Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sukuma Wiki: Kenyan Braised Kale with Tomatoes

Sukuma Wiki is a Swahili phrase meaning, depending on how you translate it, "week-pusher," "push the week," or "stretch the week." Hearty leafy greens such as collards or kale are a staple of even the most frugal diet in the rural communities of Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, and other African nations. They're readily available, and can be found in the most basic garden, so they're often used when other supplies have run out or meat is scarce. Sukuma Wiki can be found in many forms. Sometimes it's highly spiced, in the Indian-influenced cuisine of East Africa, or sometimes it's a very plain and basic dish of greens, with nothing but oil and a little onion to round out the flavours. This light and healthy Kenyan version features kale, onion, tomatoes and a smattering of fragrant spices, and provides the perfect accompaniment to rich and delicious West African Mafé with Peanut Sauce.

A robust head of kale

The head is chopped into 1-inch pieces

One onion and two tomatoes diced

The diced onion is sautéed in a tablespoon of oil for 8 minutes over medium-high

Turmeric, ground cumin and coriander are added

Then diced tomato is added to the mixture...

....and sautéed for 2 minutes

The chopped hale is added a handful at a time...

...and one all the kale is added it's stir-fried for 10 minutes then served!

Sukuma Wiki (African Braised Kale with Tomatoes)
Serves 4

1 pound kale or collard greens
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
1 large white onion 
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 lemon, juiced - about 3 tbsp

Chop the kale into rough 1-inch pieces, including the ribs. Roughly chop the tomatoes. If desired, reserve about 1/4 cup fresh tomato pieces for garnish. Peel and dice the onion.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pot, or a large wok. When it is hot, add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the onion is getting soft, stir in the cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the greens one handful at a time, stirring constantly to coat them with the onions, oil, and spices. When they have all been added, sprinkle the salt and a generous amount of fresh pepper over them and stir.

Pour in 1/4 cup water, cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender to your taste. For a more toothsome texture, cook them for about 10 minutes. Once done, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and toss the greens with the lemon juice. Serve hot, garnished with a little extra tomato, if desired.