Africa, Tanzania

Tazanian peanut soup

I’ve said before that African food is my heart food. My travels to Tanzania began my love of East African cuisine. It was exciting and flavorful and familiar all at the same time. Most recipes use things that someone in a small town could find at the grocery store. Many dishes are naturally gluten free, dairy free, and vegan. This soup is dairy free and gluten free. It uses plenty of veggies and gets its smooth and creamy flavor from peanut butter and coconut milk. Tanzanian peanut soup can be ready in as little as a half hour. You could serve it with fruit and bread if you like, but I promise you, it’s filling all on its own!

Tanzanian peanut soup

serves 4-6

ingredients:

1 tablespoon organic red palm oil

1 onion chopped

3 tomatoes cut into quarters

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 average eggplant, peeled, sliced about an inch thick, each slice cut again into 4 quarters

1/4 cup smooth, unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter (I use Justin’s)

1 can coconut milk

1 quart chicken broth

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon base (I like Better than Bouillon)

a couple dashes of Maggi (optional)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Penzy’s Spices “sweet curry“)

salt and pepper

*red pepper flakes I went a little off course and used Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) because I have so much and I used a full teaspoon. It was excellent in this dish. You can Aleppo use pepper or cayenne pepper. The authentic pepper flake would be crushed African birdseye pepper. A good starting point would be 1/4 teaspoon and increase as you wish.

optional add-ins and ons:

2 cups greens such as spinach, chard, or collard

avocado slices

chopped cilantro

sliced hot pepper

1.Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and some salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for about another 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, Maggi (if using), bouillon, curry powder, hot pepper flakes or powder, turmeric, and a little more salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.

2.Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and peanut butter. Stir and heat to a simmer. Add the eggplant and bring it back to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until the eggplant is really tender.

3.Now get out that immersion blender and blend it all up! You want it to be silky smooth.  If you’re using greens, you can add them now and simmer for maybe around 5 minutes.  Don’t make my mistake and add long ribbons of chard.  While tasty, it conflicted with the texture of the soup. Chop those greens up real good before you add them. Top with the avocado, hot pepper, cilantro too if you please.  Usually I’m all about the soup toppings but honestly, this soup is absolutely delicious without.

 

Africa, Tanzania

chips mayai or hashbrown omelet

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Chips Mayai means “French Fry Eggs”.  I first had Chips Mayai in Tanzania.  Where I had it, they would fry french fries in a bunch of oil, then pour beaten eggs over to form an omelet.  It would be served with Kachumbari (tomato, onion, cabbage slaw) on top with ketchup and pilipili (hot pepper sauce).  Delicious! In this rendition, I’m shredding red potatoes up to use as hashbrowns instead of french fries.  I’m also adding jalapeno pepper because I had one in the fridge that needed to be used.  On top, again, in the face of not wanting to be wasteful, I’m being forced to add some shredded cheddar cheese and perfectly crisp bacon.  If you don’t have any leftover cheese like me, try to make yourself feel better by saying “it’s more authentic”. That will convince anyone, including you.  In the end, you had better have some avocado because that is authentically Tanzanian and it makes it feel a little healthy and tastes amazing.  Remember when avocados were “too fattening”? What a sad time! You’ll also notice in this recipe that I’m going to instruct you to beat your egg mixture exactly 80 times. This is probably the most direct you’ll ever hear me be.  I once heard on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen that 80 strokes were the precise amount to beat eggs for omelets.  This, they say, is called science.  And also, it was Christopher Kimball talking, plus a French woman, and with that combination, you know they know way more than you.

chips mayai- Tanzanian street food and breakfast food

Serves 2 really hungry people (or 4 people)

  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeno deseeded and sliced (I like to leave one half with the seeds and ribs intact)
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Toppings Ideas:
  • Hot Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Green Onion
  1. Heat your cast iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Place your 3 strips of bacon in the pan to fry.
  3. Meanwhile, shred the potatoes with a box grater or in your food processor with the large shred attachment.
  4. Finely chop your onion
  5. halve, de-seed, and thinly slice your jalapeno.
  6. Once the bacon is done to your liking (not too dark because of the carcinogens), set it to the side.
  7. Pour out most of your bacon grease and put it in your bacon grease jar to use later.
  8. With a little bacon grease left in the pan, spread out your shredded potatoes, onion, and jalapeno in the pan and make sure it’s on medium heat.
  9. Season with garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  10. Cook the veggie mixture for about 6-7 minutes on one side. Take a spatula and peek that it’s browned before you flip it over the brown the other side.
  11.  Let that side cook for about 5 minutes until browned.
  12.  While the second side of the hash browns are cooking, crack your eggs into a medium sized bowl and add a little water or half and half if you have extra like I did.  Why do I always have an excess of fatty dairy products?
  13. Beat your eggs for  80 strokes.
  14. Pour your egg mixture over the browned hashbrown.
  15. Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes, then grab a lid that fits your pan, turn the heat to low and cover the chips mayai until the egg has set but is still a little loose and shiny on top.  This way you know that you haven’t overcooked your eggs.
  16. sprinkle your toppings on top.  If you’re using cheese you may want to cover it again to melt it.  Also, crumble up your bacon as you sprinkle it on.
  17. Cut the chips mayai into four pieces like a pizza pie.
  18. Serve with sliced avocado and fruit.  It’s also best with a little ketchup and hot sauce on top.

    Serves 2 hungry people or 4 people with willpower.

Right after the egg mixture was poured over the hashbrowns