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Greens with Veggies & Peanuts | Kisamvu

When my neighbor Jonathan told me he craves Kisamvu for weeks after his visits to Tanzania, I knew I had to try it. Kisamvu is just another word for cassava leaves, but Jonathan tells me he uses spinach whenever he’s in the states and the taste is a very good approximation. Jonathan gave me the very recipe they use at the orphanage he visited in Tanzania, called the Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children. While there, he films documentary footage to help promote the good work they JBFC does with his production company called RTC Pictures… What a fun gig! Now about that recipe… There are no exact measurements, although I did have the pleasure of watching the “Mamas” make a huge batch of kisamvu in his video footage (Mamas are the ladies in charge of the children). They do everything from build and stoke the kitchen fires (which are built under three large stones. The stones hold the pot). They also chop wood and cook the food. And the food comes straight from their gardens, moments …

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Peanut Stew with Beef & Spinach | Combo

Combo. It’s one of South Sudan’s most popular dishes – a thick, wet combination of spinach, peanut butter, tomatoes, and (sometimes) meat. Peanut butter is a common meal component throughout Africa (like Ghana’s Groundnut Soup, Sierra Leone’s Gluten-free Peanut Bites, Senegal’s Cinq Centimes Cookies, and Malawi’s Peanut Balls), but Combo stands out as one of the more rustic dishes I’ve come across. Even still, South Sudanese no longer living in South Sudan make Combo to bring themselves back. That’s how they taste home again. Combo first came to my attention thanks to Brian Schwartz who kindly phoned the South Sudanese embassy to ask about popular dishes. Thanks Brian! You can have it with or without beef (or perhaps goat is more to your fancy?). I’ve even seen it with sweet potatoes in the mix. No matter what you do, just be sure to include the essentials: spinach and peanut butter. Adapted from the South Sudanese Cookbook. Ingredients: 1 1/4 lb beef, cubed vegetable oil 2 onions, chopped 4 garlic cloves, crushed 3 cups beef stock …

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Samoan Coconut Creamed “Spinach” | Palusami

Oh, boy. I honestly never thought this would happen. Me. Canned meat. Together at the table. At the Global Table. When I decided to cook a meal for every country in the world, I had visions of exotic spices laced throughout grand feasts of epic proportions. I imagined a variety of fresh herbs, carefully plucked from a garden somewhere. Canned corned beef, never really popped up in these daydreams. But, when Soraya the Samoan suggested I try Palusami, I quickly learned the time had come to eat canned shaped meat. I sidestepped this challenge for as long as I could but throughout Polynesia, canned corned beef is a fact. A much loved staple. I could have cooked it for Fiji, or Nauru, or Kiribati, or Palau, and on and on. But I didn’t. Some of you even egged me on. But I just couldn’t face it. Until now. Until Samoa. Today we finally cracked open a can for their version of creamed spinach called Palusami. Coconut creamed spinach. The irony is, of course, that the recipe is just …

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Bibimbap

Today is my late brother’s birthday – he would have been 34 and into who knows what kind of trouble. No joke. I like to think that, if he were here, he’d take a break from his ornery ways and we’d eat this sizzling Korean specialty together. As it cooked in front of us – at the table – we’d celebrate him with big bursts of goofy laughter. Bibimbap is perfect for celebrating superstars – like him. Like you. Sure, there are days when we don’t feel like superstars. When everything seems heavy and ordinary. But that’s when we can look around with fresh eyes – when we can find the sparkle on a mud puddle or see the sensual curves of a gnarly pumpkin. Or when we can make a beautiful meal out of plain, ol’ leftovers (the original purpose of bibimbap). Our endless capacity for optimism and creativity is what makes us superstars. All of us. We just need to tap into it. When was the last time someone told you that you’re a superstar? A bright …

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Oil Down with Yucca

Serves 6 Stressed out? Time for a Caribbean Oil Down – and I don’t mean massage. This heavy duty dish is made by stewing cassava or bread fruit in coconut milk and curry. The result is a thick, indulgent stew worthy of any party. Our version is vegan, but pork bits are typical. With such rich ingredients, Oil Down seems more suited to a ski slope than a beach party, but, still, Grenadians eat this dish in their bathing suits. Brave, brave people. Oil Down is so rich that you may be able to stretch this one pot dish a lot further than six people. Especially if said people are teeny weeny or even tall, yet thin. The stew gains its richness thanks to the coconut milk which is a defining feature of this popular Caribbean meal. Serve with rice. Ingredients: 3-4 yucca/cassava, about 2 lbs 3 carrots 2 stalks celery 1 onion vegetable oil 1 Tbsp curry powder 1 whole hot pepper, optional 2 cans coconut milk (about 31/2 cups) 2 cups water salt …

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West African Spinach with Groundnuts | Peanut Butter

Serves 4 I’m not sure why this idea seemed so strange to me. West Africans love greens with peanut butter (they call them groundnuts), and I should have never doubted them. The earthy peanuts stand up to the mighty bitter spinach. It balances out nicely with the sweet peppers, but spicy would work wonderfully as well. If you can pick up the spinach and onions from your farmer’s market, I highly recommend it. The fresh flavors will crunch and zip and smile inside your mouth. Ingredients: peanut oil (or regular) 3 green onions, sliced 1 lb fresh spinach 1 red bell pepper 1/4 cup natural peanut butter 1/2 cup water salt pepper or cayenne Method: I was just so happy the farmer’s market opened up for business the same day we cooked The Gambia. Look at these green onions and the healthy, sultry spinach. That’s right. I said sultry. Cook the pepper in hot peanut oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t have any) Add in peanut butter and water. Stir to combine into a …

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Spinach Bhaji | Palong Shaak Bhaji

Serves 4 The haunting spice of the panch phoron (fennel seed, mustard seed, black nigella, golden fenugreek and brown cumin seed) really makes this dish unique. Panch phoron is not blended into a powder. Instead the seeds are added whole, creating a subtle crunch. Very tasty variation on spinach. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 3 green chili peppers 1 small onion sliced thinly 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tsp panch phoron 1 lb chopped, frozen spinach 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper Method: 1. Heat the oil in a skill over medium-high. Add chili and toast for 2 minutes. 2. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and panch phoron. Spices will start to pop and crackle when ready. 3. Add spinach, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld. Votes: 1 Rating: 5 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe The haunting spice of the panch phoron (fennel seed, mustard seed, black nigella, golden fenugreek and brown cumin seed) really makes this dish unique. Panch phoron is not …

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