Sukuma wiki means “to stretch the week”—in other words, using these greens, which are affordable and readily available, can help stretch any meal a bit further.
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If you’re like me and love greens, this recipe from Hawa Hassan’s In Bibi’s Kitchen is your recipe. If you’re mystified by what to do with fresh greens, this is your recipe. Even if you hate greens, this is your recipe. But really, it is everyone’s recipe. Seasonal greens are treated to a quick sauté with aromatics, spices and tomatoes. The heat tames the greens, and they wilt right down. They’re tender with a deep color and flavor that’s a world away from greens slow-cooked till they’re gray and soggy.
I learned a version of it as a teacher with Common Threads, the nonprofit empowering children to cook. It came from a guest chef who learned it from his mother in Jamaica. I wish the two of us had stayed connected. I sure connected with the greens.
Since then, I learned this recipe isn’t exclusive to the Caribbean. It comes from Africa. There it’s called sukuma wiki, which means, stretch the week. It’s a budget-stretcher for sure and a delicious gift from the African diaspora. Discover more of Africa’s kitchen riches with Oldways’ African Heritage Diet. Understanding and appreciating its origins makes it even more delicious. Besides, I’m always desperate to get greens into you.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large yellow onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 large tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 1 pound kale and/or collards or any dark leafy greens, tough stems discarded, coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot set over medium heat.
- Add the onion, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, greens, a large pinch of salt, and water. Stir everything well to combine, cover, and simmer, until the greens are very tender and soft, about 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, season the greens to taste with salt, and serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days and rewarmed in a heavy pot set over low heat (stir while you heat).