All posts filed under: Mali


Monday Meal Review: Mali

THE SCENE I drop the Maasa batter into the hot pan, wiping the tears from my cheeks. I want to be somewhere else, away from this terrible, no good day. It’s been one of those days I sigh to the cat, Malky. Now, as the batter puffs up into a crispy, golden disc, my focus slowly shifts from my frustrations to the smells and sights in front of me. My mouth waters. My stomach does a summersault. I flip the Maasa and realize these pancake-donut treats were going to be g-o-o-d. My phone rings. I wait. I hesitate. I shouldn’t answer.  But I do. Another silly argument about the same old drama. Predictably, the tears come back. As I lose focus, I burn the Maasa. A few minutes later I hang up the phone and sigh. If I can’t create peace in my own, tiny life, how can I expect it for the entire world? I flip the vent hood on. I scrape the pan. Time to start again. This time I won’t answer the phone. There’s nothing …

Read More

Vanilla Ginger Bissap

Most days I drink three cups of tea. Sometimes more. Every day, at about the same time, I’m ready for my evening cup of deliciousness. Usually the sun has dipped below the horizon, lending a hazy glow to the darkening sky, and I desire little more than to sneak under a soft throw on the couch. With every sip I slip away. This is when I unwind. This is when I daydream. Even if I drink the same tea all day long, this cup tastes different. This cup is therapy. During these calm evenings, I almost always want hot tea although sometimes – in the sweaty heat of Oklahoma summers, I crave a tall glass of cold tea outside, in the warm evening breeze. Today’s recipe for bissap enjoyed in Mali (and west Africa in general), easily satisfies both those cravings. Whether hot or cold, the flavor is bright, fruity, with a punch of ginger smoothed out by a slinky splash of vanilla. We’ve made pineapple bissap before, but today’s recipe is a totally different experience – softer, more …

Read More
Photo of mosque in Timbuktu by KaTeznik

Mali’s Gluten-free “Pancake Doughnuts” | Maasa

Sometimes waking up to pancakes just isn’t enough. Sometimes I want to travel to Africa all in a single morning – all the way to Timbuktu – and be home in time to take my daughter to the park. And then I want a doughnut. Is that too much to ask? I think not. Enter our hero – today’s recipe for the eager stovetop traveler – Maasa. Maasa is a special gift for our gluten-free stovetop travelers. (Hi, there. I hope you are hungry!) Every once in a while I happen upon a recipe that is naturally gluten-free. First, there were the quesadillas from El Salvador (super yum and award-winning, by the way). This week we’re going gluten-free with Maasa – a sweet treat from Mali made with rice flour and millet flour, the two most common grains in the region. Maasa is served fresh from roadside stands, hot from shimmering oil and blanketed in a cozy layer of powdered sugar. One bite in, and you’ll see why I couldn’t settle on a name; this is a yeasty, …

Read More

Menu: Mali

Question: What does Supergirl, a tea party, and gluten free food all have in common? They all make an appearance during this week’s Malian Global Table. That’s pretty epic. And oddball. The perfect combination, if you ask me. I kept things simple this week, as I’m still recovering from last week’s surprise birthday celebration for my mom. What sounds good to you? Recipe: Mali’s Gluten-free “Pancake Donuts” (Maasa) [Recipe] Made with millet and rice flours and topped with a flurry of powdered sugar, this addictive snack comes from Mali’s street vendors. To be honest, I couldn’t decide what to call it. I finally settled on Pancake Donuts. I don’t know what else to say. The name speaks for itself. Mega. Vanilla Ginger Bissap [Recipe] Hibiscus tea with smooth vanilla undertones and a bit of snap from fresh, grated ginger. Sweetened to taste, this will take you to your happy place. *All recipes and the meal review will be posted by Monday morning.

Read More

About the food of Mali

Mali is a dusty daydream away, down a lazy river, where dotted villages slip by, one by one, until forever. Of course, my first encounter with Mali wasn’t nearly so romantic, once I dug into the details. You see, I was watching a video on YouTube. When I read the caption I about fell over.  Here is what it said: “This footage was taken on a 3 day trip from Mopti to Timbuktu on a cargo pinasse. No stopping. No toilets. No beds. You should try it.” Wowzers. Talk about a challenge, considering there’s a half dozen other people on the boat (at least). No privacy and incredibly unusual circumstances – there seems to be an open fire in the bottom of the boat, where fufu is being prepared over gently undulating pools of water. Quite the travel experience. Located in the heart of West Africa, straddling the meandering Niger River, Mali has very different food in the north as compared to the south. In both areas, a wide assortment of sauces are the staple …

Read More