Despite of having variety foods in Zanzibar, one of the most famous and delicious food is Urojo (also known as Zanzibar Mix), this is the best street-foods preferred by many people in the Coast zone, especially in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam region in East Africa.
The Urojo 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.
Anyone who has been to Tanzania notably in Zanzibar probably knows this delicious dish by eating or seeing people enjoying the food; as it is sold on almost all the street corners! But the food always available at the Forodhani Gardens, which are a small park of the historical city of Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania. The gardens are located along the main sea-walk of Stone Town, just in front of the most famous buildings of Stone Town.
Forodhani gardens in Zanzibar
Making this dish is a bit of a process, whereby a cook first need to prepare these toppings: Bhajias, Mashed Potatoes, Red and Coconut Chutneys first before making the Urojo sauce to which can be added in a few mashed fried potato, then sprinkle with some potato/cassava shavings.
Every warm spoonful of this delectable dish is filled with flavour and spice and you are guaranteed to slurp down the bowl in record time!
Ingredients: Urojo Sauce (The “Mix”)
2 heaped tbsp. gram flour
2 heaped tbsp. atta flour
1000ml (1 litre) warm water (keep some extra water handy on the side)
1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
salt to taste
2–3 tbsp. grated raw mango
juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp red chilli powder
drop of garlic paste
2–3 green chillies
2 potatoes (peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces, then boiled until done)
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
drop of yellow colour (optional)
Soak the cowpeas and daal, for about 5 hours, preferably overnight.
Wash and sieve out as much peel as you can, Change the water several times until the grains are clean and check for stones.
Drain the grains, then pour into a food processor, adding in some green chillies, one onion and some coriander sticks.
Grind to make a rough mixture, add in ½ tsp. of garlic paste and some salt, do not add water to the mixture . Mix thoroughly, then add in some chopped coriander and some chopped methi.
Place a pan of oil and heat on low setting,using your hands as a funnel, drop small balls.
Blend the ingredients for the coconut chutney and set aside, repeat the same process for the red chutney.
Pour the 5 the water in a pot, place the pot on a stove and let it simmer.
Now put the flour in a container, add some water and mix well to make a thick batter, until smooth.
Once the water comes to a simmer, add the flour batter slowly and mix well to avoid any lumps.
Immediately add the, salt, lemon juice, red chili powder, green chilli, garlic paste, turmeric powder, yellow food colour if you chose to use it and mix well. Turn on heat and bring to a slow simmer whilst constantly stirring so no lumps are formed.
Keep stirring and mixing for at least 25 minutes until you don’t taste the rawness of the flour.
You need the mixture to have some thickness to it but if you find the mixture to be too thick, add some water.
Now add the cubed potatoes and cook on low for a few minutes. Taste for salt.
How the chef can prepare the sauce.
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 chilli powder, green chilli, 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 chilli. Keep simmering the mixture until the raw flour taste disappears. This could take about 20 mins 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 colour 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.