Five Tanzanian Dishes to Cook for Your Family in Dar es Salaam

Welcome to Dar es Salaam! This is a beautiful city rich in culture and flavor. When it comes to Tanzanian recipes, there are five you have to try now that you are new to the city.

Why not make the experience a family cooking day? Take your entire family down to the infamous bright markets, fill your bags with fresh veggies, fruits and spices and speak to the locals about the dish you are trying to make. Even though this list will provide you with the recipes and the directions, there is nothing like advice from a local on how to make a delicious Tanzanian dish.  

1. Ugali

A plateful of salad and the Tanzanian dish Ugali

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Considered Tanzania’s national dish, Ugali is a must-eat for anyone wanting to explore the culture. It is a stiff dough prepared with cornmeal, cassava flour, sorghum or millet. Serve this dish with fish, meat, cooked vegetables or bean sauce.

Make sure to have a large bowl of Ugali in the middle of the table, each member of the family can serve themselves as much as they wish. This is a social dish, meant to trigger rich conversation amongst the family.  

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of water

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 2 cups of finely ground, white cornmeal

Directions:

  1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the cornmeal slowly, letting it fall through your fingers of your hand.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring regularly - use a spoon to break apart any lumps - until the mush pulls away from the sides of the pot and becomes thick. This step should take around 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  3. Place the ugali into a large serving bowl. Wet your hands, roll the ugali into circular shapes and serve. To make the ugali more flavorful, add butter.

2. Nyama Choma

Many Nyama Chomas on a barbecue

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Nyama Choma is essentially a kebab infused with East African flavor. This delicious Tanzanian food is freshly-slaughtered barbecued goat, fish or chicken slow-roasted to perfection. As a side, compliment this dish with barbecued bananas or Ugali.   

Ingredients:

  • The desired amount of goat, fish or chicken

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

  • Curry powder to taste

  • Turmeric to taste

  • Fresh, finely chopped coriander to taste

  • Paprika to taste

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the lemon juice, garlic and spices into a large bowl and mix.

  2. Add the meat and marinate it for at least one hour.

  3. Grill the meat.

3. Chapati Bread

Fresh chapati bread, ready to be eaten

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Similar to Indian flatbread, Chapati is unleavened flatbread with no baking powder or yeast. It is one of the most popular dishes in a Tanzanian home. Expect to find Chapati bread at any special occasion or social gathering; it is a staple at parties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¾ cup hot water or as needed

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the olive oil and enough water to make a soft dough that is elastic but not sticky. Knead it on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth. Divide into 10 parts or however much bread you want. Roll each piece into a ball and let them rest for a few minutes.

  2. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough and make them extremely thin - similar to tortillas.

  3. When the pan starts smoking, put a Chapati on it. Cook for around 30 seconds - or until underside has brown spots and then flip it and do the same with the other side.

4. Mchemsho

Photo credit: Deskgram

Known as an exceptional Tanzanian cuisine, Mchemsho is one of the most delicious local dishes. Although, due to the price of ingredients needed to make this meal, it is not one eaten on a daily basis. Instead, save it for a special occasion. You need carrots, potatoes, green beans, eggplant, cabbage, onions, bananas, tomatoes, ladies finger, sweet pepper and spices to make this dish. Add either meat or fish for protein.

Ingredients:

  • 6 green bananas

  • Half kilo of beef, chicken, or fish

  • 2 potatoes

  • Onion

  • Ginger

  • Onions

  • 1 large tomato

  • Oil (vegetable oil works best)

  • Salt

  • Limao

  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil the meat with lemon, onion, ginger, salt and water, make sure there is enough broth to have a soup-like texture.

  2. In a pan, cook potatoes and bananas with garlic, tomato and onion. Once softened, add this to the meat mix.

  3. Stir everything together and serve while hot.  

5. Wali wa Nazi

A bowl of wali wa nazi

Photo credit: Vegetarian Times

Another favorite Tanzanian dish is the delicious Wali wa Nazi, or rice made with coconut milk. It compliments any chicken, meat, curry or fish dish perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of rice

  • 50 grams of desiccated coconut

  • 2 cups of coconut milk

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

  • ½ red onion finely diced

Directions:

  1. Toast cumin seeds in a frying pan until they become fragrant and set them aside.

  2. Heat your pan on medium heat and bring the coconut milk, the water and some salt to a boil and then add in the rice.

  3. Then instantly add in the cumin seeds.

  4. After one minute, add the desiccated coconut and mix. Turn down the heat and allow the rice to cook.

  5. Remove from heat and serve.

 

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