If you are not sure about what Africa Day means and why we celebrate it, please do NOT Wikipedia it! I beg you. There are countless reliable articles on the internet that can help you understand the meaning. Personally, it’s important to recognize and celebrate this historical day while having my own meaning to it. It’s important for me to reflect on our fight against colonialism, whitewashing of our history, how diluted our cultures and traditions became, how African belief systems have been demonized and the erasure of black women in the fight against oppression. It’s all very negative, I confess but I think there’s something toxic about constantly holding a 100% positive attitude about life even when things are not going well. This reflection is necessary for me because it allows me to have an honest view of how far we have come and how far we still have to work while honouring our past and cultivating a better future.
Food is a huge part of who we are. It’s our identity because it tells a story of our cultures, how we lived, how we celebrated and how we expressed ourselves. it’s a symbol of pride. When I make uJeqe nobhontshisi it warms me up and there’s a great feeling of “I’m home” that surrounds me. It’s also important that we hold our traditional cuisines with the same respect we hold for French and Italian cuisine. It upsets me when I hear that international food is “better” than our own and how in culinary schools you don’t learn about our cultural dishes. It’s almost like we are looking down on our own food, therefore looking down on our culture or feeling inferior. We should embrace our heritage and remember our culture and teach the younger generation who we are and where we came from.
For Africa Day I decided to try bring two major African flavours into one dish. West Africa and Morocco. What I’m appreciate about West African food are the rich textures, bold flavours and how so many of their dishes are veggie based. Plus, the play on flavours always inspires me on so many dishes. There’s classics like Egusi soup, Moin Moin, Yassa and of course Jollof Rice. Also. I over love how peanuts are used in so many of their stews and marinades. Morocco on the other hand is a dream to me. Cous cous, preserved lemons, exotic seasoning and tagines. Its ridiculous how I’m can smell the flavours as I’m thinking about them. The peanuts and spiciness are inspired by west Africa, the chickpeas and cinnamon are from Morocco and I had to bring it back home with the spinach and sweet potatoes. This dish represents the huge melting pot of culture that is Africa.
2 cans coconut milk
2 small sweet potatoes
2 spoons peanut butter
1 can chickpeas or two cups cooked chickpeas
1 green pepper
1 red pepper1 small ginger head
1 garlic clove
1 large onion
1 birds eye chilli (or more depending on your taste)
1 handful spinach or baby spinach
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1.Peel (if you desire) and cut you sweet potatoes into small cubes and boil for 15 minutes until slightly tender.
2.In the meantime, fry your chopped onions and Pepper together for two minutes then add your chopped garlic, ginger and chillies.
3.Add your cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper and stir for five minutes
4.Stir in your tomatoes and fry until soft then slowly add your cooked sweet potatoes and chickpeas
5.Continue to stir until well combined and slowly mix in your peanut butter ensuring its well combined
6.Pour your coconut milk until a thick soup forms and then add your spinach and close the lid.
7. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until spinach is cooked
8.When ready to serve, crush your nuts and sprinkle on top mand garnish with coriander.