My parents recently went home (home being Malawi) to visit the relatives and such and brought me back some goodies from home. I usually never ask for something from home, they’ve been there twice before and both times I wasn’t really concerned with what they could bring me. However this time I did crave Baobab fruit, or as we call it; Malambe. It is not as readily found here in Botswana (personally I’ve never seen it in the streets or in stores) however they do have Baobab trees here so I’m sure it is being eaten somewhere.
The fruit usually comes as a pod with the funny shaped white pulp coated seeds you see in the picture above.
My lovely aunt was nice enough to crack the pod and extract the seeds for me. To eat it you suck on the seeds till the white pulp is completely dissolved then you spit out the seed. The taste is hard to describe….you’d just have to try it on your own. It is also definitely an acquired taste! I gave a couple of my friends some and most of them just looked confused. The White pulp that is sucked is a great source of vitamin C.
In addition to Malambe my mum also brought me Cassava! Oh how I love Cassava! Something I have never found here in Botswana too. It is similar to potatoes or sweet potato so you can do to it everything you do to potatoes although the taste is quite different. The taste ranges from slightly sweet to bitter depending on where and how it was grown. Cassava can be boiled,boiled and fried, dried, made into a flour, or sliced and used to make chips similar to potato chips. The bitter taste in Cassava is due to the cyanogenic glucosides in it which are toxic so it’s not advisable to eat it raw as it can cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and has been linked to ataxia or partial paralysis.
I had my Cassava boiled and fried and just plain boiled. I ate the plain boiled Cassava with a beef stew (that had potatoes) and the fried Cassava with boiled Squash, fried fish and salad.
Lastly my mummy brought me some Malawian rice. That may not sound like a big deal but Botswana does not produce rice of its own so people here mainly eat Tastic Rice (Tastic is a brand). Regular Tastic rice has an odd flavor, at least in my opinion and therefore I don’t like it at all. It has a strange odor and tastes very bland and plain. I use a great deal of tomato sauce and stew to mask the strange taste. Unlike Malawi rice I can’t eat it with milk and sugar alone or make a porridge out of it because it just tastes too weird to me. As an alternative I prefer to buy the Tastic rices of the world range which are closer in taste to Malawian rice. The range includes Basmati, Jasmin, Sushi, Risoto and Bonnet rice, however they are quite pricey. So it is quite a treat to have Malawian rice.
I have already used it to make fried rice and will probably make rice porridge with it one of these days.
What foods do you miss most when you are away from home? Leave a comment below and let me know 🙂