We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Friday, 22 July 2011

What's Actually Cookin' in Magozi

I thought seeing that our work in Magozi is all about stoves and cooking, I should let you know what's been cooking in Magozi!

As foreigners, we like to eat an early breakfast, a sandwich lunch around 1pm and cooked dinner around 6pm! In the village they eat two cooked meals at maybe 3pm and 9pm. And may have a "chai" snack in the morning, maybe some bread or uji.
Mama Egla (from the house next to us) cooking uji

Cooking uji for breakfast

Lots of rice, heaps of rice! Rice is the primary crop grown here and once harvested and dried, huge sacks are stored in the small homes to feed the family for the year. Some may be sold in order to buy maize flour for family consumption in order to make a profit. I have been cooking it in the haybox to demonstrate a way to save firewood. This means boiling water on the jiko (stove) and adding the rice to boil for just 2 minutes with a lid on. Then the rice pot is taken off the jiko and put straight into a basket of hay and covered with a pillow of hay in a khanga (traditional cloth). Left insulated like this, the rice is cooked in less than hour using no more firewood than for the initial boiling.

Beans! Beans are a great source of protein, but unfortunately not eaten so much here simply because of the amount of wood required to cook the beans for so long. But again, I used the haybox and it worked wonderfully! The beans are cooked on the jiko for 20 minutes in boiling water (after soaking for 6 hours or overnight) and then put straight in the haybox. I left mine for 3 hours, but you can leave them there for up to 6 hours. Then I added the cooked, drained beans to some tomatoes and onions to cook for another 20 minutes along with some ground peanut paste. It saved heaps of firewood!

I had wary onlookers watching the food go in the haybox - and then some very surprised faces when the rice or beans appeared nicely cooked as they came out!

Usually loads of children appeared whenever I got cooking on the jiko. They were fascinated by pasta which I had brought from the Italian Sisters mission in town. They broke the uncooked strips with their fingers and then tried some when it was cooked - many spat it straight out!
Exploring pasta
The kids were also interested in pancakes (they know the word now!) A similar idea to their chapatis but very different!
Curious about pancakes

My flour bucket also meant I could make bread which was a lovely luxury! The dough was very roughly thrown together with no measuring implements! But it seemed to work - rising happily in the warm weather. I cooked it in the round "sufuria" that everything is cooked in here. Using the residual heat of the jiko without firewood and putting the charcoal stumps on a lid on the top, it was an efficient use of the end of a fire. This attracted a lot of adult interest as people do love bread here. I gave a bread making lesson, and hope some of the ladies will start making it and maybe selling it as a small income-generating project. Flour, I have been told, can be bought sometimes in Magozi, and maybe more often if demand were there?

Last week we had the opportunity to buy some pork. The family next to us slaughtered their pig; it was hung on a tree whe n I got to it. A guy with a knife hacked a chunk off the pig's bottom and handed it to me for 1500 shillings and I took it home to cook. With some onions, the last of my peppers from town and an oxo cube all the way from England, it was pretty tasty!

Buying pork

Cooking pork
Cooking cabbage with Iringa carrot

I also took a cabbage with me from town, and this cabbage amazed me as to how many meals we scrounged from it! And the other staple of our diet was tomatoes which we could buy locally and cook with onions to make our rice or ugali more interesting.

So as you can see we are doing okay without Tesco, fridges and microwaves! It is fun experimenting with jikos and hayboxes and a good challenge to keep up with appetites! 

1 comment:

  1. We're so glad that all those years your mom spent teaching you to cook have been put to such good use! As for me, I am just about to use the bread machine. A bit sheepishly now!


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