“It’s not that they don’t have food; sometimes, it’s that they don’t know what to eat. (…) She adds that sometimes, there are local, healthier options, “but some of these families prefer to eat foreign, over-processed foods in an effort to show that they are trying to belong—a status symbol.” (…) At the end of the day, knowledge is power.” (Professor Ngozi Nnam, Nigeria)
It all started with mangoes… Last year, just before the mango season, I suggested to prepare mango jam and dried mangoes as a way to maximise the use of mangoes, and keep them longer after the season has finished. Good idea in itself because people do like jam… and would happily be shown how to make it. So I have been asked for the recipe…
You can Google it and you get plenty of different ones that you can use. But demonstration and tasting is the best way to learn, see how you can adapt to taste and pick-up a new ‘habit’.
Unfortunately, as it was not in season, I could not experiment with people on the making. And, it was the same this year… but still, we can do things with green mangoes, and so we tried and tested a couple of recipes: mango pickle/atchar and caramelised mangoes – as well as drying a couple of slices, just on a plate (not the ideal, but just as a demonstration of how it works).
[to understand why I thought about the atchar, check here]
The test for the dry mango was successful on my side, bringing out the sweetness of the acidic mango variety I chose (still green as well). But it seemed to be unsuccessful at my friend’s place: the slices of green mango disappeared… well, it turned out to be fairly positive, as the kid next door tried one slice and polished off the plate!! And this was with the mangoes that grow in front of the house and that we cannot yet eat because they are still green…
The mango pickle/atchar was made with a big mango that is not the nicest variety to eat as it is acidic. And it turned out to be very good! Everyone liked it so much that from there, we thought that we could maybe try with the dry kapenta that constitutes the main meal around. And this is how we tried kapenta pickle/atchar. The fishermen gave me ‘fresh’ dried kapenta from that day (caught during the night, dried that day, and fresh from the drying rack into the jar…) and we did it now and then directly by the rack. Oh, that was a hit! I had to restrain the guys to finished off the jar so that someone else could also taste! Maybe we have found a new market for kapenta…
And lastly, I wanted to try something different to jam and so I made what I called ‘caramelised mango’. Still those hard green mangoes that we cannot eat… and they are a hit with everyone, not forgetting the kids… sugar wins all hearts 🙂
One challenge now in Kariba is that we cannot find Masala powder… but, we have someone investigating availability in Harare and see how we can bring that market to Kariba (it is available in Zimbabwe… just have to find a supplier and organise delivery)
But best recipe will be the one that you will make for yourself… Play with the spices, try another type of curry powder: if not masala, try garam masala for example.
Add more chili (or less…) depending on how spicy you want it.
Send pictures and comments on the results you had and I can add them to the recipes.
On a side note, I used Prof. Ngozi words to start off because I think they not only apply to fighting malnutrition, but also to diversify diet. Here, we wanted to show that we can prepare things differently. This can help making meals different, with just a little extra spice, but also shows that we can consume local products outside their normal season (the mangoes can be eaten before their are ripe and after the end of season).
To read the full story about Prof. Ngozi, check here (I took her words out of context…):
“It’s not that they don’t have food; sometimes, it’s that they don’t know what to eat.”