By: Saira Malhotra
Kwanzaa honors the African-American heritage spanning over 7 days from December 26th to January 1st. Conceived in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, this holiday is marked by the following 7 principles, one for each day:
December 26th – Unity
December 27th – Self-determination
December 28th – Collective work and responsibility
December 29th – Cooperative economics
December 30th – Purpose
December 31st – Creativity
January 1 – Faith
This is a festive week for African Americans who acknowledge their ancestors and their journey. The holiday is kicked off with the lighting of the first candle of the 7 holder candle stand, followed by a feast and music. Homes are beautifully decorated with a nod to times past – tables are spread with colorful Kente cloth and the home is accessorized with festive colors of red, green and black.
This month families will be pulling out heirloom traditions and laying out a spread of African, Caribbean and Southern American delights. Why not celebrate Kwanzaa with your family and friends and try out some of these flavorful dishes. Today’s dish uses a vegetable that is reminiscent of Africa – Okra. Believed to have originated in Africa, this vegetable is used in many different dishes, from soups that require its gelatinous contribution to stir fries and deep fried dishes. Kwanzaa commemorates African-American heritage, and it seems more than fitting to pair this vegetable with a leafy green, such as, collards – a green that is synonymous with the South. This dish of okra and greens is a saucy dish that is cooked with chilies and palm butter, lending itself to a spicy and nutty flavor
Spicy Okra and Greens Recipe
Inspired by Congo Cookbook
1 medium onion, diced
3 tbsp grape seed oil
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 lb collards
1 lb of okra
2 cups of palm butter (available at your local ethnic store)
2 whole chili peppers
- Heat grape seed oil and saute onions until translucent.
- Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
- Add the collards, okra, palm butter and chilies. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft.
Photo: 60 in 3
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