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Mozambique - Cooking and Food
The cuisine of Mozambique has been deeply influenced by Portugal. In the early 1500s, the Portuguese colonized Mozambique, introducing new crops, flavorings, and cooking methods. These Portuguese elements combined with the local cuisine, resulting in today's intensely flavorful Mozambican dishes.
Mozambican food is rich in meats, fish, and shellfish. Piri piri, a traditional hot sauce, is added to most meat and fish dishes. It is made from hot peppers or chilies, lemon juice, and spices boiled down to a thick paste. The two main ingredients, lemons and peppers, were introduced to Mozambique by the Portuguese. Frango a calrial, or chicken cooked in the African style, is spicy piri piri-rubbed chicken that has been roasted over charcoal. It is common to serve shellfish with piri piri and lemon wedges.
The use of wine in cooking is another tradition introduced by the Portuguese. Matata is a dish made of clams cooked in wine with peanuts and fruits or vegetables. Ananas con vihno do porto, or fresh pineapple in port wine, is made from pineapple and sugar marinated in wine. The most popular wines for drinking and cooking are dry Madeira, Portuguese table wine, red port wine, and aguardente.
The maize, the millet and the sorghum are grown by the Mozambicans. The Mozambican cuisine uses maize and cassava in preparing the porridge. The bean or the Squash soup is very popular in Mozambique. The Portuguese colonization introduced the Catholicism in Mozambique and Angola, that’s why on Fridays meat is not eaten. The Portuguese brought also the lemon, the orange and the lime into Mozambique and Angola. They also brought peppers, chilies, corn, tomatoes, pineapples and the domestic pig from Brazil, which was another Portuguese colony. The Mozambican diet is rich in cornmeal, millet, rice or hot stews.
Cuisines of Mozambique
Curries or “Caril” are served hot in the Mozambican style, with “Manga Achar” which is mango chutney. The fish and the seafood of the Mozambican coastline are considered to be daintiness all over the world. The Mozambican coffees and teas from the Zambezia region are also considered to be best quality products. The Mozambican “Piri piri”, thehot pepper sauce is made of lemon juice, olive oil, coarse red pepper, garlic powder and salt. All these ingredients are mixed together in a small bowl and simmered. The traditional “Piri piri” has no Portuguese influences and is popular all over Mozambique. “Salada pera de abacate”, which translated means the Avocado Salad is also popular in most Mozambicans regions. This delicious salad is made of slices lettuces, two tomatoes, two avocados, lemon dressing made of lemon juice, olive oil and peach syrup, salt, pepper and salad herbs. “Ananas con vihno do porto” means Fresh pineapple in Port Wine and is made of ripe sweet pineapple, Sugar and red Port Wine. The pineapple needs to be cut into slices and the core needs to be removed. After covered with red Port Wine, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator for several hours. This Mozambican dish is served with spoons and forks. The shrimps and seafood cooked in the Mozambican way is popular all over Mozambique. The main ingredients for this fish dish are raw shrimps, crushed red pepper, salt, water, lemon wedges and “Piri piri”.
Preparation Methods for Mozambican Cooking
The main preparation method used in the Mozambican cuisine are grilling, roasting or marinating. “Frango a Cafrial”, or the Barbecued Chicken is one of the most popular Mozambican meat dish. The main ingredients used in preparing this Mozambican specialty are: whole chickens, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, salt, garlic powder, one teaspoon of ground ginger, salad oil and the traditional “Piri piri” hot sauce. The preparation method for the Mozambican Barbecued Chicken goes like this: the chickens are rubbed thoroughly with seasoned oil, grilled over an open fire or over hot charcoals and basted with seasoned oil until they are done. The Mozambican Chicken can be also roasted or broiled. The chickens are cut in half and served with cooked white rice. Most Mozambican dishes have basic preparation methods, so preparing “Frango a Cafrial” shouldn’t take more than forty minutes. In cooking Shrimp and Seafood the Mozambique way, the preparation method isn’t difficult at all. The main ingredients used in preparing this traditional dish are: raw shrimps, warm water from the tap, salt, crushed red pepper, three lemon wedges and the “Piri piri” hot sauce. The preparation method goes like this: the raw shrimps, the water, salt and the red pepper or the Tabasco sauce are placed into a saucepan, mixed together, the lemon juice is also added there and the shrimps are simmered for about a half an hour. The Shrimp and Seafood the Mozambique way is served with “Piri piri” sauce.
Special Equipment for Mozambican Cooking
The Mozambican traditional cuisine doesn’t need sophisticated special equipment for cooking. Like the other international cuisines, the Mozambican one needs the basic equipment set: soup ladles, food pans, or mugs, ovens, grills, saucepans, woks and the right ingredients are sufficient for preparing a Mozambican dish. The Mozambican cuisine is using a special equipment to grill the traditional “Frango a Cafrial”, or the Barbecued Chicken which is one of the most popular Mozambican meat dishes. For cooking the Mozambican “Frango a Cafrial”, the cooks are using an opened fire grill. The most popular beverages in Mozambique which are also used in cooking some traditional dishes are the dry Madeira, the Portuguese table wine, the red port wine and “Agua Ardente”. The Mozambican cuisine uses most in preparing vegetarian dishes the lettuces, tomatoes, avocados, potatoes, onions, string beans, fresh young spinach and fresh pineapple. The fish and the seafood is very popular in the Mozambican cuisine and for cooking these dishes, scrub utensils are being used.
Mozambican Food Traditions and Festivals
The Mozambican food traditions were influenced by the Portuguese elements. “Matata”, or the Mozambican Clam and Peanut Stew is a traditional dish which hasn’t any Portuguese influences. The” Matata” is made of chopped Onion, olive oil, chopped clams, peanuts, and tomatoes, salt, black and red pepper, pumpkin leaves, white rice and boiling water. The “Piri piri” hot sauce is also a traditional Mozambican specialty which has no Portuguese influences. The “Piri piri” hot sauce is used in preparing almost every Mozambican dish. Thehot pepper sauce is made of lemon juice, olive oil, coarse red pepper, salt and garlic powder. All these ingredients are placed in a small bowl and mixed together. The “Piri piri” sauce is served with a tinny spoon, sparingly because it’s very spicy. The Mozambican people inherited the Catholic religion from the Portuguese colonialism, that’s why there are several religious food traditions such as meat less Fridays. There are Mozambican food festivals over the year during which people are gathered together by their old traditions, folklore and food. During these festivals the Mozambican people are celebrating the traditional customs and daintiness are served to all the participants.
People in Mozambican Food
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The Mozambican cooks are devoted people who are zealously preserving their culinary culture. Tourists from all over the world visiting Mozambique are delighted by the Mozambican daintiness, that’s why most of them never leave the country without asking for the “Piri piri”, “Matata”, or other traditional dishes’ recipes. There can be found several African cookbooks in which the Mozambican recipes are explained. Mozambican chefs from famous hotels along the coastline are often invited to take part to international food festivals or food competitions. The African food and in particularly the Mozambican one are much appreciated all over the world. Mozambican restaurants can be found in most big capitals. There are some Mozambican chefs who have TV shows in Portugal or even their own recipes or cooking tips and secrets web sites. Some people enjoy a lot cooking Mozambican dishes and that is why there are forums on the internet where people from different countries and cultures are exchanging Mozambican recipes or talking about their common passion, the Mozambican cuisine.