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Around the World in Eaty Days - Countries 151 - 155

Malawi - Nsima

Malawi's Nsima is another pap offering, which I chose to serve alongside a Malawian chicken curry. The curry was fairly standard fair for countries in Malawi's corner of the world; a simple tomato base flavoured with onion, celery, garlic and carrot mixed with a very generous heap of yellow curry powder. I also served this alongside greens (not pictured). I think I could have made more of an effort to blot some of the excess oil that came from the skin-on chicken pieces, as the curry was a bit oily for my tastes, though I know that previous recipes for East African dishes that I have followed suggested that locals are more used to oil than I myself would be.

Finland - Karelian Stew

Karelian stew is a delicacy from the eastern province Karelia in Finland and is traditionally eaten around Easter. Modern recipes call for a mixture of pork and beef, whilst more traditional recipes call for any (and explicitly all) parts of an animal to be used - a sentiment that I fully agree with. The dish is very simple - meat is slow cooked after browning on a low heat with onion, carrot, bay and peppercorns. The dish was tasty, but nothing too different from what I know as British cuisine, though Finnish friends assure me that the food culture is wide and varied and have urged me to try a variety of baked goods from Finland, particularly their pies.

Albania - Tavë Kosi

I was really intrigued by Albania's national dish of Tavë Kosi. The dish is made up of slow-cooked lamb and rice topped with a roux and yoghurt mixture. This yoghurt mixture rises in the oven to create a texture that is hard to define, with the best comparison I can think of being a quiche. As the dish has minimal flavouring - the only herb being a little oregano mixed in with the meat and some sprinkled on the top - the strong salty and umami taste of the meat and lamb really needed to be cut through with something. The roux mixture did exactly this, with the sourness of the yoghurt undercutting what could have been quite a one-note dish without. A baked yoghurt topping is definitely something for me to revisit.

Antigua and Barbuda - Fungee and Pepperpot

Antigua and Barbuda's Fungee and Pepperpot brought back two old favourites. Pap, and the strangely common corned beef! The pap (Fungee) here is fairly typical other than the recipe explicitly asking for it to be cooked in the left-over cooking water from okra. The Pepperpot is nothing like Pepperpots I've made before, combining a variety of interesting vegetables (acorn squash, yam, aubergine) and black-eyed peas with spinach, tomato and aromats. Mixed through this is boiled ham and corned beef, also served on the side as slices. Whilst not the biggest fan of this dish, I imagine a slight tweak on this particular recipe to bring out some flavours that were being lost to the saltiness of the meat would vastly improve the taste.

Tuvalu - Tuna

Tuvalu's actual national dish is Pulaka, a vegetable that grows in swamps and is apparently not too dissimilar from taro, though a lot larger. As I was unable to source Pulaka and did not want to make an approximation with taro, I decided to cook a traditional tuna curry. The curry base is made of onion, ginger, garlic, chilli and curry powder. This is then mixed with coconut milk (coconut being a key flavour in a lot of Tuvalu cooking) and chunks of tuna, cooked along with cucumber. I have only cooked cucumber on a few occasions and I can't say that I am a massive fan of the texture it gives to dishes, though it did provide a welcome bit of crunch.

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