worldly wednesday's: angolan chicken muamba recipe
Miss Angola, the stunning Leila Lopes, was crowned Miss Universe when she won the title on September 12, 2011. It isn’t often that we watch the Miss Universe pageant, but as it happened, we stumbled upon it while channel surfing. It was easy to pick Miss Angola out of the crowd and as the competition went on Miss Angola had won our hearts.
It was during this show that the idea for Worldly Wednesdays was born. We asked ourselves, “Where is Angola?” Clearly, a geography lesson was in need and so what better way to explore the world than through its food. But, before we get to the food of Angola, let us talk about the home country of our current Miss Universe.
Angola is located on the west coast (Atlantic Ocean) of southern Africa. It is bordered by Congo-Brazzaville at the Northern Province of Cabinda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Namibia. Angola’s terrain is breathtakingly diverse with its dry coastline, moist highlands, arid savanna and lush rain forest.
The first peoples to settle in the area of Angola were Bushmen. Eventually, at the beginning of the 6th century AD, the Bantu migrated to the area. By the 13th century a large area, that included modern day Angola, was known as the Kingdom of Congo. In 1482 the Portuguese arrived. It wasn’t long before trade relations were established between Portugal and the Kingdom of Congo as they could offer slaves, ivory and minerals to the Portuguese in trade for weapons and other goods. Through a circuitous route influenced by European wars that led to a Dutch occupation of Luanda, Angola’s capital, domination of trade by Brazilians, the Portuguese colony of Angola was founded in 1575, but truly controlled by Brazil, another Portuguese colony at the time. Nonetheless, the Portuguese were the colonial rulers and it wasn’t until November 11, 1975 that Angola became an independent nation, 400 years after colonization.
With such a diverse environment geographically, politically and economically finding the correct food to represent Angola was extremely difficult. But, as we searched one recipe kept popping up over and over. We present to you Angolan Chicken Muamba, a wonderfully colorful dish that hopefully captures the cultural variety and beauty of Angola.
Angolan Chicken Muamba (found on multiple websites)
1 chicken, cut
juice of 1 lemon
½ cup palm oil (or groundnut oil with 2 tsp paprika)
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 scotch bonnet or other chili pepper, de-seeded and chopped
3 tomatoes, quartered or diced
1 squash, butternut or pumpkin de-seeded, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces.
1 cup canned palm soup base (‘sauce graine’ or ‘noix de palme’) or home-made nyembe sauce (this can be omitted or use a vegetable broth)
20 small, tender, okra washed, cut into bite sized pieces
salt, to taste
1. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and allow to marinate for about an hour.
2. Add the oil to a deep frying pan and heat on high heat. Place the chicken in the pan and brown on all sides then add the onion, garlic, chili, tomato and squash. Stirring occasionally, cook over medium heat for about half an hour.
3. Add the canned palm soup base and the okra. Simmer for a few minutes until the okra is tender, season and serve with rice or corn and rice bread.
Corn and Rice Bread
1 ¾ cups ground white cornmeal
1 ½ cups whole milk
2/3 cup cooked rice
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Beat together the eggs and mix with the palm oil, milk and rice. Mix this into the dry ingredients and combine well.
3. Pour the mixture into a well-oiled baking pan, place in an oven pre-heated to 190°C and bake for 30 minutes.
4. Take out of the oven, allow cooling a little then tip from the tin and allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
Note: Some of the ingredients may be difficult to find. It was fortuitous that we just returned from a trip to New York where you can find almost anything. It was there that we found the palm soup base and the coconut oil. You can order these items online or you can substitute with flavorful alternatives of your choice.