Monday Meal Review: Sierra Leone


Hi Friends!

This week we’re trying something new with our weekly video, combining Ava’s Corner with a brief review from me. I’m a little camera shy, so I thought I’d do something a little silly, like sit in a green chair, in my kitchen. Just because.

Special thanks to my dear husband, Keith (a.k.a. Mr. Picky), for editing our video, as always.

I’d love to hear what you think of this new format in the comments.


xo Sasha & family


Okra & Eggplant Stew [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

While the slick, slippery okra tested me, Mr. Picky and Ava weren’t even phased. In fact, they loved it (they didn’t even know it was in there, actually), which probably had as much to do with the fact that I didn’t make a big fuss (or any fuss, really) about the dish. I simply put it on the table, matter-of-factly.

For Ava, the trick was to give her a piece of the meat ahead of time to nibble, with just a bit of the sauce on it… that was she knew that she’d like it. At the table, I ladled her serving over rice, so it wasn’t as saucy/goopy. At the end of the day, we all liked this stew; the flavor is good and feels like a vegetable gravy (or, as Keith so eloquently called it “cooked vegetable smoothie.”).

What I liked least about this dish:

Keith suggested cutting the meat more finely, so that he could get a piece in every bite. This is a good idea, although it may make it harder to get a good sear early on. If you try this, I’d suggest browning the meat in batches. Another possibility is to go heavier on the meat, so that there’s a higher ratio to the stew.

West African Peanut Bars | Kanya [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Oh, sweet, glorious delight… These kanya are grand. There’s nothing nicer than a treat that’s 1) a conversation starter 2) made with only three ingredients, and 3) naturally gluten free and vegan. The fact that Keith ate almost the entire platter by himself in one afternoon? That just adds to the stellar review. As for Ava, she was a huge fan of serving us with her teeny, tiny spatula. (What good are play things, if you can’t really use them from time to time?)

What I liked least about this dish:

The texture of Kanya is a bit crunchy, thanks to the toasted rice flour, but I think it’s nice. To help wash them down, take a tip from the locals and sip a cup of tea or strong coffee.

Ava ate two and then declared she didn’t care for them. What do I think really happened?

I’m 99% sure she did what any kid would do when faced with good, peanuty treats – she gave herself a belly ache.



Congratulations to Marina, who says:

I would picnic somewhere in Switzerland, in the mountains, on the wonderful green pastures, with sounds of cow bells ringing in the background. It’s so peaceful, and perfect for a nice picnic with my fiance.

We would probably eat sandwiches, with some gourmet things thrown into them. And for drink, we would have the best ice tea ever, it’s some swiss brand, herb mixture and seriously tastes like the nectar of gods.

Oh, and definitely some brownies would be in there :)

Please contact me by February 11, 2013 to claim your prize!


  1. Nice to see and hear you. Looking at you and your
    kitchen I can’t believe its been months since we met even though we are in the same
    neighborhood-life must is hectic for both. Speaking of speaking once you are done
    we hope that you will come and give us the whole review. I show students your
    site and give the update such as possible collaborations with National Geograpic.
    Can’t wait for SL.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Thanks! I’m eagerly awaiting for a cooking lesson from you for SL! Whenever you want… just let me know. As for National Geographic, the book is a go.. and I’m putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, more like it). I’d of course love to come speak to your students.

  2. Donnie says

    You’re a natural! I liked the format where you’re interspersed with Ava. I would also like to hear Ava’s opinion instead of just footage, if that is possible, because she’s just a cutie. 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      Great idea… we’ll see if we can work that in at some point. Thanks Donnie 🙂

  3. Brian S. says

    Hey the slimy stew looks so awesome, do you think it would work with whole chicken legs? Would we just throw the raw legs in and cook for 55 minutes or so, or should we cook the legs first partway to avoid simmering the stew for too long and having it evaporate? Or maybe just sear the raw legs to brown them? Anyway, here’s a band from Sierra Leone to serenade you!

  4. Wow! Awesome about NG! I saw their exhibition last year at the HQ.
    Yes, to SL cooking, it has been so hectic here planning for trips!

  5. Terri Coats-Hamoud says

    I’m in tears! THANK YOU!
    I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone….before Ebola…before the civil war….it’s a WONDERFUL country! My husband was born in “Salone” (as we natives and “almost natives” call it!). We miss the food so much. We cook it when we can get the ingredients.
    This whole article, with recipes and photos, brings happy tears to my eyes.
    I’m sssssooooo glad I found your website. (I was perusing a Food & Wine magazine!)
    I’ve liked you on Facebook and will visit your blog OFTEN!
    Terri Coats-Hamoud
    RPCV/Sierra Leone, 1984-1986

    • Sasha Martin says

      This is so beautiful Terri – thank you for writing… and your enthusiasm! 🙂

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