Mamajuana, the Dominican aphrodisiac myth
Experts explain that when we eat not only incorporate into our body the nutrients needed to continue living; but also take in a range of social, historical, cultural or identity elements. This is the complexity and richness of the eating act.
Among all these areas, perhaps the most poetic, most dreamlike is the symbolic dimension and it is that food is a privileged scenario for magical perception, that is, when we are eating we believe that food values and qualities are also added. Although this is not an anthropology class, I will say that in the Dominican gastronomic scene, a product that is really full of symbolism is the famous “mamajuana”.
Word of uncertain origin, some ensure it comes from a Taíno tisane, others associated it to African quackery; it seems that its name comes from these glass carafes of short neck and covered with wicker. In France they were called “dame Jeanne” that Dominican ingenuity translated into “mamajuana”. Its ingredients are what make it unique. Although there are as many variations as “mamajuaneros” teachers, the marabelí, the timacle, the indian benjuco stick of brazil, canelilla, the root of coconut or palm cannot miss. They are called “herbs” to which other unusual ingredients are added such as clams, conch, octopus, some oysters or shark cartilage.
But what really makes the mamajuana exceptionally attractive, what triggers the imagination and puts in an aphrodisiac dimension -almost lustful - is the penis of a turtle, hawksbill genital member. Such a substance very allusive and symbolic provokes the popular imagination and becomes a “miracle drink”.
Since the mamajuana cheers up the spirit and – as blue pillsguarantees and strengthens sexual potency. Certainly the wine, honey and rum used to macerate everything and the great ruby color that concoction acquires, also play their role.
Now I want to propose a new scenario for mamajuana to make it the essential ingredient of our dishes. Here is a menu full of sensuality and power to live the authentic Dominican dream.
Brochette with Sautéed kidney bean, Shrimp and Mamajuana
We Will Use:
For brochette:4 slices of toasted country bread.
For the Sautéed:virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 16 peeled shrimp, 4 cups of cooked white beans, ¼ cup of mamajuana, 2 tablespoons of mixed chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Leaves of mixed herbs.
For oil:1 cup of mixed herbs, ½ cup of virgin olive oil, salt.
For Sautéed:: put the fry pan on to heat with oil to brown the garlic, add the shrimp and sauté lightly. Add the beans and sauté; add salt and pepper and flambé with mamajuana. Cook over a high heat until liquid evaporates and add the mixed herbs previously chopped
For oil:: put herbs and oil together and crush. Put the sautéed over the bread base alternating with the small leaves of mixed herbs. At the end, spread oil lightly.
Mamajuana Teriyaki with Couscous
We Will Use:
For mamajuana teriyaki: ½ cup of soy sauce, 1/3 cup of mamajuana, 6 tablespoons of honey
For pork and vegetables: 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil, ½ chopped onion, ¼ red pepper, ½ eggplant, 1 carrot, 1 ½ lb pork tenderloin, pepper, ½ cup of teriyaki mamajuana.
For the couscous:1 ½ cup of Israeli couscous, 2 cups of vegetable broth, salt
For teriyaki mamajuana: put all together in a saucepan and boil until get a syrup-like consistency.
For pork and vegetables: cut vegetables and dice the pork. Sauté onion in oil, add the vegetables and sauté, add the pork and fry lightly. Add the teriyaki sauce to fill well. Add salt and pepper.
For couscous: cook couscous in the broth.
Zabaglione of Mamajuana with Red Fruits
We Willl Use:
For sautéed fruit: 1 tablespoon of butter, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2 cups of red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries), ¼ cup of mamajuana.
For zabaglione: 4 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 8 tablespoons of mamajuana, 1 tablespoon of water.
For sautéed fruits: heat the butter in a fry pan, add red fruits and sugar. Add the mamajuana and cook until getting thick consistency.
For zabaglione: put egg yolks and sugar together in a metal bowl, beat them with electric mixer a heat in a bain-marie (don’t let boiling). Gradually add a tablespoon of water and mamajuana until obtaining a frothy and smooth cream. Put in the cup the sautéed fruits and place the zabaglione on them. The finishing touch is fresh red fruits.