Thriller Foods – Mozambique

When Valentine Vermeulen hunts down the folks who defraud the United Nations, he needs a break every so often. Those breaks usually involve eating a meal. Vermeulen is known to complain about the bad food he often has to put up with. Airports, low rent hotels, shoddy fast food places, you name it. Occasionally, though, he does get to partake of the cuisine of the country he visits. In Illegal Holdings he gets several chances to taste authentic Mozambican food.

Early on, he asks Aisa Simango, the executive director of Nossa Terra, for a good place to eat. She directs him to a place by the harbor that has “the best piripiri prawns in the city.”

Piripiri is the all-purpose pepper sauce/relish in Mozambique. It’s used for marinating and as a sauce for seafood and for meat. It’s spicy and tart, and amazing. The recipe below comes from my well thumbed, stained copy of The Africa News Cookbook.

Piri piri Sauce/Marinade (for piripiri prawns)
Ingredients

• 4 hot red peppers, crushed or two heaping tsps of cayenne pepper
• 1/4 tsp salt
• juice of two lemons
• 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 6 sprigs of parsley, chopped
• 1 cup of oil
Ingredients

• 4 hot red peppers, crushed or two heaping tsps of cayenne pepper
• 1/4 tsp salt
• juice of two lemons
• 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 6 sprigs of parsley, chopped
• 1 cup of oil

For a marinade, combine all ingredients except for the oil in a food processor, blitz quickly and coat your prawns with the marinade. If you’re planning on cooking the food within a couple of hours, just leave it sitting on the counter. The flavors will meld even more in the refrigerator overnight. Get your grill nice and hot and grill the prawns

To make a basting sauce, take the processed ingredients and stir them into the oil until well blended.

Can also heat the sauce gently for a few minutes to brush on cooked meats or seafood.
For a marinade, combine all ingredients except for the oil in a food processor, blitz quickly and coat your prawns with the marinade. If you’re planning on cooking the food within a couple of hours, just leave it sitting on the counter. The flavors will meld even more in the refrigerator overnight. Get your grill nice and hot and grill the prawns

To make a basting sauce, take the processed ingredients and stir them into the oil until well blended.

Can also heat the sauce gently for a few minutes to brush on cooked meats or seafood.
Matapa (seafood and peanut stew)

About two thirds into the novel, Vermeulen and Tessa are eating a stew at a little hole-in-the-wall outdoor restaurant. Although I took some liberties in the description of their order, it is basically Matapa. There are numerous variations of this recipe. This is one of them. (Source: http://www.foodbycountry.com)

Ingredients

• 1 cup onions, chopped
• olive oil
• shellfish for four people
• 1 cup of peanuts, ground
• 2 Tomatoes, chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp crushed red peppers
• 1.5 pounds of spinach greens, chopped

Ingredients

• 1 cup onions, chopped
• olive oil
• shellfish for four people
• 1 cup of peanuts, ground
• 2 Tomatoes, chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp crushed red peppers
• 1.5 pounds of spinach greens, chopped

Sauté onions in a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until onions are softened, but do not brown them.

Add the chopped shellfish, peanuts, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.

Add greens and cover; as soon as leaves are withered, matata is ready to be served.

Serve over cooked white rice.
Sauté onions in a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until onions are softened, but do not brown them.

Add the chopped shellfish, peanuts, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and the red pepper flakes to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.

Add greens and cover; as soon as leaves are withered, matata is ready to be served.

Serve over cooked white rice.
After they visit Mauritius Bank and Trust, Vermeulen and Simango get into an argument. They eventually sort things out at a pastelleria eating Bolo Polana.

Bolo Polana (Cashew Cake – from Gold Restaurant in Cape Town)
Ingredients

• 375 g butter
• 1 cup white sugar
• 2 t grated lemon rind
• 2 t grated orange rind
• 9 egg yolks
• 5 egg whites
• 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
• 2 cups raw unsalted cashew nuts, ground finely
Ingredients

• 375 g butter
• 1 cup white sugar
• 2 t grated lemon rind
• 2 t grated orange rind
• 9 egg yolks
• 5 egg whites
• 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
• 2 cups raw unsalted cashew nuts, ground finely
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C).

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a spring form cake tin with butter.

In a deep bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the mashed potatoes, ground cashew nuts, lemon and orange peel.

Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks and gently fold them into the mixture.

Pour the batter in the buttered cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in the centre of the oven for an hour or until the top is golden brown.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.

Remove the sides and using a metal spatula slide the cake off the base and onto a wire rack.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C).

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a spring form cake tin with butter.

In a deep bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the mashed potatoes, ground cashew nuts, lemon and orange peel.

Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks and gently fold them into the mixture.

Pour the batter in the buttered cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in the centre of the oven for an hour or until the top is golden brown.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.

Remove the sides and using a metal spatula slide the cake off the base and onto a wire rack.

 

Michael Niemann