Eswatini is interesting for this list seeing as this is one of two countries that changed their official name since I started cooking my way around the world (the other being North Macedonia). This also means that, along with South Africa and Lesotho, I have now made dishes for the three southernmost countries in Africa. Once I have made something for Namibia, then I will be able to claim even more coverage with the recipes.
There is not a lot of information online about the cuisine of Eswatini, but other than biltong (which is eaten a lot in this area, and I am NOT going to be making myself) the main things are porridges of different types and ingredients which are then served with a meat stew. Like a goat stew or something like that. I need to find a source of goat seeing how often this comes up in the different cuisines and, thanks to an Ethiopian food stall I used to frequent, is a meat I developed a taste for.
Okay, so before I go any further – one thing I hadn’t quite banked on when making this recipe was how different the pumpkin cultivars are between what I get in my local supermarket compared to what would be used to properly make this dish.
Sidvudvu (recipe from this blog) is a porridge made using pumpkin and cornmeal. In the UK, it’s not common to find pumpkins in regular supermarkets at any point other than October. Of course, these aren’t necessarily pumpkins for making porridge or (as I found later, cheesecake). No, in the UK they’re basically bred and sold in supermarkets for the sake of carving. This means that they’re structurally fine, but the flesh is more watery and less flavourful.
This is my way of saying that this porridge wasn’t as flavourful as I was hoping and that this will be down to not having the right kind of pumpkin. In retrospect, I should have made this with the butternut squash as recommended as an alternative. It’s just that I got so excited at the prospect of actually using seasonal pumpkins in my cooking.
Such a misadventure doesn’t necessarily bode well for my next food nation which uses pumpkin seeds as a binding agent. I mean if the pumpkins have been bred to be more watery and less flavourful… then these seeds may not be quite right. Oh well, you learn more from mistakes – and today I learned a lot about pumpkin cultivars.