Image Credit: Sarah Graham
There is almost nothing that says Mozambique more than a bowl of matapa. A dish, so ubiquitous in Mozambique that you can judge a chef by the quality of their matapa. This dish of stewed cassava leaves blended with ground peanuts, garlic, and coconut milk is enjoyed by everybody irrespective of social class. The main ingredient, young cassava leaves, grow everywhere, and need little maintenance.
Matapa can be enjoyed with additional condiments like shrimp and small crabs. It is usually served alongside white rice, coconut rice, or xima, a thick maize porridge made with white corn flour.
Cassava has become a cash crop in Mozambique largely because of Impala Beer, a beer made using cassava roots which has made cassava farming more profitable and attractive for locals in Mozambique. Today there are thousands of smallholder farmers in northern Mozambique who previously grew the hardy tuber cassava mainly as food for their families. Now they are producing a significant surplus of cassava and selling it for a profit to a national brewery that developed the world’s first commercial cassava beer.