Saturday, February 20, 2010

African Food Safari: Mahindi Ya Naz

Translating to mean 'corn in coconut sauce', this Swahili Coast dish is made of up three parts: mahamri, a deep-fried coconut and cardamom bread; corn slowly cooked in coconut milk, onion, tomato puree and turmeric; and suqaar, a stir-fry of lamb, onion, capsicum and tomato puree.

The first thing I noticed while looking at this recipe is that it's easy on the spices and cooking time. Nonetheless, it took quite a bit of labour to make (around 2 hours).

The mahamri was the most fun to make. Making the dough was simple enough (combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients) but because of the coconut and cardamom, it instantly smelt like no bread I've ever tasted. I'm just a little disappointed that I used desiccated coconut instead of coconut milk powder and my mahamri didn't rise as much. In any case though, it turned out fragrant and delicious.

The corn and suqaar were surprisingly mild in taste. The corn and onion were juicy and sweet, complemented nicely with the smooth and creamy coconut sauce. The natural flavour of the lamb is the focus of the suqaar, slightly sweetened by the onion, capsicum and tomato. When combined with the corn and mahamri, each mouthful was strangely delightful - sweet, mildly spicy, meaty. In other words, exotic yum!

Recipe by Shukri Abdi in the Food Safari cookbook.

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