International Cooking: Food from Comoros

It has been brought to my attention that these meals aren’t a good representation of Comorian cuisine. This was a difficult country to research and I didn’t get much help from my usual Reddit post. If you would like me to update this post, please submit links to authentic recipes (send me a message on social media or use the contact form) and I will make them when possible! They do not have to be in English as long as they are text (or a captioned video) as I can use Google Translate.


Comoros is a small country in southeastern Africa, consisting of three major islands and numerous smaller ones. Comoros was most likely first settled by people from southeast Asia, followed by others from East Africa and the Middle East. It became a French colony in the 19th century.

In 1975 Comoros announced its independence. A fourth island in the archipelago, Mayotte, voted to remain under French administration.

Since gaining independence, Comoros has experienced more than 20 coup attempts, some of them successful, and it also has one of the worst levels of income inequality in the world. A popular migration destination for Comorians is Mayotte, which is the most prosperous territory in the area.

This was a difficult country, as the smaller ones tend to be, but I think I still managed to make a nice range of dishes this week.

What Do People Eat in Comoros?

Comorian cuisine shows French, African, and Arabic influences, but still has many similarities to other African countries. A variety of spices are common, including some that are grown locally such as nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla.

There is a wide variety of seafood available, and the national dish is langouste a la vanilla. This is local lobster served with a vanilla sauce, which sounds odd but is evidently very popular in Comoros. It’s something I would have liked to try, but lobster is expensive so I didn’t. I may consider it one day in the future.

Meat such as beef, goat, and chicken are also common, and since fish is so abundant, it is often combined with meat in meals. You’re unlikely to find much pork, since the predominant religion is Islam.

Side dishes often include rice, cassava, or plantain, and a range of local fruits and vegetables are commonly used, including coconut.

What I Made

Scroll down to read about other popular Comorian dishes I didn’t make!

M’tsolola (Fish and Coconut Stew)

M'tsolola

This is a fish stew with coconut milk and plantains. I think the vegetables used can vary throughout the country, but the version I made starts with a base of garlic, chili, salt, pepper, and spinach. The recipe I used, from Afrogist Media, suggested serving with coconut rice, but I just used regular rice. This tasted pretty good!

I think spinach may not be a common ingredient because from what Comorians on Twitter said, this dish isn’t supposed to be green (or maybe the spinach leaves are meant to remain intact).

Mkatra Foutra (Flatbread)

Mkatra Foutra

This is a traditional Comorian flatbread, which can be served for breakfast or as a side dish. Aside from the regular bread ingredients of flour, water, salt, and yeast, these also included egg and coconut milk. They are cooked on the stove, and sesame seeds are sprinkled over before flipping.

I really liked these! They were quite soft and didn’t get stale over the next few days, as most homemade bread tends to. The coconut flavor was mild, but I think I prefer it that way. I ate them warm with butter, as the recipe suggested. I used the recipe from Foreign Fork.

Poulet à L’Indienne (Chicken Curry)

Poulet a l'indienne

This Comorian chicken curry is flavored with cardamon, chili, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, and saffron. The sauce is mostly a mix of tomato and onion, with some yogurt. It’s usually served with rice and garnished with toasted almonds.

This recipe was from Study Country. I used whole chicken thighs rather than cutting up a whole chicken, and reduced the recipe by half, but otherwise I made it as instructed. It was alright, though I have had better curries.

Pilaou (Rice and Beef Pilaf)

Pilau

Pilaou was the one suggestion I received from the small Comorian community on Reddit, so I knew I had to make it. It’s a spiced rice dish that can have varying kinds of meat; I followed a recipe from Travel By Stove which used beef. I did adapt the recipe to use a few less pots, but I mostly kept it the same aside from halving it. The kind of beef was not specified so I used chuck and made sure to cook it long enough to make it tender. I thought this tasted really good though it was very brown. I added a little parsley for the photo to make it look a bit nicer!

  • Langouste a la vanilla – lobster cooked with vanilla, with other common ingredients including butter, shallots, and wine. I’m not sure about vanilla and lobster together but it’s supposedly very good, and it’s the national dish of Comoros.
  • Mshakiki – marinated beef, threaded on skewers and grilled. This is also popular in other East African countries.

Final Thoughts

This was one of the better African weeks. I found the food from Comoros to be pretty good, but I enjoyed the mkatra foutra the most.

Next week, I will be cooking food from Costa Rica.

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