Dee: “I was expecting the cuisine of Madagascar to be primarily African, with the odd Arabic and French ingredient or preparation here and there, but it turned out to be much broader than that, with strong influences from India, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The web site where we found these recipes, Celtnet, contained a wealth of information and we will no doubt be visiting it again.”
Curried Beans (Kabaro au carry)
Dee: “This was a simple dish to prepare, and the curry powder gave just the right amount of spicing to the tomato and onion sauce in which the beans were simmered. The recipe called for lima beans, but we only had fava beans so used those. They turned out fine and seemed to take in the flavour of the sauce well.”
Pork Kebabs with Mango Salsa (Brochettes de porc avec sauce mangue)
Dee: “These delicious kebabs were full of sweet and spicy flavours and went beautifully with the fresh tangy salsa. The whole kebab mixture, consisting of pork, onion wedges and chunks of pepper, were marinated for about 8 hours before being grilled until the edges began to blacken. I would have loved to have to have grilled these over hot coals, but had to make do with the grill in the kitchen”
Pigeon Droppings (Caca pigeon)
Dee: “Yes, you read it right. These aren’t actual pigeon droppings of course: they are strips of seasoned and spiced dough fried and eaten as a snack. The egg in the dough mix gave them a softer, smoother texture than the crunchy bread sticks that are sold commercially. They would be particularly enjoyable alongside a dipping sauce, but we ate them as they were. Jay quickly developed a particular fondness for them.”
Fruit Salad with Lychees (Salady Voankazo)
Dee: “This was a simple fruit salad served with a vanilla flavoured syrup. Unfortunately we couldn’t get hold of any lychees, and instead of using a cantaloupe melon we used a mango, as they were only available in packs of two. One went into the salsa for the kebabs, so it made sense to use the other in this fruit salad.”
Dee: “The taste of this tea was very gentle, but that could well have been down to the fact that some of the spices we used needed replacing, plus we used Darjeeling tea as the base, which could also have accounted for the subtlety of the flavour. Just as well that we had the tea with dessert rather than the main course."
Soundtrack: Jaojoby - Malagasy
Dee: “The African influence is more prevalent in this music than in the meal. This is an album from 2010 and features complex percussive rhythms and lead guitar tunes, over which a single male lead vocal and chorus of female backing singers form the core sound. Occasionally brass instruments and accordions appear. The songs sound celebratory in nature and it’s easy to imagine people dancing to it, but we were a bit too full and tired to dance to it ourselves.”
Next Week: N for Netherlands