It was a battle of rustic stews this week on The World Cup of Food, with the Cape Verdean chicken and rice stew canja pitted against Tanzania’s beef and green banana stew ndizi na nyama. Considering these dishes along with everything else we know about the two nations’ cuisines, which do we think is better and deserves to move on to face Korea in the next round?
In Tanzania, bananas and plantains are king. The nation grows almost four million tons of the fruits each year, and very little of that is exported. The rest goes onto the tables of Tanzanian homes and restaurants in stews or fried into cakes and chips, or is brewed into beer or wine.
We thought Scotland was tough to send away from our tournament, but faced with having to eliminate one of our strong African qualifying candidates we wavered on either side of the line before coming to a decision.
When we were researching Tanzanian cuisine, the main course recipe that came up most often is fish curry, so we thought we should give it a try. Each recipe was different so we pieced together our own, owing greatly to the works of Food Lunatic and The African Cookbook from the University of Pennsylvania’s African Studies department.
Tanzanian food has been shaped by local traditions, trade, colonial influences, and immigration. Fish, goat, and beef dishes are common, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables. The corn porridge ugali goes with most meals. Used by hand, ugali is shaped into a scoop and dipped into stews and sauces. Immigrants from the Indian subcontinent brought with them many of their native dishes, and one particular rice dish has become a favorite of Tanzanians — pilau.
We can only lament the fallen Scots and their food for so long before it is time to move forward in the competition. We go to Africa now, where Tanzania and Senegal meet in qualifying. One country will be one step closer to the final round; one will be eliminated. Both will be represented at our best in our kitchen and on the page.