The cuisine of Honduras is a delightful fusion of Central American, Mesoamerican (Lenca), Spanish, Caribbean, African, and Garifuna cuisines; a product of its own roots and a marriage of cuisines that it came in historic or geographic proximity with. The dishes, whether savory or sweet, are rich in flavor and use ingredients that are locally grown or sourced. This month’s dish, Honduran Yucca cake, features some quintessential Honduran ingredients, including yucca (cassava) and coconut milk. Somewhat reminiscent of a tres leches cake in that this recipe also uses three kinds of “milk,” coconut, evaporated and condensed, the yucca cake is vastly different in texture and taste as it uses grated yucca as the “flour.” It is almost less cake and more like a bread (zucchini bread comes to mind), if you will. Extremely flavorful, due to the mix of spices used, and somewhat decadent, a slice of this cake would be perfect with coffee as an evening snack or as dessert. Details
Uganda is known as the “fruit basket” of East Africa and is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in Sub-Saharan Africa. Leaning into this abundance, Ugandan desserts rely heavily on fruits. During the hotter months of the year, fruit flavored ice lollies or popsicles, known locally as “barafu,” are sold in the markets. Avocados, known as “ova,” are plentiful in Uganda. A happy confluence of factors – consistent rainfall, tropical temperatures, and fertile soil – have led to avocados being cultivated in Uganda since the 1550s. This recipe derives inspiration from both the barafu and the fruits most commonly available and consumed in Uganda (ova and lemon). Details
Caakiri is a simple but delicious couscous pudding that comes together quickly. It was originally made with native grains such as millet or maize and occasionally beans but now is most commonly made with couscous. It is best served fresh with your favorite fruit. Details
Located in Southeastern Africa, Malawi is known for the warmth and friendliness of her people. Hence, the nickname, the “Warm Heart of Africa.” The cuisine of this country skews traditional African and is dominated by ingredients that are products of two of its major industries: agriculture and fishing. Groundnuts (peanuts) are the most important legume crop in Malawi in volume produced and in the amount of area devoted to their cultivation. The crop also brings in significant revenue. Our dish for the month, in honor of Malawi, is Mtedza, a delightful, easy to make groundnut (peanut) cookie that utilizes ingredients found in most pantries. Mtedza will melt in your mouth, and if one doesn’t pay attention, this recipe that makes 14 cookies might end up serving just two! Details
In October, we announced that the Featured Project for January 2022 would be Afghanistan Libre’s work to support the mental health, wellbeing, and safety of survivors of gender-based violence and contemporary forms of slavery. With a heavy heart, Afghanistan Libre has had to cease operations and is withdrawing all of its activities from Afghanistan due to the ongoing security concerns in Afghanistan. We post this recipe in their honor. Details
Mandazi is delicious breakfast food of lightly fried sweet dough flavored with coconut and warm African spices. It is crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft inside, making it a perfect complement for coffee or tea. It is a common street food in Kenya. Details
The cuisine of Cameroon has the distinction of being some of the more diverse of the cuisines in the continent. Partly due to the location, at the junction of Western, Northern and Central Africa, and partly due colonial influences from being a German, French, and British colony. July’s featured grantee, Global Pearls, Inc., created recipes for three dishes that showcase the variety in the cuisine. Though the recipes were created by Global Pearls, these are Cameroonian dishes made with locally available ingredients. Details
The food of Uganda melds the food of its forefathers with the food of its colonizers and immigrants to make for an interesting mash-up. Mandazi, the Ugandan doughnut, is an excellent example of this. A popular snack that sometimes stands in for breakfast, this puffy, soft, pillowy, fried dough is nothing like the doughnuts those in the USA are familiar with. They are mildly sweet and never glazed. The flavors of Mandazi have a whiff of Indian and Arabic influences with the addition of cardamom and coconut. Freshly ground cardamom is the key to get that fragrant taste of the spice, but feel free to use the pre-ground variety if that is what is readily available. Some recipes use coconut milk while others use whole milk while still others use a combination of evaporated milk and oil. I’m using whole milk, but I imagine coconut milk will bring the coconut flavor to the forefront. This recipe makes enough for a crowd (about 20 doughnuts) but you might discover that given how tasty and light they feel, it might just be enough for a “crowd” of two! Details
This month’s featured recipe is a delicious filled pastry from Lebanon called Maamoul. These molded cookies feature a rose and orange blossom water flavored dough filled with date and nut blends. Each cookie is formed by hand and pressed into a mold which is then wacked on a table or counter to release the cookie which now has a beautiful design imprinted from the mold. A Maamoul mold has indentations of various shapes, size, and design. Each design signifies a different filling. Details
Fun fact: a large number of small Indian restaurants in the United States of America are actually run by Nepali immigrant chefs. Several serve Indian food along with (if one were to look at the fine print on the menu) some dishes that are of Nepali or Himalayan origin. But, repeat after me and loudly: Nepali cuisine is not Indian cuisine (our Nepali friends will appreciate us remembering this). Nepal, through its geographical and historical association with India and Tibet, has influences of both in its cuisine. However, the flavor profile is different. Nepali dishes use fewer spices and aromatics and less heat. Also, Nepali cuisine has a preponderance of vegetarian dishes. Second fun fact: “vegetarian” in Nepal can mean different things. It could mean “not meat and eggs” (dairy products such as milk and cheese are consumed, however) but it could also mean “not beef” (but include poultry and mutton). The latter is tied to the sanctity of cows in the Hindu faith. Details
The country of Uganda is where this month’s featured grantee, Brick by Brick Partners, is located. There are lots of fabulous Ugandan recipes on the Dining for Women website. A peek there will yield all kinds of mouthwatering dishes that represent the wonderful cuisine of East Africa. I highly recommend making some of them. Yum! Details
It’s such wonderful serendipity that the countries of origin for March’s featured grantee (Her Future Coalition, in India) and sustained grantee (African People and Wildlife, in Tanzania) are inexorably linked by geography and ancient trade routes—and, by extension, food. Details
Our culinary travel this month of December finds us in the Himalayas, specifically Nepal.
Originally, I had it in mind to come up with an interesting twist on the “momo”, a Nepalese steamed dumpling with a meat or vegetable filling, wildly popular and sold on the streets. What about a sweet dumpling filling and call it dessert? My first attempt at this idea was a complete failure, but I still liked the idea and decided I’d work on this for the next time we visit Nepal in April 2016. So I’ve got time to get this right!
With our featured program in Rwanda this month, recipe maven Linda McElroy decided to go old school and pull some different entries from our own Dining for Women Cookbook. The Better-Than-Sex Cake is actually the only one of the collection that Linda didn’t make. So you could call this an un-Proven Platter. You tell us how it works out!Details
Each month, recipe curator Linda McElroy will take a recipe from the featured program’s country and put it through its paces in her own kitchen. She will test it, tweak it and fine-tune it and you will benefit from her insights. This month it is a Mango and Coconut Tart, adapted from a traditional Tanzanian recipe. Mmmmmmm. Details