45. Comoros Islands: Pilaou

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Scattered across the ocean the Comoros Islands a place you go when you want to escape reality for a little while or if you are fugitive it would also be the perfect place to hide out, since most people haven’t even heard about this mysterious little dot in the ocean. So what kind of people live in the Comoros Islands? The charming inhabitants of Comoros are mixture of Arab traders, Persian sultans, African slaves and Portuguese pirates. Islam, and all its traditions, is recognizable everywhere. Women are expected to show modesty and cover up, and alcohol is an absolute no-go. But if your idea of the perfect holiday is less about drinking rum punch in a bikini at a resort, and more about long, lazy days sipping tea and talking politics with the locals, then a safari in the exotic Comoros will probably be the kind of unpredictable adventure you’ve been craving for.

Yes this is what heaven should look like!
Yes this is what heaven should look like!

Things you didn’t know about Comoros:

  • The Comoros Islands have the nickname ‘Cloud Coup-Coup’ land because of their crazy politics, the three independent islands have experienced almost 20 coups since gaining independence in 1975! In fact, a Comorian president is lucky if there’s time for his official portrait to be taken before armed men are once again knocking on the door.
  • Comoros is the second-largest producer of vanilla in the world! Madgascar is the first.
  • Each island has its own dialect.

This rice tasted so comfy and heartwarming! Yummy for a weeknight meal! Strangely it reminded me a lot of the Afghan dish I did (that was my first recipe!), strange since they are so far away from each other! I mean Comoros is a tiny island in the ocean and Afghanistan is a freaking desert!

Pilaou

Ingredients: 1 thumb size piece of ginger, pepper, pinch of saffron, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1tsp nutmeg, salt, ground cloves, 500 gr of beef, 1 large onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 can of tomato paste, 3 spoons of garam masala, 1 tablespoon of maggi, 1/2 spoon of crush cardamon seeds, olive oil, 1 cup of basmati rice

  1. In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, mash the first six ingredients together with 3 cloves of garlic and 1/8 tsp cloves.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the meat lightly in a pot with a small amount of sated water. In another pot, sauté the onions and the rest of the garlic.
  3. Add 1/3rd of the crushed spices to the meat (there should be a little bit of water remaining in the pot, but not much).
  4. Add half of the tomato paste and 3/4 tsp garam masala, mixing well.
  5. Turn off the heat and cover. Set aside.
  6. Wash and drain the rice (the water should run clear).
  7. In another pot, boil about 2 cups of water and add the Maggi, the rest of the cloves, another 1/3 of the crushed spices and the rest of the tomato paste.
  8. In another pot, melt 1 tbsp of butter.
  9. When the butter coats the bottom of the pan, add the rest of the crushed spices, 3/4 tsp garam masala and the rice.
  10. When the rice is hot, add the water with the spices in it.
  11. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
  12. Cook for 10 minutes or so, or until about half of the water has been absorbed, then add the meat. Cover and continue to cook.
  13. When the rice is almost done, add the garlic and onions and the cardamom. Stir well and cover. When the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, remove from heat and serve.

 

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