Slaai, or tangy avocado slaw (Swaziland)

Swaziland is a small, landlocked country almost entirely cocooned by South Africa. It was formerly a colony of the United Kingdom, now ruled by king Mswati III. The people are mostly Swazis who speak the Bantu language Swazi (also known as siSwati).

Even compared to other African countries, the impact of AIDS in Swaziland has been absolutely devastating. Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world (26% or more) and over half of all deaths are due to AIDS. Its life expectancy has fallen from from 61 years in year 2000 to 32 years, the lowest in the world. I don’t think most people can even fathom these numbers.

The staple starches of Swazi cuisine are sorghum and corn. These and pumpkin, peanuts and beans are often eaten in porridge-like mashes, which may be fermented or made with sour milk. They are served with meat or vegetable stews. Corn on the cob is also popular, as are tomatoes, yams, baobab, greens and dried meat (especially goat meat). They may be seasoned with scallions, garlic, chili, lemon, lime and ginger. Foods may be cooked in palm, coconut or peanut oil. Swazis do eat some seafood too, despite having no coastline.

Did you know that the Dutch word “sla” (for salad/lettuce) is the origin of the English word slaw? (Perhaps this name of this dish is used in South Africa, as Swazis don’t speak Afrikaans?) This simple slaw caught my attention as I am rather fond of avocado. It is possibly the first raw recipe in the history of Vegventures(?) Simple to make and rather tasty. After letting it marinate overnight it tasted quite different from what you would expect from this combination of ingredients, not sure why.

Slaai

Slaai

1 large ripe avocado, cut into large cubes
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
0.5 tsp minced fresh ginger
0.5 tsp salt
1.75 oz/50 g chopped peanuts

Mix all ingredients except for peanuts, tossing gently as not to mash the avocado. Let marinate for 30 minutes, garnish with the peanuts and serve as a salad/accompaniment/side dish.


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