'African' on Serious Eats

Craving Peanut Soup? Head to Saloum in Williamsbridge

When Concourse Village Senegalese restaurant Maryway shuttered some months back, I lost my favorite mafe—a peanut stew— in the Bronx. Rich and savory without being overwhelmingly peanut buttery, Maryway's was one of my favorites in the five boroughs, and, come to think of it, the only one in the Bronx worth seeking out. I've been hunting for a worthy heir ever since, and after months of vain pursuit, I've found one at Williamsbridge's Saloum. More

Spice Hunting: Berbere, Ethiopian Chili Powder

Like niter kibbeh, berbere is used in a bunch of Ethiopian dishes, either as a primary spice or an added layer of flavor. You can think of it like Ethiopian chili powder: a chile-based blend at once earthy, sweet, and hauntingly aromatic, with notes of fragrant cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. It'd be a mistake to say that berbere is a one-stop Ethiopian cooking lesson, but it's a damn good start. One whiff and your sense memories will definitely say, "Ethiopian restaurant." More

Beef Tibs

The sauce in this dish gets its kick from berbere, an Ethiopian chili powder fragrant with cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. Use it once and you'll see why a good chunk of Ethiopian cuisine is built on it. More

Spice Hunting: Harissa, North African Hot Sauce

If you're fan of heat and have harissa on hand, you can move that sriracha from the front of your fridge to second row. Harissa, artfully blended with oil, garlic, and lemon, kissed with cumin and coriander, is a whole different game. It can be as hot or not as you want it to be. And beneath a jolt of sharp, bright chile drums a beat of spice that elevates and compliments instead of overpowers. More

Minneapolis: Camel Burger at Safari Express

Jamal Hashi, the 29-year-old chef/co-owner of Safari Express, introduced the camel burger last year at the East African takeout restaurant Safari Express in the Midtown Global Market. Known as the "king's meat," camel is reserved for weddings and other special occasions in East Africa, said Hashi, who was born in Somalia and came to the United States when he was 11 years old. He decided to offer a camel burger after getting an overwhelming response from Minnesota State Fair goers who were curious enough to try "Camel on a Stick." More

Ebe Ye Yie, Ghanaian Food in The Bronx

There are less than a handful of reasons to hang around Jerome Avenue at the low 180s any time of day—that is, unless you've got a hankering for spicy stews. Home to an exploding population of Ghanaians that is the largest in the States, the Bronx has, in recent years, started to gain traction as a destination for honest, cheap West African food. Though the community is centered on the Melrose-Webster Avenue track, Ebe Ye Yie, just steps from the 183rd 4-train stop, is not far off the beaten track of plantains and palm oil. And it's very much worth the diversion. More

The Vegetarian Option: Buka

When I told my server at Buka that I was a vegetarian, she patiently pointed out the few items on the menu that were appropriate. There are not many options, she said, because Buka specializes in authentic Nigerian food; like many other West African cuisines, it relies heavily on dried fish. But those dishes that are vegetarian are quite filling, due to the other Nigerian staple: yams. We're not talking the orange Thanksgiving sweet potato that supermarkets mislabel as yams, but the large white starchy tubers that serves as the base for many Nigerian dishes. More

Dinner Tonight: Salmon Charmoula

Parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika, garlic—these are the basics of what might be my new favorite sauce. Charmoula is a difficult thing to pin down, as different countries, from Tunisia to Morocco, claim their own versions, but I think of it as a simple variation on pesto or salsa verde with the earthy undertones of North African spices. This particular recipe comes a cookbook called Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal. More

Cook the Book: Somali Sambusas

This recipe for fried pockets stuffed with spiced beef comes from Ilahn Omar, who makes over 100 sambusas each year for Ramadan so that her Muslim friends and relatives have something portable to snack on after sundown. Her trick to being able to put out so many at once? Chinese egg roll wrappers. According to Ms. Omar they taste even better than her homemade dough. More

An Introduction to South African Cuisine

Alright, I'll admit it. I never thought I would be the kind of person to succumb to addiction, but over the past few weeks, well...I've become addicted to the World Cup. Naturally, restaurants across the country are publicizing their extended hours and special menus during World Cup month, but they aren't usually featuring actual South African cuisine. I investigated some of the most traditional and representative dishes: braai, biltong, boerewors, mealie, potjiekos, and bobotie. Learn a little about each. More

Dinner Tonight: Cilantro Chicken (Dhania Chicken)

At first, this Kenyan recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's From Curries to Kebabs seemed like a mad cross between Hainanese chicken rice and Leo Maya's tomatillo chicken. It's a stewed chicken dish with a whole bunch of ginger and garlic, along with way more cilantro than I've ever used for one recipe before. I figured it'd be a perfect spring dish, but I was wrong. It actually comes out tasting like a rich beef stew—a delicious beef-like stew, but still. More

Healthy & Delicious: West African Vegetable Stew

If you asked me ten years ago if I would ever consider becoming a vegetarian, my answer would have been, "Hell no," followed by a string of surprisingly vicious obscenities. You might have cried. And I wouldn't have felt bad about it afterward. But dishes like this West African Vegetable Stew are just as filling and flavorful as meaty ones. Healthy as hell and simple to make, it possesses a wonderful sweet heat and heartiness. More

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