It’s strange that I have never been too bothered about cooking at home, but here, where everything is labour intensive, I love it! I pass a small building on my way to the market from which emanates at all times of the day, the sound of the grinding machine. All the maize has been harvested and the cobs dried. Most of the corn has been removed from the cobs by beating them with poles and the grains are now stored in sacks waiting for grinding.
After grinding the flour is spread out on large concreted patios to dry in the sun before the women take it home to cook with. I have seen many women sitting watching their flour dry. I think it is the only time they get to rest! I doubt there will be a shortage of corn flour this year and TZ will be prepared vigorously in many a household.
There have been good harvests of beans too. Beans come in a range of sizes and shapes for different uses. Banbarra beans are fat and round, growing on the roots of their plants. These are dried and then pounded in a mortar to remove the shells. The shells are then winnowed away in the wind to leave the choice beans. These are a wonderful source of protein and very tasty.
Others are much smaller and are ground into bean flour. There are a number of recipes which require bean flour including Kose and Bele bele. Both of these start as a thick batter. Kose is then dropped into boiling fat to produce savoury dumplings which you dip in spicy salt and eat hot. Sometimes they are mixed with some leaves and onion to give more taste. This is the closest you will find to “fast food” in the markets. A bag full for 15p.
Bele bele is poached. You need the large leaves from a Glue Berry tree and a pan of boiling water. Some batter is poured into each leaf like a tiny boat. These are then floated on the boiling water. With large numbers they are sunk and poach until a dark green colour. When you peel off the leaf it looks like small pieces of liver on the plate. It doesn’t taste like it though! The texture is quite heavy and they are filling. You need a stew of tomatoes, onions and fish to dip the Bele bele into.