“Rwandan Soul Food” by Kiyoko Oi
I took part in a Rwandan Home Cooking class on June 8.
Instructor: Marie Louise Kambenga
President of NPO Think About Education in Rwanda/ Resident of Fukushima
・Stewed Cabbage with Tomatoes
・Stewed Beans and Carrots in Tomato Puree
・Fried Potatoes (Pre-boiled)
・Ugali (paste made from corn flour and water)
・Salt Covered Roasted Peanuts
・African Ginger Tea (with milk)
These mild dishes were mainly flavored with salt and tomatoes and they were all meat-free. Though simple, the flavor of the vegetables came out so nicely in the dishes that they make you eat a lot of vegetables for sure! If you like, you can also add a hot spice called akabanga to the dishes. I’m not so good with spicy foods, so when I tried it, at first it felt like a hot attack on my tastebuds. But then the heat faded away and the akabanga brought out even more flavor from the vegetables. If you try this spice, you could become hooked on it! We got to use maize, raw peanuts, akabanga and tea all brought here from Uganda.
When I think of Africa, I imagine the desert, but Marie said they have a lot of vegetables in Rwanda! The vegetables we used today are popular around Japan, so I am planning to cook these dishes for lunch at Kodo Village. Corn flour is not easy to get, but I think rice flour can be used as a substitute for it.
On June 7, Marie gave a lecture on “Important Things: Life, Peace & Education – A Look at Children as the Future” and the following day she held this cooking class as an exchange event. Thank you, Marie!
I will make use of this experience when I plan meals at Kodo Village.