A GUIDE TO AFRICA
8 MUST-TRY MOZAMBICAN DISHES
Mozambique lies on the southeast coast of Africa and is a great off-the-beaten-track destination with its paradisal beaches and bustling capital of Maputo.
Mozambique has a rich cultural heritage, making it a foodies’ paradise. The cuisine is deeply influenced by Portuguese ingredients and techniques, with Arab influences also at play. Mozambican cuisine is characterised by flavours such as lemon, garlic, chilli, coconut and cashews. Regional dishes rely heavily on seafood sourced from the country’s coastline. Tropical fruits, such as mango, avocado and papaya, are easy to come by.
Here are 8 must-try dishes in Mozambique.
Xima (pronounced ‘shima’) is a core dish of Mozambican cuisine. It is a porridge-style dish made from corn flour. Its neutral flavour makes it the perfect accompaniment for vegetable or meat stews. It has a stiff texture which makes it easy to pick up with your hands and scoop up sauce.
Peri-peri or piri-piri is one of Moazambique’s most iconic foods. In fact, it is the inspiration behind the famous Nando’s fast food brand. It is a spicy chilli sauce and marinade usually accompanied with grilled chicken. The sauce is packed with paprika, garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar. The key ingredient is the African bird’s eye chilli – it might be small but it packs a punch! Its spiciness will get the endorphins going and leave you going back for more and more.
Matapa is a uniquely Mozambican cuisine. It is a relatively simple dish yet packs a delicious punch with its flavours. Stewed cassava leaves are cooked with onions, garlic, ground peanuts and coconut milk. It is often served as a main dish with crab or prawns added for extra flavour. It is eaten with either rice or xima, which is perfect for mopping up the sauce.
Mucapata is a side dish that falls between grits and xima. It is made with mung beans, coconut milk and rice, all smashed together to create a tasty dish. It is the perfect accompaniment to a stew or curry.
5. Galinha Asada
Galinha asada is flame-grilled chicken typically marinated in peri-peri sauce. Another popular variation of the dish is galena à Zambeziana, which originates from the Zambezia region of northern Mozambique and calls for the dish to be prepared with coconut milk. The coconut brings a subtle but elevated flavour to the dish and perfectly complements the flavour of the grilled chicken.
Mozambique’s coastline stretches for 1,535 miles which means there is bountiful fresh seafood. This makes it a major aspect of Mozambican cuisine. Think grilled fish, crumbed calamari and octopus with garlic… all are delicious and easy to come by. But, the prawn is undoubtedly the highlight. Mozambique’s prawns grow to incredible sizes and are more affordable than in other parts of the world. They are typically served with peri-peri sauce, or lemon and garlic for a milder flavour. Alternatively, they are prepared as a prawn curry with coconut milk.
7. Bolo Polana
Bolo Polana is a traditional dessert usually served for special occasions. It is named after the Polana suburb of Mozambique. It is made with mashed potato and powdered cashews which creates a unique smooth texture and rich, nutty taste. Citrus zest and vanilla essence are usually added as well.
Feijoada is a heavy bean stew made with beef or pork, or both. Tomato and onion form the base of the dish and it is usually cooked low and slow with ham hock, couriço sausage and occasionally trotters and feet, tripe and other offal. The fat and gelatine from these ingredients give the dish a rich flavour. There are also seafood variations of the dish which include prawns, calamari, and clams. It is a favourite Sunday lunch dish, served with rice or xima.