Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Olympic Food Challenge: Tanzania - Duck Dar es Salaam

The next stop on Tonight's Menu's round the world tour, as part of the Olympic Food Challenge, brings us to Tanzania.  More specifically the city of Dar es Salaam.  Dar es Salaam was the capital city of Tanzania until 1974 when that honour was passed to Dodoma.  Even though it is no longer the capital it is still the centre of power and home of the Tanzanian Government*.

Duck Dar es Salaam is a dish which is served whenever there are special guests to entertain.  There's only Z and I eating tonight, but we're special enough.  The recipe I found states that curry powder is optional, but to my mind without it, all we're having is braised duck.  I did a little more research and discovered that the standard mix of spices for the region contains equal measures of cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and dried chilli flakes.

The spices are fried with some onion and chopped tomatoes until the vegetables are soft and the aromas of the curry powder fill the room.  The duck (we used duck legs, not a whole duckling cut into portions) was then added to the pan until it took on a little colour.  A litre of water was then added to the pan and it was left to simmer for half an hour.  At that point I added half a green plantain and half a yellow plantain.  We'd never had plantain before, so I wanted to see what they tasted like and what the differences in texture were.  With this in mind I also fried some of the green and yellow plantains as a taste comparison. 

The duck was served with cabbage braised in beef stock with plenty of black pepper.  The duck was superb and the mixture of spices in the curry powder was both earthy and fresh.  The braised cabbage was wonderful as well.  The only problem was the plantain.  The yellow plantain was better fried and the green plantain worked better cooked in the sauce but neither added anything to the meal.  I suppose a continent of people can't all be wrong but if I'm adding a starch to a dish in future it won't resemble a banana.  I will however, be coming back to the duck and cabbage and my new found love of braising.

*if your not sure how that works just imagine Leeds as the capital of England, with the Houses of Parliament still where they are in Westminster. Sounds good to me!

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