Eat like a Kenyan, run like a Kenyan, right? Well, maybe. Part of my plan for Vegan Mofo was to try a little monotony by eating the same staple foods according to theme. The problem is I keep changing themes! And trying to keep up with my blogging schedule in the kitchen as worn me out a few times so that I run for the nearest Asian restaurant. I have been missing Asian flavors in a big way.
So tonight? A new dish, Kenyan Black Eyed Peas with a variation of an old favorite and typical Kenyan meal, sukuma wiki. I bought three beautiful bunches of collards at the farmer’s market, so here was the perfect chance to cook the second one. What will the last one be for? Probably sukuma wiki. . .
Kenyan Black Eyed Peas
2 C black eyed peas
salt free seasoning mix (I used Spike)
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C tomatoes, chopped
1-2 T nut butter (peanut butter would be traditional, I used almond butter)
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Cook peas in a pot of water to cover until done, about an hour. About half way through, add salt and/or seasoning blend.
While peas cook, saute onion, garlic for a few minutes then add tomatoes and seasonings. Cook down the tomatoes then add to the peas and heat through. Adjust seasoning, add hot sauce if desired. I thought I had peanut butter, but I did not. The almond butter gave it a nice richness, but not the right flavor. I think chopped peanuts would also suffice, which is what I’ll try next time.
Tonight’s version of Sukuma Wiki used a different mix of peppers from the Farmer’s Market, an Italian yellow pepper and a hot Portuguese pepper. I added mushrooms for a little texture, and some chopped tomatoes.
I served both dishes on top of a staple starch: what else? Ugali! Or in my case, polenta. (from here on out referred to as California Ugali) I garnished the whole dish with a little extra Tabasco and chopped fresh tomato since I had plenty.
OK, so with the black eyed peas as a new dish, I didn’t get the calorie restriction of monotony. But the meal came together quicker and easier because I was able to multitask. The peas cooked while I dawdled online, then I seasoned them and moved on to the polenta, all the while prepping the sukuma wiki. It all just sort of fell together because I had just done it two nights ago. Without always trying to do something new, you can slide into dinner prep like an old pair of jeans. Before I knew it, I had another Kenyan marathon meal on the Training Table. In the end, it wasn’t anything really dramatic, nor did it even seem that Kenyan. It was like Southern inspired dishes I make. Polenta is similar to grits, collards and black eyed peas are popular, and making things spicy is a given. Different continents, same good eatin’. Many thanks to our African-American folk to bring such great dishes across the Atlantic. So why isn’t the Deep South producing runners like East Africa? Ah, there’s more to it than just food . . . Check vegpedlr for the run down on the Kenyan secret. Yup, I got it all figured out and I’ll run it down. Stay tuned.