International Cooking: Food from Eswatini

This was another difficult week, because I needed approval to post in the Eswatini subreddit and I did not get it. This was even harder than last week, because Eswatini isn’t an easy country to find dishes for.

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a small, landlocked country in Southern Africa. Most of the population consists of ethnic Swazis, who established their kingdom in the mid-18th century. The kingdom was governed by the British from 1903, until regaining independence in 1968.

Although the country was known as Swaziland for a long time, the people themselves commonly used the name ‘Eswatini’. This led to the name officially being changed in 2018. The government is the last absolute monarchy in Africa, ruled by King Mswati III since 1986.

What Do People Eat in Eswatini?

The national dish of Eswatini is roast ostrich steak, but that was a little out of my price range so I did not make it. Other common dishes include stews or porridge, mostly based on vegetables, grains, and legumes.

Goat seems to be the most popular meat, followed by beef, but it seems like meat isn’t eaten all the time, probably because it’s relatively expensive.

Staple foods include sorghum and maize, and crops such as sugar cane, tobacco, rice, corn, and peanuts are important to the farming industry.

What I Made

Sidlwadlwa (Beef and Samp Stew)

Sidlwadlwa (Beef and Samp Stew)

This simple stew is made from beef, tomato, cabbage, onion, and hominy, which I am using instead of samp. Hominy is dried white or yellow corn kernels with the hull and germ removed, and samp is just dried hominy that has been broken up a little. So I think this is a good substitution. I used canned hominy, which was already cooked. This stew is finished with peanut butter. I used a version without added sugar, which is the kind of peanut butter I prefer anyway. I don’t think this would taste right with sweet peanut butter.

I only loosely followed a recipe for this, from Edible U.N. I altered it by adding onion (common in other recipes) and by using peanut butter instead of peanuts (again, common in other recipes). I’ve used ground up peanuts in something like this before and I didn’t enjoy the texture, so I decided I would rather use peanut butter.

This was a little unusual due to the peanut butter, but I liked it and would probably make it again.

Mealie Bread (Cornbread)

Mealie Bread (Corn Bread)

This is a kind of cornbread made with actual corn rather than cornmeal. You blend some corn, eggs, and melted butter in a food processor until smooth, then add more corn and pulse a few times so there are still a few chunks of corn remaining. This gets mixed with flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. The mixture is baked in a loaf pan in the oven.

I think a smaller pan would have been better here because there wasn’t really enough mixture for a sizeable loaf. Though maybe this is the way it’s meant to be, since most of the photos I found online show a short loaf. I still think mine is even shorter though so I might try making this again but increasing the recipe a bit. This was pretty good; I served it with the sidlwadlwa.

The recipe I used is also from Edible U.N.

Chicken Dust (Grilled Chicken with Salad and Cornmeal Porridge)

Chicken Dust (Grilled Chicken with Salad and Cornmeal Porridge)

This is a piece of grilled chicken served with pap (a porridge made from cornmeal) and salad. I wanted to get a chicken leg quarter for this but for some reason they haven’t been easy to find lately, and I didn’t want to start from a whole chicken, so I used a chicken thigh instead. I didn’t actually grill the chicken because I don’t have a proper grill for something like this. Instead, I baked it in the oven, which I think still yielded good results. I made up a marinade of oil, smoked paprika, cayenne, and a few other spices, and let the chicken sit in that for a few hours before baking. I think it turned out pretty well.

For the pap, I used the same recipe I did when I made it for Botswana, which is from Global Table Adventure. I used white cornmeal, which I think works best here.

Final Thoughts

My favorite thing this week was the sidlwadlwa, but I think everything was pretty good.

Next week, I will be cooking food from Ethiopia.

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