Kabichi and Kale – Cooking Malawian

Cooking up kabichi seems like the right thing to do – our guests are expecting a taste of Malawi this evening.

Kabichi (cabbage) was served daily during our trip to Malawi, as a vegetable side dish (relish) to accompany the star of tonight’s food demo (can’t spill the beans…). My ndiwo may not be authentic, but I am doing what our hosts did, and using whatever I have to hand. Here goes…

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Yes, you can see red splashes of La Dalia’s pimentón (always to hand) – but I felt I had to spice up my Northern Hemisphere ndiwo, just in case it doesn’t match up to these beautifully warm dishes that we were treated to …

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Greens of any kind might be used to make ndiwo – cassava leaves , sweet potato leaves, the leaves of pumpkins, kale and any type of cabbage. Nothing is ever wasted.

Since I haven’t any pumpkins growing in my garden, I’ve cheated by stealing into town to buy some pumpkin seeds (not to magically speed-grow for leaves, obviously). These and some peanuts will add a little Malawian something to whatever it is that our multi award-winning baker will present to the assembled guests later.

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Tonight isn’t just about food. A flavour of Malawi will be shared through film, photos, brief presentations and informal chat.

Our teenaged travellers will add their younger perspectives too.

My only problem is that I now have some washing up to do, and my luffa plants are not inclined to help. I planted these four seeds a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve watered and watched, and been dismayed by our cool climate. Nothing to do but wait and watch some more.

I know it takes a little more than watching (and forgetting to water), and sowing these small seeds earlier in the season would have given them half a chance … but Bettie told me it was easy … and now all I have it this.

Malawi, Africa, Malawian cooking, nsima, ndiwo, cabbage, kabichi, maize, greens, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, groundnuts, peanuts, paprika, pimento, la dalia, spain

However, today we find ourselves in the midst of a mini-heatwave. Not only does that bode well for a Warm Heart of African atmosphere this evening, but my still small seeds might feel temporarily at home.

Wish us all luck 😉


For more on traditional Malawian cooking (including a ndiwo recipe), click here.

 

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