Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rewind: Wali na maharage

Disclaimer: the post below is regarding the food and proceedings of Wednesday, August 3, 2011. However, as I've only decided to start this blog today, Thursday, August 4, 2011, the date displayed above reflects this later publishing date. Ah well.

Yesterday for lunch, I made wali na maharage. Translation from Swahili: white rice with beans. It's one of the foods that I had eaten a lot of while in Tanzania, and one of the more popular foods there amongst the other Americans I was with. I wasn't such a picky eater, but I was definitely more partial to the rice dishes, seeing as I eat (Asian) rice pretty much every day at home anyhow. Second attempt so far at recreating Tanzanian food, and I'm actually pretty happy with how this one turned out.

My Tanzanian homestay's version,

and mine.

Never made beans before (helped my Tanzania  family cook vegetables to add to the beans, but was never there for the initial cooking of the plain beans), or rice without a rice cooker at home. Picked a bag of beans at the grocery store that looked enough like the beans I had back there--my god, there's so many darn types of beans--and hoped for the best. Learned that beans take a freaking long time to cook. And lots of water. Good thing I didn't end up picking the smaller pot. In the meantime, while waiting for those slow slow beans to hurry up and get soft, rice: at least from what I remember, the way rice is cooked there is to get the water boiling first, then add oil, then add the uncooked rice and salt; let bubble for a while, then turn the fire down (or, don't blow on the glowing firewood sticks, whatever applies). I added some shredded carrot too, by the advice of my dada (miss you!) to make it look prettier.

Beans continued: sautee red onions first, then add in tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper. I'd have added this too, but a. not sure what it's called (ngoogwe?*), and b. this is the one of the few produce items from there that I've never seen here before:

Yup. Ended up tasting pretty similar to my Tanzanian family's maharage! My brother seemed to like it too. And I think he usually tells me if he doesn't like something I make... I think...

Besides lunch, the only other productive thing I did yesterday was wash my running shoes. Totally and utterly dirty, in the full sense of the word, thanks to soccer games on a dry, grassless field. They're still soaking now for a second round of soaping and scrubbing, ideally happening tonight. I should do that soon.

*Google searched, and I think that's an African eggplant, called ngogwe in Kiswahili (though that also happens to be the name of a town in Uganda?). Hey, looks like I managed to remember the name! I asked a bunch of times, and thought I wrote it down, but couldn't find it in my notebook. The ones I had in Tanzania were light, creamy yellow and slightly bitter. Also, there are a crapton of different eggplants out there.

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