#16 Date selected: 13/3/16 Date completed: 14/3/19
Country selected: Tanzania
Dining Selection: Cooking Own
What was on the menu:
- Chick Peas in Coconut Milk, served with rice
Taken from Extending the Table (World Community Cookbook) by Joetta Handrich Schlabach.
Sunday 13th March 2016, 9.41pm
Tanzania is on the East Coast of Africa with approx. 800kms of coastline bordering the Indian Ocean. It has the lowest point in Africa (the floor of Lake Tanganyika) and is the home of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. The country was originally formed as two separate states, Tanganyika and the Zanzibar Archipelago and the name, Tanzania, was formed from the two.
There is 16 national parks in Tanzania with approx. 38% of the country’s land area set aside in protected areas for conservation. It’s the site of the annual migration of the wildebeest across the Serengeti plain and Jane Goodall’s ongoing study of chimpanzee behaviour.
It’s also one of the poorest countries in the world and the level of poverty is very high. Approximately 68% of the population lives below the poverty line. They live on less than $1.25 a day.
Tanzania’s folklore is passed down through its strong oral traditions. Very little is written and books are often expensive and hard to come by. I hope this doesn’t impact in my ability to find appropriate recipes.
Monday 14th March 2016, 7.09pm
Researching Tanzanian recipes was relatively simple – there were plenty online to choose from. What kept popping into my mind while browsing though, was how so many Tanzanian citizens live on less than $1.25 a day. I decided that cooking something traditional on this amount probably wasn’t realistic for this challenge, I did want to find something that I could make out of things I already had in the cupboards so that I didn’t have to go out and buy anything.
I decided on a recipe from my ‘Extending the Table (World Community Cookbook)’ which I’ve kept handy on my kindle. Chick Peas in Coconut Milk sounded simple, easy and tasty. I already had tinned chick peas in the cupboards and left over coconut milk that I had in the fridge from previous challenges so this ticked all the boxes. Given that coconut was abundant in Tanzania, it also seemed like a good, representational dish that could be made (in one form or the other) by the lower class of the country.
This was an incredibly easy dish to make. Only 7 ingredients and you simply throw everything into a pot and cook it for 20 minutes or so. This would be the perfect dish for someone who was new to cooking or on a tight budget. I personally used tinned chick peas but I could see how, using fresh chick peas, this could be made extremely cheaply.
During the cooking process, the tomato breaks down into almost nothing, the yellow of the turmeric blends into the coconut milk and darkens and everything thickens into a rich gravy.
I was surprised at how meaty the texture of the dish was. I served it with brown rice and it was incredibly filling. That said, I could not imagine eating this every day. It was tasty, but I think the texture of so many chick peas would get to me after a very short period of time. I suspect I would be craving crispy greens very quickly.
Overall I consider this one a win. It’s a cheap and easy alternative and far tastier than most take away food and undoubtedly healthier! It’s also vegan-friendly so a big tick on many levels.
And now to pick another challenge….