Monday, September 12, 2011
African food adventures, Part 2
One of my primary motivations for travel is the opportunity to explore the food fare of different cities, cultures and cuisines. During my trip, I had several occasions to sample a variety of East African eats.
Matoke or Matooke. See What is matoke? Matoke is commonly served with a ground nut sauce. This sauce is a simpler version of peanut sauce, sans the heat. And much like all my food experiences during the trip, the matoke varied depending upon where we were eating and probably to the particular liking of the cook. One of the fascinating things to me is that matoke is cooked in banana leaves for their moisture. I learned that it’s best not to rush matoke – the longer it cooks, the better.
Ugali. Sadly, I only have this one photo of ugali (see African food adventures, Part 1). But, I think you can get the picture that it has an almost rice-like appearance. Ugali, however, is made of maize flour and tastes quite unlike rice. In fact, it doesn’t have much flavor at all. It’s more of texture experience – kind of sticky and dry at the same time. Ugali is normally served with a stew or meat sauce. But I did not try it in this way and as my first sampling of the dish (also taking into account my aversion to overly dry food), a few small bites was sufficient for me.
Chapati or Chapatti. Much more palatable than ugali, I ate chapati with many meals. Chapati is unleavened bread that is similar to naan although denser. Those familiar with Indian cuisine likely recognize that chapatti is an Indian bread. But, it is also commonly served in East Africa as an accompaniment to a meal. It is eaten by tearing into pieces and used to scoop up bites of an entrée.
Matoke, ugali and chapati … of all the African eats I tasted, my favorite was the homemade, slow-cooked matoke with tasty ground nut sauce I enjoyed in the home of our generous host family.