Zanzibar Mix’ is one of the most famous street-foods of Tanzania, especially in Zanzibar and Dare salaam. Anyone who’s been to Tanzania probably knows and has had this delicious dish as it is sold on almost all the street corners!
The ‘Mix’ is a bowl of smooth and tangy flour-based sauce cooked with lemon and mango, with tiny cubes of potatoes in it, followed by crispy bhajias and fried mashed potatoes, a spoon of coconut chutney, a dash of red-hot chutney and a scoop of deep fried cassava or potato shavings sprinkled on top. Every warm spoonful of this delectable dish is filled with flavor and spice and you are guaranteed to slurp down the bowl in record time!
First you will need to prepare the bhajias, mashed potatoes and chutneys. Here are the recipes:
For the bhajias:
1 mug split red cowpeas/chola (kunde)
1 mug split moong daal/green gram
Soak these two together for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
Wash and sieve out as much of the peels as you can, they will mostly float to the top when you rub the grains. You might not be able to get out all the peels, but that’s absolutely ok. Even if they remain, it’s fine, that will make you bhajias even crispier! Wash and change the water several times until you’re satisfied that the grains are clean and remember check for stones if you bought the freshly weighed-out variety.
TIP: To do this, fill Bowl 1 with the grains with water, then take a Bowl 2. Now gently with a side to side swishing motion, pour the grains with their water into the second bowl. Whenever the water starts reducing such that you can see the grains of Bowl 1, spill the water back from Bowl 2l into Bowl 1 and repeat with the swishing until all the grains have been swished into the Bowl 2. Be careful near the end, to check what is remaining in the bowl coz if there are any stones, this technique will help sink them to the bottom of Bowl 1. So you can just scoop them out and chuck them. Repeat a second time just to be sure, coz you certainly wouldn’t want some nasty stones in your yummy bhajias!
After soaking overnight or minimum 5 hours, put the grains in a colander to drip out all the water, then chop one onion roughly, a bunch of coriander sticks only (save the leaves for later), and about 3-4 green chilies if you like them spicy.
Now using a food processor, grind these together to make a rough mixture. Do not add water whilst doing this! Add half a tsp. of garlic paste and 2 tsp. of salt. Mix thoroughly, then before frying add some chopped coriander and some chopped methi (fenugreek). Pick small balls using your fingertips and fry on medium heat until nice and crispy. Drain well on tissue and serve hot.
For the Coconut Chutney:
1 heaping cup grated coconut
1 tsp. salt,
5-10 green chilies (depending on how hot or mild you like it)
3-4 tbsp. grated mango or juice of 1 lemon (you can use both if you prefer it tangier)
water to blend it, not too much…just add a little at a time and try blending until it runs smoothly
Taste and adjust salt and chili according to your taste.
For the Red Chutney:
10 fresh (not dried) red chilies (of course, use more or less according to your taste)
4-5 dates/khajur, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic paste
2 tbsp. tomato sauce/ketchup
1 tsp. sugar
water to blend everything
Put everything in a blender, and blend until smooth. Adjust consistency to suit your preference.
For the Sauce:
2 heaped tbsp. of gram flour
2 heaped tbsp. of atta flour
1000ml (1 liter) of warm water (keep some extra water handy on the side)
½ cup coconut milk (optional)
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp. grated raw mango
juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp. red chili powder
drop of garlic paste
2-3 green chilies
2 potatoes (peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces, then boiled until done)
¼ tsp. turmeric powder
drop of yellow color (optional)
Sieve the flours together, then add a bit of warm water into it and mix to form a paste. Once the paste is smooth, pour it into a big pan, then slowly add the rest of the water a little at a time whilst stirring to incorporate the paste into the water smoothly. Once all the water is added, sprinkle 1 tsp. of salt and the chili powder, green chili, lemon juice plus the garlic paste. Turn on the heat and bring to a slow simmer whilst constantly stirring (this stage is crucial, if you don’t keep stirring, the flour will form lumps). As the mixture starts heating up, it will begin thickening slightly. It’s not supposed to get too thick, so you can add a bit of water if it feels very thick.
Let this simmer for a couple of minutes whilst stirring, then add the grated mango and turmeric powder plus the coconut milk (if you are using it) a little at a time whilst stirring. Adjust salt and chili. Keep simmering the mixture until the raw flour taste disappears. This could take about 20mins or so. Once the raw smell/taste is gone you can then add all the boiled cubed potatoes.
Keep simmering on gentle heat for about 5-10 more minutes, adjust water if it feels like it’s thickening too much. It should be of a medium consistency, not too thick and not too watery. You can add a few drops of yellow color and stir it in if you want more vivid appearance. Once it is to your satisfaction, turn off the heat. Your sauce is ready!
For serving, pour a couple of serving spoons full of the sauce with a few pieces of cubed boiled potatoes into a bowl. Add a few mashed fried potatoes and bhajias into it plus the chutneys. Then sprinkle your potato/cassava shavings on top and serve hot! Very enjoyable with a cold drink on the side.