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from: Eastern Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering

Mchuzi wa Samaki (Fish Curry)

One of many traditional Swahili fish dishes from Zanzibar island. Samaki is the Swahili word for fish and mchuzi means curry (or gravy, sauce, soup). A fish curry from Zanzibar shouldn't come as a surprise, since Zanzibar is an African island in the Indian Ocean.

tanzania fishing dhows

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Richard Francis Burton

The Arabs ... use it extensively in cooking

Between 1856 and 1859 Richard Francis Burton traveled from Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika and back, and then wrote The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860; reprinted by Dover Publications, and by Scholarly Press). He observed the tamarind tree, native to Africa, and commented on it: (You've tasted tamarind if you've had Worcestershire sauce. Interesting reading, the ingredients on a bottle of Worcestershire sauce.)

... there was a sprinkling of the fine tamarinds which have lent their name to the district. The tamarind, called by the Arabs of Zanzibar "subar," extends from the coast to the lake regions: with its lofty stem, its feathery leaflets, and its branches spreading dark cook shade, it is a beautiful feature in African landscape. The acidulated fruit is doubtless a palliative and a corrective to bilious affections. The people of the country merely peel and press it into bark baskets; consequently it soon becomes viscid, and is spoiled by mildew; they ignore the art of extracting from it an intoxicating liquor. The Arabs, who use it extensively in cooking, steam, sun-dry, and knead it, with a little salt and oil to prevent the effects of damp, into balls: thus prepared and preserved from the air, it will keep for years.
(Chapter VI -- We Cross the East African Ghauts [Mountains])


Other African gastronomical excerpts

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Congo Cookbook recipes using Tamarind

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African Proverb

Mgeni njoo, mwenyeji apone. (Swahili, Eastern and Central Africa) : Let the guest come so that the host or hostess may benefit. The arrival of a guest means a big meal of welcome. Guests bring gifts for the host. Guests bring news of relatives and friends living elsewhere.
  (from: African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Website, www.afriprov.org)

Other African proverbs

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