Seven Ways to Celebrate Easter Beyond Europe
Easter is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth.
Fanesca is a soup made only at Easter – traditionally on Holy Thursday though often enjoyed throughout Easter after traditional processions. The recipe includes salt cod, squash, garlic and spices plus many types of fresh and dried beans and grains. Traditionally twelve types of grains symbolising the twelve apostles of Jesus were used. Chochos, also known as lupini beans, are essential and should be double peeled like fava beans. They can be found worldwide jarred in brine. Side dishes including slices of hardboiled eggs, fried ripe plantain, fresh cheese, hot peppers, onions marinated in lime juice and fried empanadas. Fanesca is usually followed by a dish of Ecuadorian mashed potatoes called molo.
A salt cod stew known as bacalhau, the Portuguese word for cod, is synonymous with Easter in Brazil. The slow cooked dish, introduced by the Portuguese, is a colourful combination of potatoes, tomatoes, red pepper and olives.
Capirotada is a bread pudding with fruit, cloves and cinnamon. The dessert symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus: bread is the body; the cinnamon sticks, the cross; and the cloves, the nails.
There are 33 layers of dough in the Pascualina pie eaten at Easter in Argentina which symbolise each year of Jesus’ life. The dish is derived from a Ligurian recipe in northern Italy. The savoury pie is filled with spinach, artichokes, parsley, ricotta and whole boiled eggs. The latter represents the resurrection of Christ.
Escovitch, a piquant dish made of fried fish marinated in a spicy sauce of white onions, strips of carrot and pepper and chillis. It is served on Good Friday in Jamaica accompanied by white rice and bammy, a traditional flatbread. Easter spice buns studded with raisins and fragrant with nutmeg, cinnamon allspice, enriched with molasses, Guinness and even browning sauce are a Good Friday treat.
Cape Malay pickled fish is a traditional South African recipe especially popular around Easter. It is made with local fish varieties such as snoek and yellowtail cooked in a mixture of aromatic spices including coriander, bay leaf and turmeric and onions and preserved in wine vinegar and sugar. It is served cold accompanied by roti and rice and is deliciously tangy yet sweet.
Easter is an important festival for Christians living in Nigeria and a time for feasting with a constant flow of family and friends. Most traditional is Frejon a coconut, tomato and onion bean soup with sardine fish sauce; jollof rice made with tomatoes, onions, scotch bonnet and chilli partnered with fried chicken and shrimp suya, skewers marinated with a fiery blend of cayenne, sweet paprika, onions, garlic ground peanuts pounded to a creamy texture. For those with room for dessert, puff puff, a fried dough rather like a French beignet rolled in sugar and nutmeg is served.
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