Our countdown to Christmas continues this week. As I said when we began the series last year, we concentrated on the traditional English Christmas dishes, but this year we are bringing Christmas more local as we look at traditional local foods.
I am happy for the comments and reviews I am getting from all of you through my mailbox and I am going to try and feature as many of your requested dishes as possible. For those who would like to engage with me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Come let’s talk about your thoughts regarding other foods that you may like to see featured here.
I’m going to be giving away a traditional Christmas cake to the person who makes this week’s dish and sends a picture of him/herself enjoying the dish on The Standard Facebook Page. The picture with the most likes by Thursday December 14 will be the winner and I’ll annouce the winner in The Standard Style of December 17. So hurry and stand a chance to win this amazing prize.
Onto our dish of the week — spicy madora in peanut butter sauce. Madora or macimbi is a traditional Zimbabwean food. Also called mopani worms in English. They are so-called because they are mostly found in mopani trees. They are more of caterpillars than they are worms and they are harvested and sun-dried. Others smoke cure them over a low fire so that they dry faster. I don’t think I have ever tasted the difference between smoke-cured and sun-dried madora but this is one of my favourite snacks. For a while, it was regarded as a poor man’s food because basically madora are among the cheapest protein available on the market. But alas, times are indeed changing as it is now regarded as a delicious delicacy that can be enjoyed either as a snack or as a main meal.
Anyone who comes to my house will bear testimony that if there is anything I never run out of, it’s madora. I always make sure that I have some already boiled and ready for a quick fry and other additions. I might add to the meal depending on what my mood is or depending on the type of visitors I have at home.
Let’s get cooking then.
Spicy madora and peanut butter sauce
l500g madora, boiled, plumped up and cooled. I boil mine in batches and freeze then just thaw and cook.
l3 cloves garlic peeled
l2cm stem root ginger, peeled and chopped
l1 onion finely chopped
l4 chilli peppers, deseeded
lSalt to taste
For the peanut butter sauce:
l3 table spoons smooth peanut butter
l1 clove garlic
l0.5cm ginger root stem, peeled
l1 tablespoon soy sauce (worcestershire sauce)
l2 tsp lemon juice
l1 tsp brown sugar
l¼ tsp chilli peppers, chopped and deseeded
If you have just boiled your madora, drain them to remove excess water and allow them to cool. In a small bowl, put the garlic, peppers and black pepper, crush into a chunky paste. In a large pan, heat your olive oil and add the garlic paste and gently fry. Add the chopped onions. Toss in the well-drained madora and stir frequently to avoid burning. Add salt to taste.
Add a table spoon of water when it has evaporated as you continually stir. repeat this as often as possible, this will ensure they do not get too dry. They should be crunchy on the outside and soft inside. Test with your wooden spoon for readiness. This should take about 10-15 minutes as the madora are par boiled already. Remove the madora from the pan. Do not discard the pan.
Prepare the peanut butter sauce. Crush the garlic and ginger, add the peppers and gently fry in the same pan. Add the soy sauce and brown sugar. Add the peanut butter and simmer for about five minutes. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
If the sauce is too thick, you can thicken it with a little bit of warm water. Pour the sauce into a ramekin, place the madora onto a round or oval platter leaving space for the ramekin in the centre. Serve and enjoy the madora by dipping into the peanut butter sauce. Alternatively, you can pour back the madora into the peanut butter sauce and coat the madora in peanut butter. Bon appetit!!!