“ Looking out over Stonetown at dusk, bustling Zanzibar seemed to pause for a moment - a time space of perfect peace. Then the lights started flickering on behind the shuttered windows and the heady fragrance of frying spices rose in the air. Zanzibar was weaving its fragrant spell...”
Salt, sesame seed, fennel, coriander, black pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, ginger, clove, garlic, onion, star anice.... The ideal spice blend for slow-cooked or braised dishes of lamb, young goat, chicken or pork. Rub onto meat coated with a little oil - leave to marinade for an hour or two before grilling. Dry-fry a generous grinding before adding to couscous with slivers of almond and dried apricots, or a potato and onion bake.
Note: Zanzibar has aquired a cult following... from a Cafe in Nice where customers break out in a near riot when they don't have their regular 'fix' of Zanzibar, to individuals all over the world who are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to get their hands on their Zanzibar Spice... it is a fascinating blend.
If SWEET POTATOES have a flavour friend, it is most definitely Zanzibar Island Spice.
Pre-heat the over to 160°C. Slice a few well scrubbed sweet potatoes on a mandolin. Lay the slices out on a cooling rack. Grind some Zanzibar Island Spice onto the slices before placing the rack in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 120°C, put a wooden spoon into the door to let out the moisture and let the crisps dry for an hour or two. They make an excellent snack with a lime dip, or use them as a garnish on sweet potato soup:
Fry 2 tsp ground Zanzibar Island Spice in a little sunflower oil and add to a large pot with 2liters of light vegetable stock on a medium heat. Add 3 medium white onions, peeled and halved, 2 cloves of garlic (peeled), 2 medium orange sweet potatoes peeled and roughly chopped - boil 30-45 min, blend with a stick blender and serve with a swirl of plain yogurt, chopped fresh coriander and sweet poato crisps.