In my previous country post, I mentioned that I was having to make a decision between two nations that appeared to charge the national dish. Well, the situation kinda rectified itself when, in the dishes Wikipedia page, it only mentioned one of the two nations. So here we are crossing off one of the larger countries in Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo (not to be confused with its neighbour to the west, the Republic of Congo).
Following the splitting of Sudan into two nations, the Democratic Republic of Congo (which went by the name Zaire until 1997) became the second largest country in Africa. It is also, somewhat remarkably, the largest French-speaking nation in the world in terms of both land area and population size. On the sadder side, this nation has been embroiled in an internal conflict for over 15 years that is part of the aftermath of two civil wars that dragged in a number of neighbouring nations.
With such a sad and bloody recent history, I went down quite a long wiki rabbit hole which didn’t exactly end up at the history of their cuisine. In essence though, the Democratic Republic of Congo is not a highly farmed nation, but that probably doesn’t matter too much when you’re the 11th largest nation in the world. The things that come up time and time again when looking at the local food tend to be cassava, palm oil and fish. Only the middle thing comes up as part of their national dish of Moambe chicken (although that’s more palm butter than oil), but you wouldn’t know that from all the recipes online.
That’s right, today’s meal was the national dish of Moambe Chicken which is traditionally made with palm butter. However, I have yet to find that ingredient – which is apparently fine as pretty much every available recipe for this instead directs you to use natural peanut butter. Out of the wealth of available recipes. I opted for the one from Afrotourism, because I figured that a website trying to promote African tourism With a well stocked recipe section has got to be doing something right.
This is not the first time that I have made some form of peanut (or groundnut) stew for an African nation. It will probably not be the last either as as I am only a quarter of the way through my challenge. The thing that made this different from the others is twofold. Firstly this is a chicken-based dish specifically whereas the others didn’t feel as prescriptive when it came to meat. Also, this did not rely on a predominantly tomato base, instead it had a long list of vegetables and made good use of the fat from the rendered chicken.
Paired with fufu, this Moambe chicken made for a very delicious and filling lunch, that had a good kick thanks to the prescience of chillies. With a bit more sweetness, this is getting really close to satay sauce. Something that I am bound to make at some point given how much the hub loves it.
I am now, once again, at the interesting mathematical point where I have three continents to choose from for my next meal. Will it be Asia, the Americas or something from further afield in Oceania? Hopefully the recipe gods will provide me with the answer to that before I am next in front of my weekly food shopping list.