, just combine the warm sauce directly in the serving bowls.
- Now for the prawns. Shell all the prawns from head to tail.
- Heat oil in the wok. Brown the onion with the garlic and hot green chili.
- After 2 minutes, add in the curry and curcuma.
- When the aromas start to pop out, add the tomato and lower the fire to the minimum for about 2 minutes.
- Turn fire back to medium heat, and throw in the prawns. Cover with the coconut milk, add the salt and bring to a soft boil.
- Lower the fire again, squeeze the lime over the dish, and finish off by sprinkling some ground coriander.
- Stir well to combine and pour onto each individual serving bowl filled with cabbage while the coconut milk is still warm.
Now if you want some more recipes that make you travel the world, check out the other posts on my blog and please visit my Cookbook’s page – click here. Bon appétit!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.