The cuisine of Madagascar is one of the most interesting in the world and is influenced by French, Indian, African and Arabic cultures. The meals don’t really resemble the staple foods you see in most African countries, with the exception of gigantic portions of rice. Typical flavors incorporate generous usage of ginger, onion, garlic, curry powder, vanilla, lime juice and local vegetables.
Edible green leafy vegetables abound, lending themselves nicely to what is the country’s national dish: Romazava. Available meat and poultry, like chicken or the locally prevalent cattle zebu, supplement the dish and create a one-course meal. Chilies and ginger give the dish some kick, and the spicy dish that results is a great foil to Madagascar’s tropical climate.
It was first served at feasts in the 1800s before the French colonization of the country, and although most dishes from this period are starting to fall by the wayside and are much less prevalent, romazava remains a part of the current diet.
It is a one-pot dish, usually eaten with rice for lunch or dinner. The basic ingredients are beef, pork and chicken cut into equal-size cubes, chopped onions, tomatoes, spinach and crushed garlic. The beef, pork and chicken cubes are seasoned with salt and pepper, then sautéed in a small amount of peanut or vegetable oil. The remaining ingredients are added and cooked until the meat and vegetables are tender.