We all know Madagascar from the animation movie but what do we know about the actual country. Madagascar was settled best we can tell around 700 AD by people from what is now Indonesia, later by Africans. In 1895 the French came around and left the French language and a couple of great buildings. When they became independent in 1960 it was sudden and ill-prepared for the big change. Because of political incompetence, most Madagascans live on less then 2$ a day. Madagascar used to be rich in natural resources, they have a lot of things other countries want. I have to stress I am not some crazy nature nut but when 90% of a countries jungles and forests are gone something is really really wrong… Luckily the world finally started waking up and are only now making national parks of the scarce nature that is left on the island.
Things you didn’t know about Madagascar:
- Ranavalona I is known by many as Madagascar’s “mad queen”. She started out as the daughter of a commoner, she married the king’s son and when he died, she had the rightful heir murdered, and took the throne herself. During her reign she was brutal, ridding the country of Christian missionaries, ending agreements with France and England, enslaving many of her own people, and sentencing anyone who defied her to death.
- 90% of the wildlife is unique to the island.
- As practicing animists, one of the customs you may still witness today is the funerary tradition of famadihana. Also known as the turning of the bones, this ritual sees Madagascans bring the bodies of their ancestors out of their crypts and dance with them accompanied by music.
- During the 17th and 18th centuries, the golden age of piracy, the island was a haven for pirates thanks to its multitude of secluded coves and the fact that the land wasn’t owned by a European power. It was the ideal place to stop to repair their ships without drawing attention and find fresh food.
This recipe a delicacy from the coast of Madagascar, the way of cooking is soo different from a regular cake. Luckily I love looooove everything coconut and spiced so this cake was a dream for me.
- 200 g of sugar
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 5 tbs + 3 tbs oil
- 450 ml of water
- 250g of wheat semolina
- In a heavy saucepan, make liquid caramel by combining 100 gr sugar and 50 ml water and stirring constantly over medium-high heat until sugar crystals have dissolved and sugar is boiling.
- Let cook without stirring, swirling the pot occasionally, until sugar is golden brown (caramelized). Remove from heat.
- While sugar is cooking, heat coconut milk to boiling in a very large pot then reduce heat to medium.
- Pour liquid caramel into coconut milk slowly, stirring constantly to prevent liquid from boiling over, until both liquids are well-blended together.
- Add vanilla, spices, 2 1/2 tbs oil, 450 ml water and 250 gr semolina. Whisk until batter becomes very thick, then use a large spoon to continue stirring until the mix holds together to form a solid mass that cleans the sides of the pot.
- Pour into a baking dish and spread evenly, then pour 3 tbs oil on top and spread. Preheat oven to 200C.Bake cake in the oven for 20 minutes Make another batch of caramel using 100 gr sugar and 50 ml water. Pour caramel over the cake and spread quickly before the caramel hardens. Let cool before cutting and eating, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.