In an earlier post, I explained our new family tradition– Foods of the World Night. We pull a country out of the jar, plan a dinner featuring cuisine of that country, learn more about the country and have fun with it. That’s the gist.
Daniel pulled out the first country and it was… (((drumroll)))… Mozambique! I knew this was sure to be an enlightening first night because I, personally, didn’t know much about Mozambique. Ok, like, anything about Mozambique. I knew it was in Africa. That was about it.
As you can see, Mozambique, is a country on the Southeastern coast of Africa. It was colonized by Portugal and the country gained independence in 1975. After a couple years of independence, the country began a civil war that ended in 1992. In 1994, the country held its first multiparty elections and has remained a pretty stable democracy since then.
Over dinner, we basically read the country’s Wikipedia page and pointed out things we found interesting.
- Mozambique is one of the worst places to have a baby. In Europe, a woman’s lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth is 1 in 3,300. In Mozambique, it is 1 in 37!
- About 11.5 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 are HIV postive.
- The fertility rate is about 5.5 births per woman.
- In 2012, large natural gas reserves were discovered, which will probably dramatically change the economy.
- Mozambique ranks #13 for the highest infant mortality rate.
- The life expectancy for men is 50 and 52 for women.
When you put Google image search “Mozambique people”, you’ll see lots of babywearing pictures. Agriculture is the biggest industry in Mozambique. Most people work the land and while they work, parents and older siblings wear babies. Just like I find it more convenient and love the bonding and closeness babywearing provides, so do the people of Mozambique.
Mozambique has some gorgeous beaches, diving spots and small islands offshore. Lonely Planet called it one of Africa’s up-and-coming hot-spots.
Mozambique has many lively fishing villages and with its location on the coast, it wasn’t surprising to see that most of the cuisine of Mozambique included lots of seafood. When I searched for a dish, “matata” popped up the most in search results. Matata is a clam and peanut stew served over rice. I found this awesome blog for the recipe. I was really kind of shocked to find it because this blogger is doing basically we are for Foods of the World Night– cooking and serving different foods for their family. Lots of really great recipes, of which I’ll probably make for future nights because they seem pretty easy to make and family-friendly. The blogger adapted the recipe from Cooking the Southern African Way by Kari Cornell and I made just a few, small changes. Here’s the recipe.
Instead of the two regular tomatoes, I used four Roma tomatoes because I just like the flavor and texture a bit more for stews. I cut a “x” on the top of each tomato, boiled it for about a minute and then removed the skin and diced them. Cutting a “x” on the top makes the skin just fall right off. Very easy.
I poured about two tablespoons of lemon infused olive oil in my french oven and let it warm up. Then I diced a small onion, threw it in and let it saute a bit.
I chopped up the raw peanuts and added them, the tomatoes and the clams to the pot after the onions were nice and translucent. I also added more Moroccan spices and a pinch of red pepper for flavah.
I let this simmer for about 30 minutes while I prepared the rice. The recipe called for white rice, but I only had brown and we like brown anyway. After 30 minutes, I added a big, bunch of fresh spinach leaves and cooked for a few more minutes. Then I served the stew over a bed of brown rice.
It was quite good! The stews I’m used to making like my Irish stew are super hearty and maaaay raise your risk for cardiac arrest. This matata dish was nothing like that. It was pretty light and fresh. The Mr. went back for seconds and took some leftovers for lunch the next day. So not bad!
While we ate, we listened to some traditional music of the country that we found on Youtube, discussed some things we found interesting about the country and even watched a short tourism video. We tried some new food, learned quite a bit and had a lot of fun. It was a great way to jazz up a normally mundane weeknight dinner. We pulled our next country out of the jar, which was Greenland. So stay tuned for our next Foods of the World night!