Food, eating habits and cusine of Comoros
Gastronomy is an important part of Comoros cultural wealth and the cuisine is as diverse as the people themselves. The delightful mixture of flavors from various traditions and cultures such as French, Arabic, African, Indian, and Malagasy is what describes best Comorian cuisine. The Arabic side of their foods stands out in their sauces and spicy foods. Porridge or stew is also featured in the country’s cuisine. Locally grown spices such as nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla are used to season the local foods. The country’s cuisine has a unique element that draws curiosity and it is also an important tool used in the development and promotion of the country’s culture and tourism.
The country has a constant supply of fresh seafood such as fish, shrimp, crab, lobster and so on and dried varieties as well. This makes fish very common in Comoros and it is served in every meal especially in stews. It is mostly served with the country’s staple foods such as meat and rice. Other local specialties include barbequed goat meat, langouste a la vanille (lobster cooked in vanilla sauce), plantain, cassava, couscous, and other types of meat kebabs. During functions, the ceremonial foods are made of beef and goat meat and these are normally served with curdled milk, white rice, and colossal cakes as well.
As mentioned earlier, porridge is a part of Comorian cuisine. It is one of the country’s staple food especially that prepared from cassava. This porridge is most of the time garnished with dried fruits. Fresh fruits such as pawpaw, bananas, pineapples, avocados, oranges, tomatoes, and limes are in plenty on the islands. Some of these fruits and other exotic ingredients, for instance, maize, peppers, and chilies are normally used in the preparation of any food. The jackfruit is one of the locals’ favorite – this is a large and long green snack that is locally available and it tastes like lychee.
There are also a variety of stews preparing using the different types of Indian vegetables and ingredients. Some of these foods include lentil soups, chapattis, curries, and as assortment of pickles.
Other specialties in Comoros include Pilaou – a very spicy dish made of rice and meat ; mkatra foutra – fried unleavened bread prepared with coconut water; mataba – these are cassava leaves; ladu – these are ground rice balls which are spiced and sweetened; ntrovi ya nazi – this is steamed or fried fish accompanied with coconut stew and cooking bananas; roti ya houma pampa; achard aux legumes – this is a lightly pickled vegetable salad; M’tsolola – green plantains and fish cooked in coconut milk; and ambrevades au curry – this is a pigeon pea curry seasoned with cardamom.
As a country, Comoros does not any fancy establishments for dining. There are, however, small restaurants where one can satisfy his or her cravings. The staple food in most of these restaurants is seafood. There are also numerous cafés where one can get plenty of delicious snacks. Most of these cafés are located at the Volo Volo Market, and in regions near the Vendreri Mosque in Gobadjou district. In the city of Moroni there are numerous bungalows along the coastline and they are well known for their mshakiki or meat kebabs which are normally served with side dishes such as breadfruit, bananas, and cassava.
To enjoy quality Indian food in Comoros, one can visit the Chez Babou Restaurant in Oasis District in Moroni. Another place worth trying is Café de la Paix in Ambassadeur District also in Moroni. The best place to eat the country’s favorite dish, langouste á la vanilla, is Le Restaurant des Arcades, also located in Ambassadeur District, Moroni. This restaurant is known for the best lobster in the country and it also has a very friendly atmosphere. The restaurant also prepares other skewered meats and local favorites.
If you are passionate about food and love cooking, below are a few Comorian recipes that you could try out.
Poulet à L'Indienne (Comorian Chicken Curry)
To prepare this delicacy, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 chicken chopped into services pieces
- 8 tomatoes that have been blanched, peeled, and sliced
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- Grated ginger
- Minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 6 crushed cardamom pods
- 2 sliced chilies
- 6 cloves
- A pinch of saffron
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 50g of roasted sliced almonds
- 300 ml of natural yoghurt
- Black pepper and salt to taste.
- Cooking oil
Pour some cooking oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken pieces until they turn golden brown then set them aside. The next step is to fry the onions, ginger, chilies, and garlic in the pan. Fry them until the onions soften then add cloves and cardamom and fry for a few more minutes. Mix the chicken pieces now then add tomatoes and let it cook for a few minutes. Mix the plain yoghurt with the saffron and cumin powder and pour it over the chicken mixture. Use black pepper and salt to season then cover the pan using a lid and let it simmer for an hour. If the mixture dries up to quickly, add some water, but not a lot. After that, the chicken is ready and it can be served with rice that has been garnished with the roasted sliced almonds.
Le Me Tsolola
- 2 peeled green bananas
- 300g of diced meat
- 300g of diced fish
- 2 onions finely diced
- 4 tomatoes finely diced
- 400 ml of coconut milk
- Cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.
- Cooking oil
Pour a little oil in a frying pan and fry the meat and fish until golden brown. In a different cooking pot, add the bananas, and then add the meat and fish. At this point, you will also add the tomatoes and onions then pour the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Season well with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste, cover and let it simmer for 1 hour. You can add some water if the mixture becomes to dry. Serve with white rice.