Belly of the Beast

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Chicken Green Pepper and Black bean sauce Chicken Green Pepper and Black bean sauce Ryan Maidwell

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is that we are doing and devote our attention to eating” – Luciano Pavarotti



It’s a new year (kind of), a new look for, and now a new skyscraper on Harare’s food horizon. FOOD! Glorious Food!!!…. I love the stuff. Forget that it’s a basic requirement in order to stay alive. As far as I am concerned that’s a bonus. Just close your eyes and say these with me… Spaghetti Carbonara, Chicken Korma, Paella, Fillet Mignon…

Each one an exotic, evocative phrase designed to transport your mind and stomach to the far flung corners of this planet.  Each and everyone of us will have a childhood memory, a fond reminiscence, associated with a particular dish or restaurant that will always make you smile. It may, not be the best thing you have ever eaten, it may not be Michelin Starred or Haute Cuisine, but that one place and that one meal will always stay with you. Through this blog, I hope you and I can share our thoughts on Food, whether it’s about buying it, cooking it or eating it, I hope that you enjoy what can be found here, in The Belly of The Beast


Now seeing as most recent memories are easier to remember for my herb encrusted, spice riddled brain. And having recently been to dinner with our monthly dinner club (a fine mix of ethnicities, personalities and food preferences), I thought that a trip to Asia would be a good place to start, and where better than a visit to the magic of The Orient via The Great Wall in Belgravia


So many restaurants in Harare are let down at the very first hurdle, that of handling a booking. Now if you are really clever, this process can be made painless by calling Eatout and letting them do it, (Just thought I would slip that in for you Joe J). I however took care of it personally and was pleasantly surprised that the booking was noted, names correct and table ready on time for a Friday night feast.


I think Asian cuisine in general, whether Chinese, Thai or Indian is purposely designed to boggle the mind with the sheer amount of choices available. However, with a little assistance from a knowledgeable waiter, fourteen of us had made “inspired: choices in a short space of time. Starters range from $3-$5 including the obligatory spring rolls, (Chicken and Veg are my favourite) and a very tasty Wonton Soup. I tried the Garlic Butter Chicken wings which not only tasted fantastic, but also assisted in Mozzie control later in the evening J. Mains range from $6 (a bit steep for Lettuce fried in soy sauce) to $18 for seafood, with chicken and beef dishes averaging around $9. Portions are very generous, and the table was groaning with the mountain of food placed before us. By popular consensus, the wonderfully tasty and succulent Stir fried beef and onions ($9) and the superb Sizzling crispy fried duck ($13) were the dishes of the night. Desserts were all $5, and included fried Bananas, and the trusty fall back, Ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Unfortunately we were all too stuffed to try them. The Great Wall also does takeaways, and its “Cave of Wonders” at the back which sells both ingredients and cookware amongst other things, certainly justifies its popularity.


Now it wouldn’t be right if I tantalized you with pictures and words and didn’t leave you with some way of having a bit of a taste. So below find a recipe for my favourite dish, …. Enjoy!!!!!!!!


Chicken and Green peppers with a black bean sauce



2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons black bean sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube  dissolved in
1/2 cup boiling water
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
2 green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander



Heat a wok over a medium heat until hot, add the toasted sesame oil and heat for about 30 seconds. Stir in garlic and black bean sauce, and season with salt. Add chicken to the wok; cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through. Pour in dissolved chicken stock, cover, and cook for 6 minutes.

Stir in onion, spring onions, and bell pepper, and season with soy sauce and black pepper. Cover, and cook for 8 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture, and stir until sauce thickens. Stir in coriander, and serve.

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