One of our stops during the shoot of Deco’s Travel feature in Tanzania, was The Emerson Rooftop Teahouse in Stonetown, Zanzibar. Whilst we enjoyed the traditional Arabic and African music of the Dhow Countries Academy, the welcoming staff at Emerson had us sample a selection of the Persian-inspired recipes served in the Teahouse. See the latest issue on shelf for more information, but in short – this was some of the best food we tasted on our travels, and they were kind enough to share the recipes with us. So take a trip with your tastebuds to East Africa and follow the easy recipes for satisfaction guaranteed.

Butternut Tagine
Serves 8 people

2 large onion, thinly sliced
8 tbsp vegetable oil
100 g butter
1,5 kg peeled butternut, cut into small pieces
1 chilli, thinly sliced
8 tbsp chopped parsley
2 bayleaf
6 cardamon pods
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
Large pinch of saffron
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper
Vegetable stock (or water)
300 g dried apricots, chopped
8 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
4 tbsp cashewnuts, roasted and roughly chopped

Fry onions for 10 minutes. Add butternut and cook for 5 minutes. Add cardamom, ground coriander, turmeric, saffron, cinnamon sticks, honey, salt and pepper. Pour in vegetable stock, cover pan and cook for 15 minutes. Add dried apricots and cook until sauce thickens. Add chopped coriander and cashew nuts.

Green Papaya Salad

l pc Papaya
1/4 cup Green Beans
1/2 cup Cashew Nuts
0.5kg Tomato Shells
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
1pc Fresh Chilli

For the Sauce:
1tbs Fish Sauce
1/2 tbs Olive Oil 2tbs Lemon Juice 1 tbs Honey

Peel & grate the papaya Steam the green beans Crush the cashew nuts. Skin the tomatoes and cut into small pieces Chop the basil & chilli together. Mix everything to make a salad Mix the sauce ingredients together.Drizzle the sauce on top

Panfried Red Snapper with Harissa & Rose
Serves 2 to 4 people


3tbsp harissa paste
1 tsp ground cumin
4 red snapper fillets
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
100 ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 ½ tbsp honey
1 tbsp rose water
60 g raisins
2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander


Mix harissa paste with the ground cumin. Spread all over fish and leave in fridge for two hours. Dust fish in flour and fry in olive oil for TWO MINUTES each side. Take fish out of pan and put on the side. Using the same pan, add the onions and cook for 8 minutes on low heat. Add vinegar, cinnamon, salt & pepper and the water. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add honey, rose water & raisins and cook for 2 minutes then check for seasoning. When ready to serve, put fish back in the pan, cover with sauce and cook for THREE MINUTES. Add chopped coriander.

Massaman Goat Curry
Serves 2 to 4 people


2kg goat, cut into cubes
5 Cups chicken or beef stock
1 cup diced onion
6 bay leaves
4 potatoes, cut into chunks
2 whole star anise
1 cup fresh basil

For the curry sauce:

2 small pieces ginger, grated
10 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemongrass, minced
2 red chill, sliced
1/2 cup chopped unsalted cashews (and a few more for garnish)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp white pepper
2 tso tumeric
1/2 tsp cardamon
2 tsp tamarind juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp fish sauce
1 litre coconut milk


Place stock in a large pot over high heat. Add the meat, onion and bay leaves. Add the upper leftover lemongrass stalk pieces. Bring to boil then reduce to low, until you get a nice simmer. Cover or partially cover with a lid and simmer 40 to 80 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender. Add all curry sauce ingredients, stirring with each addition. Also add the potatoes and whole star anise. Return to boil, then continue simmering 30 more minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally. Tast-test the curry, adding more fish sauce for increase flavor/saltiness or more chill for spice. If too sour, add sugar. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. Transfer to a serving bowl, or plate up on individual plates. Top with a few more cashews and fresh basil.

Emerson Hurumzi, 236 Hurumzi, Stonetown, Zanzibar