Our first dish is Matapa (also written matata), a seafood and peanut stew from Mozambique. This recipe first appeared on the Farmers, Food, and Vegetable in Mozambique blog, but we made some refinements and clarifications.
Let’s talk about the country first. I’ve been within a few hours of its border, but Mozambique is a country I’m just learning more about. It is a coastal country on the south eastern side of Africa just across the Mozambique Channel from Madagascar and was traditionally inhabited by hunter-gathering Bushmen eating wild game and foraging for roots, seeds, etc. Back then, it was covered in dense forest, but today 70% of that forest is gone. A big shift in Mozambique’s food culture began in 1498 when Explorer, Vasco da Gama from Portugal established a port on his way around the Cape of Good Hope to India. Trade at this port introduced foods and spices such as peppers, garlic, coriander, and onions to Mozambique and the cuisine developed from there….