Get In My Belly

When we were preparing to leave the United States, we suspected that Mexican would be the food that we missed most. We were right. A few weeks ago we made Mexican food, or at least as close to Mexican as you can get in Tanzania! We made quesadillas with rice and beans on the side. We topped it all off with plain yogurt and guacamole, our favorite! The beans were not as good as we have in the U.S. (and for sure not as good as in Mexico!!) because we had to use kidney beans. At the time, we were not aware of any beans that were similar to pinto or black beans, so we decided that kidney beans would have to do. The tortillas are frozen and imported from somewhere, and they are delicious! They don’t sell sour cream here so we substitute with plain yogurt, which we often do in the U.S. anyway.

The rice was an incredible adventure! When we first arrived to Moshi we bought rice from the store that Rich and Barb (and now we) always shop at. We came home and found small black bugs crawling around in the bag! We threw the rice away and thought that was something we would have to do without in Tanzania. We soon discovered that Rich and Barb had the same experience. We asked our Tanzanian friends how they get the black bugs out of the rice. They started at us with puzzled faces and said that they didn’t know what we were talking about. They proceeded to tell us that we should buy rice from the central market because none of the locals buy packaged rice and therefore the rice in the stores is probably old. The women said that we have to smell and feel the rice to know it is good. We told them that they would have to teach us; although, we are not convinced we are this skilled! In the meantime, our friend bought us four kilograms of good rice. We prepared it and we think there is something to “good” rice. It is delicious!

Beans and Rice (this made enough for 4 meals for us!)

3 cups of rice

4.5 cups of water

8 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 small red onions, chopped (the onions here are VERY small, so maybe 1 medium in the U.S.)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T. cumin

1 T. coriander

1 tsp. olive oil

1 can kidney beans

Boil the water. Add the chopped tomatoes and let boil for 3-5 minutes (to kill the bacteria over here!). Add the rice, cumin, and coriander and reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil. When they are close to being lightly browned, add the kidney beans to warm them. When the water is reduced from the rice mix everything together.


4 tortillas

Some cheese

Throw the cheese in the tortilla, toss it in a pan and let it brown on both sides. Enjoy!


If you want this recipe, you’ll have to twist John’s arm! John says that he does not have proper authorization from his father to disclose the secret family recipe to the world…at least not yet!


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