What food is Namibia known for

Mealiepap and pumpkin soup: These dishes from Namibia are just right for the German winter

Namibia is one of the most popular travel destinations for Germans in Africa. No wonder, because the country is considered to be very Europeanized. You can also tell from the Namibian cuisine. The restaurants like to serve Dutch desserts, German sausages and hearty stews. The culinary legacy from the German colonial era and decades of South African, i.e. British-Dutch occupation.

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Until 1990, Namibia was almost entirely externally controlled. The German colonial period from 1884 to 1915 was followed by the South African occupation, and thus the British-Dutch influence. The traditional Namibian cuisine has not been completely lost; Luckily. So Namibia tastes like European-African fusion cuisine: rich, spicy, down-to-earth and fatty. Just the thing for the cold German winter.

Namibia's traditional cuisine

Namibian cuisine is based on the country's resources, which clearly do not lie in fresh vegetables and fruit. Much of the vegetables and fruits have to be imported from South Africa and that is expensive. Some Namibians try a small vegetable garden. The dry soil of Namibia is not suitable for more. But there is plenty of space for livestock farming. The Namibian eats meat dishes. And in all variations: dried, boiled down, sausage.

Before all the hippiesque, environmentally conscious readers cry out: Animal husbandry in Namibia cannot be compared with that in Germany. Most of the animals in Namibia live on generous pastures, apart from the slaughter of the animals, there is hardly anything wrong with their keeping. If you are concerned about the environment when you avoid meat, you are in better hands with meat consumption in Namibia than with imported vegetables.

In Germany, animal husbandry and consumption are much more resource-intensive. Therefore, the following recipes will present all vegetarian dishes that Namibia has to offer. They guarantee warm, cozy bellies and a pinch of wanderlust.

Mealiepap

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Mealiepap or corn porridge is the center of many Namibian dishes. Porridge may sound boring and like school camp at first - and it actually tastes very neutral - but when combined and prepared correctly, the Mealiepap can do more than you think it can. Important: It is essential to eat with your hands!

Ingredients:

4 cups of water
2 cups of cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

1. Bring the water to a boil and add salt. Then slowly pour the corn flour into the boiling water and stir. Turn down the heat and let the porridge simmer. Stir again and again.
2. Turn off the stove and let the pot stand for 30 minutes with the lid closed. Stirring occasionally. The consistency of the pap should be firm to crumbly, so that it can be gripped easily with your fingers.

Oshingali bean dip

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Delicious side dishes for the Mealiepap are oshingali bean dip, ombidi spinach and chakalaka vegetables. The protein- and vitamin-rich tapas make the Pap meal into an event. You grab a piece of pap with your hands and dip it into the spinach, bean or vegetable dish, depending on your taste. However, the pap can also be eaten with any other sauce or side dish, so creative freedom is the order of the day.

Ingredients:

4 cups of white-speckled beans
Salt, pepper, a little chili powder

Preparation:

1. Let the beans soak in cold water for about 15 minutes. Then rub the beans a little with your hands until the pods loosen.
2. Drain the beans and cover with fresh water in a saucepan and add the spices. Bring to the boil and simmer on medium heat until the beans take on the desired pulpy consistency. If necessary, use the hand blender to help.

Ombidi spinach

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Ingredients:

1 kg of spinach
1 onion
3 tomatoes
Sunflower oil
Kapana spice (unfortunately rare in Germany, best to replace with a grill mix spice)

Preparation:

1. Wash the spinach well and bring the water to a boil. Then add the spinach to the hot water and simmer until it is cooked through.
2. Chop the tomatoes and onions into small pieces.
3. Drain the spinach and fold in the vegetables and oil. Season to taste.

 

Chakalaka

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Ingredients:

1 onion
150g carrots
1 bell pepper (red)
1 can of beans
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika powder

Preparation:

1. Peel and chop the onions. Also chop peppers and carrots into small pieces.
2. Sauté onions with curry, chilli and paprika spice for 10 minutes in a large pan and stir. Add the carrots. Let simmer for another 20 minutes on a low level and stir occasionally. Gradually add water so that nothing burns.
3. Add the baked beans and mix. Then add the pepper pieces and the tomatoes. Season with salt and simmer until the carrots are firm to the bite.

Butternut squash soup with truffle

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Pumpkins are one of the few regional vegetables: butternut and the so-called gem squash. Another Namibian specialty are Kalahari truffles, which only grow during the rainy season in the east of the country, in the Kalahari desert - if enough rain falls, which is not always guaranteed. In contrast to the European specimens, the Kalahari truffles can be bought at very affordable prices when it rains. Instead of the Namibian or European truffle, the soup can also be served with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients:

1 kg of butternut squash
butter
1 onion
1/2 teaspoon cumin
0.5l chicken broth
1 bay leaf
nutmeg
salt and pepper
(Kalahari) truffles or pumpkin seeds
parsley

Preparation:

1. Peel and core the pumpkin and cut into small pieces. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, dice and add the onions and sweat until translucent. Add cumin and simmer for about 1 minute.
2. Bring the pumpkin pieces and bay leaf in the broth to the boil briefly in the same saucepan and then simmer for about 20 minutes under low heat until the pumpkin is soft. Take out the bay leaf and let cool down a little.
3. Mix the pumpkin with a hand blender to a creamy mass. Season the soup with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
4. Roast the truffles firmly in butter, fill the soup into bowls, serve with the truffles and some chopped parsley.

Salsa Salad & Vetkoek

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The Katutura district in Windhoek was the area into which all blacks were displaced during the apartheid period. Even today, mostly black Namibians live in Katutura. But the district is now not only known for the poor conditions. Today both locals and tourists come together at the Single Quarters Market to eat kapana (fried strips of beef) with mealie pap, salsa salad and vetkoek. Vetkoek, in German fat cake, is the street food par excellence in Windhoek. Whether in front of the university, at the gas station or in the city center - Vetkoeks are sold everywhere. They can be combined with salad, minced meat or sweet as you like.

Ingredients:

250 g flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
125ml water / milk
Oil for deep-frying

4 tomatoes
1 onion
Kapana spice / grill mix spice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon vinegar

Recipe:

1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, add the egg and mix with milk or water to form a thin dough.
2. Heat the oil in a deep pan or saucepan and pour the batter into the hot fat, spoon by spoon. Fry for a few minutes until the lumps of dough are golden brown.
3. For the salad, chop the tomatoes and onions and season with the remaining spices.