“Edible” Playdough: at least it wasn’t blue

Next up in our culinary trip to Tanzania, we tried Kuku Paka (tofu in coconut milk), Kachumbali salad, and Ugali, the national grain dish. I let you know now, it was a dreary night, with a rush to eat, bad photos, and not my best cooking effort. Sorry.

For the tofu in coconut milk, I reformed this omni recipe, substituting tofu for the chicken. It tasted great – a lovely mild curry, with lots of yummy coconut milk – but turned out a little thin. I figured that would be ok though, as it would be served with the Ugali.

Ugali is usually made with maize, and is basically a grain-mush, so far as I can tell. It is eaten with curries, by scooping some into your hand, putting a thumb-sized well in it, and using it to scoop up sauces and stews. We are big fans of eating sans-utensils, so I thought this would be fun.

I looked up various recipes, and eventually settled on this one. It is supposedly very popular, and served with most meals, and I was hopeful that it would turn out better than it sounded. Alas, water and corn-grit mixed together and heated until it is the consistency of playdough tastes and feels quite a lot like it sounds… gritty and beyond-bland.

After a few determined mouthfuls, I caved, and made some very quick cous cous instead, to help us finish the meal. This is one of those times when I just have to admit defeat, and sigh over the immense Western-ness of my palate. *sigh*

We also had Kachumbali salad, which is apparently the most ubiquitous salad in Tanzanian cooking. It consists of cabbage, tomato, chilli, onion, corriander, oil and salt. I used this recipe from Taste of Tanzania. I’m not usually a fan of cabbage, however this salad was divine.

A little salty, sour and slightly warm, it was the perfect accompaniment to the curry, but I think it would also work well with vegan BBQ or a spicy tomato-based dish. The dish I wasn’t sure about ended up saving the night!

It was, as I said, a bit of a rushed night, but I’m not sure that even that can excuse this photo:

Top left: Ugali. Everything else: Tofu in coconut milk
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