Spicy Zanzibar Potatoes

We recently tried a delicious Spicy Zanzibar Potatoes (or Mbatata ya Pilipili) recipe taken from the book A Taste Of Zanzibar: Chakula Kizuri by Zarina Jafferji. It was so delicious that I had to make it again right away. This time I gave it my Ama touch to really give it life. It’s not a vegan cook book but there are a number of great vegan dishes here.

Zanzibar, known as the spice Island, is off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. It has a long history and influence from India as well as Arabia and this influence is seen in the food as well as the culture. The warm tropical climate and lush growing conditions are home to mangos, coconut, pineapple, papaya and bananas. The result is spicy and aromatic dishes made with seasonal fruits and vegetables, coconut, rice, cassava, sweet potatoes, beans etc.

I decided to add some more vegetables. I added chopped carrots and some peas. I used fresh tomatoes and garlic in the sauce and added some onions too. The result was a flavorful dish that is a perfect side dish. I’m sure it will be a regular at our table.

spicy zanzibar potatoes

spicy zanzibar potatoes

To start, wash and cut the potatoes in to bite sized pieces. Boil them along with the peas and carrots until soft but not mushy.
Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes, onions and garlic and sauté them in a bit of water for an oil free dish.

Then add the spices and cook until the tomatoes are softened and juicy. You can add water as needed.

Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and stir to mix.

spicy zanzibar potatoes

Spicy Zanzibar Potatoes

Spicy Zanzibar Potatoes
Prep time
Cook/Dehydrate time
Total time
An easy yet very flavorful potato dish from Zanzibar
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: African
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ - 1 cup peas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 plum or Roma tomatoes
  • 1 ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • lemon juice to taste
  • pinch of sugar (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  1. Wash potatoes and peel if desired (I left my with peels on)
  2. Cut the potatoes into small pieces.
  3. Add to pot of water
  4. Chop carrots and add to pot
  5. Add peas
  6. Boil until potatoes are done
  7. Meanwhile, chop onions and garlic
  8. Add to a sauce pan along with a bit of water
  9. Chop tomatoes and add them to the pan
  10. Add the dry spices
  11. Sauté until veggies are soft and the tomatoes are saucy.
  12. Add ¼ cup water if needed
  13. Drain the potatoes
  14. Add the sauce to the potatoes
  15. Add the salt, lemon juice and sugar
  16. Mix well
  17. Taste and adjust seasonings
  18. Garnish with cilantro

Give this recipe a try. I bet it will be hit with everyone at your table whether they are vegan or not!

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

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