Mozambique is a country situated in Southeastern Africa, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (Swaziland), and South Africa. The country is famous for its stunning pristine beaches, unpopulated islands, wild game reserves, culture and inheritance, and so much more.
The population of Mozambique is made up of different ethnicities, including Makua, Tsonga, Makonde, Shangaan, Shona, Sena, Ndau, and other indigenous groups. Mozambican cuisine is heavily influenced by its rich cultural heritage, with many different delicacies to try.
Most Popular Mozambican Dishes
Mozambican cuisine has been heavily influenced by the Portuguese who colonized the country with new crops, spices and cooking methods. Cassava and rice are staple carbohydrates eaten in many popular dishes
Most Mozambican dishes are served along with sauces made of vegetables, meat, beans or fish. Other typical ingredients used include cashew nuts, onions, bay leaves, garlic, coriander, paprika, pepper, red pepper, sugar cane, corn, millet, sorghum, potatoes and wine.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try, traditional dishes of Mozambique along with recipes for you to try for yourself.
Xima (pronounced “shima”) is a Mozambican porridge-style dish prepared using maize or corn flour. It is considered to be a staple dish of Mozambican cuisine. It is fairly neutral in flavor but it is typically served alongside vegetable or meat stews. Xima is generally white in colour and stiff when it comes to texture.
Peri-Peri is a spicy Mozambican chilli sauce and marinade generally served along with grilled chicken. The sauce is filled with ingredients like paprika, garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar. The main ingredient that is added is the African bird’s-eye chilli, which gives this exotic sauce a unique and spicy flavour.
Peri-peri is used as an everyday table condiment and is considered to be one of Mozambique’s most popular culinary exports. It is also famously the inspiration for the peri peri chicken at the popular Nando’s fast-food brand.
Feijoada is a wholesome bean stew prepared using beef, pork or both. The base is made of tomato and onion and it is generally cooked low and slow using ham hock, couriço sausage and occasionally pig trotters. Tripe and other offal are also added. The fat and gelatine derived from these ingredients provide the dish with a rich flavor.
The dish also has seafood variations that use ingredients such as prawns, calamari and clams. It is considered to be a popular Sunday lunch dish, often accompanied by rice or xima.
Mucapata is a side dish that falls somewhat between grits and xima. It is prepared using mung beans, coconut milk and rice, all mashed together. It is generally served along with a stew or curry.
This starchy side-dish originates from Quelimane, but it is cherished in many parts of the world.
Galinha Asada is flame-grilled chicken, generally marinated in peri-peri sauce. The dish is considered to be a staple and there are many different variations. Ingredients that are further added vary from area to area and depend upon what is easily and conveniently available. Chilli, lime, onions, and green peppers are among them.
Galinha asada is a Portuguese word meaning “roasted chicken” in English. But in Mozambique, it is more frequently grilled, or barbecued over open fires at the roadsides.
Added to many dishes, the classic way of cooking prawns in Mozambique is to grill them with piri-piri or prepare a prawn curry with coconut milk. Prawns are available at affordable prices and can be found in all sizes in Mozambique.
Mozambique’s coastline extends for 1,535 miles, which pretty much explains the country’s abundant source of fresh seafood, making it a significant element of Mozambican cuisine.
Chamussas are triangular, stuffed pastries influenced by the Indian samosa. The fillings in Mozambican chamussas include meat, fish, potatoes or cheese. Generally consumed as a street food or a snack in between meals, it can easily be found in larger cities like Maputo and Inhambane.
Dobrada is a dish that was brought over by the Portuguese consisting of boiled tripe, usually accompanied by chickpeas or white butter beans and chorizo. However, in Mozambique, chickpeas, butter beans and chorizo are not that easily accessible, so these ingredients are substituted with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and chillies.
Dobrada is generally consumed with rice or with xima, which makes for a hearty substitute.
Dobrada originated in Porto, in northern Portugal, and it has been considered a traditional Portuguese delicacy since the 15th century. However, it was later modified with a Mozambican twist. The dish was originally believed to be a peasant food in Portugal but today it is considered a delicacy.
Rissóis de Camarão
Rissóis de Camarão are crescent-shaped croquettes that comprise a creamy whole shrimp sauce, which, contingent on the recipe, may also consist of spices or piri-piri. Before deep frying the croquettes, the blend is folded into a dough parcel then immersed in an egg-wash and coated with breadcrumbs.
One can consume Rissois de camarão hot or cold, but the ones brought fresh from the pan at a street-side stall are considered to be the best.
Rissóis de camaro originated in Portuguese cuisine and is a popular snack throughout both countries.
Matapa is a dish prepared using stewed cassava leaves mixed with ground peanuts, garlic and coconut milk. Generally, matapa is accompanied by rice as a main dish, with small crabs or shrimp included in the stew for additional flavor.
There are many variations and some of them include peanuts, cashew nuts, beans, seafood or meat in them. Matapa is also often consumed with xima.