tastily touring: visiting botswana with a seswaa recipe (porridge with beef stew)
Our next stop on our world tour is Botswana, a land-locked country situated on the southern tip of the African continent. It is surrounded by Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. Botswana is mostly subtropical and is primarily desert and savanna. With a subtropical climate and terrain that is mostly desert or savanna; Botswana boasts some of the continents best wildlife areas with almost 40% of the country appropriated for national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas.
Most people have heard of “Bushmen”. They have lived in Botswana for thousands of years. Bantu peoples lived in the area about two thousand years ago and then the Tswana arrived around three hundred years ago. In 1885 the area became a British protectorate called Bechuanaland. It was in 1966 when the country gained independence that “Botswana” was adopted as its name.
Botswana has a thriving economy, one of the best on the entire African continent. Diamond mining is a primary source of income and tourism has become increasingly important as people from around the world travel to Botswana to view the amazing wildlife.
There are over 2 million people living in Botswana. Over 70% of the people are ethnically Tswana. English is the official language and Christianity is the dominant religion. The emphasis on a nonethnic government and policies has served Botswana well. And, while there may have been some discrimination against minority tribes, it seems that Botswana has avoided the pitfalls of tribal feuding in order to create a more democratic and peaceful society.
The staple food of Botswana is porridge made of either sorghum or corn meal. It is eaten in the morning as a thin, soupier version of the heavy, thick version called bogobe that is eaten at the midday meal and usually served with meat. Seswaa is a simply prepared dish of simmered beef that is pounded with salt and served over bogobe. Seswaa is a traditional meal.
Water melons, marula and lerotse (another melon) are grown in Botswana. Factories produce soft drinks (Fanta and Coca Cola). And, in some areas of the country people enjoy morama (root vegetable) and mopane worm…a grub that looks like a furry caterpillar which is dried, fried or boiled.
Since our local grocer had just run out of mopane (darn) we settled on making one of the more popular and appetizing dishes served in Botswana: Seswaa served over bogobe.
Note: The photos were taken of this meal in an appetizer form. It was just more fun to photograph in that manner then to heap a plate with bogobe and beef. I made the bogobe a bit thicker to form the scoop shape.
3 lbs. bone-in beef chuck
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1. Place the beef, the onion and seasoning in a saucepan. Cover with water and cook about 2½ hours until soft.
2. Drain liquid* and pound the meat until flaky. Remove the bones. Serve with corn meal or sorghum porridge.
Note: I saved some of the liquid and made gravy. This is an easily prepared meal when using a crock pot.
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