For black history month, I want to share recipes created by women, black African Women, who live in and near my birth country, Kenya.
I have been exploring recipes from Eastern Africa for several months now because I read the “Food is Power” article written by this brilliant analyst @joekobuthi on the website @africaasacountry
The article opened my eyes and heart. It opened my eyes to see and start connecting that the foods I’ve found to be healing and fortifying for me are foods my ancestors ate in pre-colonial times.
This article opened and filled my heart with more compassion for the deep trauma, intergenerational trauma that emerged when the British, the oppressor in this case, decided to burn down all the native peoples land/food/pasture-raised livestock/homes down.
Knowing this will weaken their ability to fight back, so they, the self-proclaimed “superior ones”, can steal the land from the long-time stewards.
The native stewards that loved the land, communed with it.
Knowing that burning it all down they could force the native stewards out of their sovereign livelihoods and enslave them on the land that was stolen from them to grow different crops, cash crops to continue to build the British empire.
What the native stewards used to grow, was forced further out of existence, as many were indoctrinated with the idea that the ways they lived including what they ate made them “inferior.”
This practice of cooking recipes created by black African women and “decolonizing these dishes” has been so healing for me, and illuminated the many ways the trauma still lives in me.
This first recipe is called Digaag Qumbe, is a chicken stew from Somalia that we have been enjoying and making regularly these last winter days because it is so freaking delicious and comforting! It’s created by Hawa Hassan in the book she created with Julia Turshen and the grandmothers of the eight African countries touching the Indian ocean, “In Bibi’s Kitchen” cookbook. Buy this book, it’s a gem!
I intentionally decolonize and celebrate this dish by…
Making it with Local Pasture-Raised Chicken Thighs – Conventional raised is not only unethical, it is also infused with the energy of oppression and dominion.
Eliminating the yogurt by adding more coconut milk with a little vinegar. Pasteurized milk is not like the raw milk my ancestors used, the closest I can get where I am now is coconut milk. Adding a little apple cider vinegar to coconut milk curdles it so it functions like yogurt.
Used coconut oil (sometimes pasture-raised tallow or ghee) instead of canola oil. Canola oil is highly processed and inflammatory. Coconut oil, tallow, lard, ghee are all oils that have been made for years before colonization. I think palm oil also but I don’t know much about this oil’s use and method of extraction.
Swapped the potatoes with white sweet potatoes or daikon radish. Potatoes in general spike my blood sugar levels leaving me tired/low energy after an hour or two of eating, in excess they also irritate my joints.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Xawaash Spice Mix
¾ teaspoons cinnamon, ground
2 tablespoons cumin, ground
2 tablespoons coriander, ground
1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns, ground
¼ teaspoons cardamom, ground
¼ teaspoons clove, ground
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric, ground
4 tomatoes chopped
2 red, yellow, or orange, bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup unrefined coconut oil
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 medium onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
4 cups white sweet potatoes, daikon radish, or butternut squash chopped
2 lbs pasture-raised chicken thighs ( skin and bones in for more nutritional benefits but if you don’t want the skin and bone in boneless chicken thighs will work well too)
Handfuls of cilantro leaves (optional)
Cooked rice, or other whole grain for serving (optional, can be served as is as well)
- First you’ll measure and lightly toast the spice blend (Xawaash Spice Mix) on a cast iron skillet, or skillet you have on medium heat for 2 minutes. Keep stirring and make sure the spices don’t burn. You want it to be fragrant. Remove pan from heat and turn off the burner.
- Then you want to grab your blender and pour in all the ingredients for the sauce mix, pause the blender and add in the spice blend into the sauce mix and blend until smooth, thick, and creamy.
- Pull out your largest soup pot and add coconut oil in the pot and turn heat to medium high to melt oil and heat pot.
- Now add the onions and sauté for 10 mins until it’s a little caramelized. Then add ginger and garlic and sauté for another 3 mins.
- Now add sauce, chicken thigh, sweet potatoes. Stir and cover to cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium.
- Once done, let it rest for 10 min before serving ( sweet potatoes can be dangerously hot) then serve with a whole grain of your choice, or as is, with a side of cooked greens, or a bread of your choice.