I've now cooked over half the national dishes in the entire world!
Tunisia - Couscous
Recipe from https://bosskitchen.com/tunisian-couscous/
Tunisia's couscous is a warming, comforting dish of meat (lamb in my case), vegetables and chickpeas on, naturally, a bed of couscous. The topping mix is marinated and cooked slowly (for super tender meat) in a mixture of spices including coriander and paprika. What really makes this dish sing, however, is the addition of harissa, giving a slightly floral, slightly spicy kick to the flavour palette.
Bolivia - Salteña
Recipe from https://www.mylatinatable.com/bolivian-saltenas/
Slightly akin to an empanada or even a cornish pasty, Bolivia's salteña is a pastry filled with a mix of meat, onion, peas, potatoes and spices. What I wasn't expecting from the salteña was how sweet the pastry is. The dough is about 1 part sugar to 9 parts flour. I have to admit, I very much enjoyed this, but it's definitely a flavour profile that I'm not used to. A traditional salteña is coloured both inside and out with achiote, derived from seeds of the achiote tree. I was unable to source achiote on short notice, so followed the recipe's suggestion of using turmeric, much to the chagrin of a housemate who ended up with clothes significantly more yellow than they were previously.
Congo - Poulet a la Moambe
The Congo's answer to Poulet a la Moambe is a very similar story to the Poulet Nyembwe's I've cooked before (and after, but still yet to write about!). Filled with the unmistakable taste of palm oil, along with peanut butter and tomato, the chicken is first fried in palm oil, and then allowed to boil / steam through in the rich sauce. Served with rice, and topped with coriander, the dish is tasty and filling, but nothing new to me!
Guinea-Bissau - Caldo
Guinea-Bissau's stew (or caldo) takes many forms, and I have chosen to cook Caldo de Mancarra, a shrimp and peanut stew. Lime juice takes a bit of the overwhelming flavour of the peanut butter out of the sauce, along with the addition of green pepper to add a little bit of a bitter note. I expected the sauce to be quite cloying, as peanut butter can be, but cooking it down with the lime juice as well as some fish broth meant that it was a much more enjoyable and smooth texture.
Nicaragua - Gallo Pinto
Nicaragua's Gallo Pinto was not my favourite dish in the world (quite literally). It's a simple dish, with the recipe at nataknowsbest.com calling for a grand total of 5 ingredients; onion, rice, beans, garlic powder. Even with additional enthusiastic seasoning, rice and beans was always going to be a bit bland. Granted, this is typically eaten as a side dish, but I was not too impressed, especially after eating Costa Rica's more flavourful Gallo Pinto, and Belize's rice and beans, both with additional flavourings. The rice is topped with crema and smoked cuajada cheese, which at least added a couple extra flavour notes.