Friday, December 7, 2012

Angolan Food: Mukua

Mukua is the traditional Angolan dried fruit from the emblematic baobab tree. The fruit has a hard shell like a coconut and is a whole food, which is naturally dried on the baobab tree, resulting a ready to consume powder containing typically 8-12 % water.

Inside the hard shell are seeds, which are coated with whitish powder, which is the fruit pulp. The white globules seen in the photograph are the pulp with a dark seed inside. The globules are surrounded by red fibers, which are very high in certain nutrients.

The ivory-colored first pulp contains very high amounts of vitamin C, and contains significant amounts of calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals. In addition, baobab is loaded with natural dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. This makes it a healthy whole fruit supplement, as well as helps to add texture when added to other foods. 

In Angola, mukua, the dried baobab fruit is a popular food source. The fruit pulp is commonly sucked, or chewed in its fresh state or used to add to sauces after cooking, or as a supplement to mix with staple food such as corn meal and cassava.

When ground into a powder, it is easily water dispersible and  commonly made into a drink when mixed with water or milk, either with or without sugar.  The pulp has an acidic, almost citrusy taste, which makes a good and refreshing base for smoothies or other cold drinks.

Other uses for baobab pulp include using it as a hair rinse, milk curdling agent and a substitute for cream of tartar, among other things. When burned, it is a good repellent for cattle flies.  (excerpts from www.

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