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HN Issue 15: How To Make Ugandan Cooked Kale & Flatbread (Sukuma Wiki & Chapati)

WRITTEN BY MIKE PRINS, PHOTOS BY JESSICA HALL, FH CANADA



Kale may be all the rage right now, but families in Uganda have been enjoying it as a staple for years.  In fact, it's an ideal choice for many developing communities.  Not only is it high in nutrients, kale grows well in hot dry climates and propagates easily. And we learned that it doesn't take much for it to taste great too!

Perhaps you've tried making your own kale chips lately?  Or substitute it in salads?  Well, here's another way - spiced, cooked, and steamed - Ugandan style!

And don't forget the chapati!  You've likely heard of this dense and somewhat savoury flatbread, common across East Africa, the Middle East, and India.  Of course, each region has its distinct 'take' on it, but almost everyone uses it the same; as the essential glove to pinch and pick your food with.  

That's right, traditional chapati is both the utensil and the meal in cultures where eating with your hands is common.  And this stuff is taaaasty.  You'll go back to carbs after trying this recipe.

Let our team at FH, Jessi and Mike, show you how easy these recipes are!




These entrees were part of a feast at a recent community graduation!  The community of Bufukhula, Uganda, invited us to be part of their big day, celebrating their partnership with Food for the Hungry and CAP Church (Vancouver, BC), highlighting their many victories over poverty, and commiting to the future as they're now able to fight poverty on their own!

Check out the full story and photos here!

It's an incredible story!  See for yourself, with this highlight video.  We hope this recipe helps you feel like you were there too!




SUKUMA WIKI (COOKED KALE)


This East African dish literally means “stretch the week” since it’s generally quite affordable to make.

Ingredients


1 bunch kale
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large white onion, diced
1 tbsp oil (peanut oil is best)
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp kosher salt
fresh pepper (to taste)
1 cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice

Such a colourful array of veggies and spices!  Our mouths were already watering just smelling the groceries.  Thankfully, all these items were easy to find at any grocery store or market.  And inexpensive.  

We recommend using peanut oil, as that is commonly used in Uganda and adds a lovely flavour.  But really any oil can be used - try a few other kinds!  The slight variation in flavour might be fun.


Instructions
1. Chop kale into 1” pieces (including ribs and stem).
2. Heat oil in a deep pot or large wok.
3. Add onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until soft.
4. Stir in cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Add tomatoes, reserving some for a garnish. Stir in the kale, one handful at a time, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Pour water into pot and cover, reducing heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 - 20 minutes, until tender and dark green.
6.Toss with lemon juice and garnish with remaining tomatoes.


Serves four people.


Cooking this all up was easy.  And we learned that it takes quite a bit for kale to be overcooked  (but it is easy to undercook), and so, it was safe to leave Mike to do the cooking.  The wok worked best.




UGANDAN FLATBREAD (CHAPATI)

This soft flatbread is a staple for Ugandan families. Pieces are often ripped off and used to scoop up other parts of the meal.


Ingredients

1 cup wheat flour
½ cup water
1 carrot (grated)
½ onion (grated)
cooking oil

Those ingredients seem simple enough, right?  Grating the onion was more work and tears than we wanted, but it is a nice flavour in the chapati.  Be sure to use a medium to large grater! (We used a fine-grate one - very sloppy)


Instructions

1. Grate the onion and carrot and set aside.
2. Combine flour, oil, and water. Knead until it forms a stiff dough then divide into five balls.
3. Add grated veggies to each ball and roll with a rolling pin to the size of a small dinner plate.
4. Pre-heat pan to medium-high heat. Place a chapati into the pan and spread 1 - 2 tsp of oil on top. Flip and repeat.
5. Flip again once bottom is golden brown. Remove from the pan once second side browns. (Dark brown spots and air bubbles are normal, but reduce heat if the chapati browns too fast or burns.)

Makes five chapatis.


To our surprise, we did not have a roller!  So, a baseball bat proved to do the job well.  (Don't worry, Jessi sanitized it well before!)  No doubt families in Uganda have had to be more resourceful in a pinch.




Getting the frying "just right" was a little more difficult than we anticipated.  Don't be too frugal on the oil.  Mike thought it would be like flipping pancakes, but since it's a much heavier dough, it's easier to overcook - meaning, it becomes hard and crunchy rather than soft and savoury.  Also, don't roll it too thin (not like a crepe) or it will become too crispy.  If this happens, that's okay - it's just more like a tortilla than a chapati!

Having eaten these overseas, it is common for the chapati to be made on the same large cast-iron pan as the rest of the meal.  The chapati then picks up the oils, seasonings, and flavours of the other food.  Yum!

Mike failed to eat the meal "properly" however - he instinctively grabbed a fork and dug in.  Jessi showed him how it's properly done - finger food!


Try the recipe out for yourself and see what you think! 

We'd love to hear how much fun you had in the process: info@fhcanada.org

A special thank you to Immanuel Baptist Church (Abbotsford, BC) and their staff who graciously allowed our team the use of their kitchen for this tasty trial!


Jessi's take: 

"I’ve been transitioning to a vegan lifestyle for a while, so I was very happy to find more recipes to add to my arsenal that are free of animal products. 

"The sukuma wiki smelled and tasted amazing- the spices, onions and tomatoes add so much flavour to the kale! Combining these two dishes together made for a very satisfying meal. I really enjoyed the change from the typical fork and knife dinner-- it’s more of an engaging meal, as you rip pieces of chapoti and scoop up sukuma wiki and get all the flavours mixing together. Enjoy it while it’s hot!"

Mike's take:  


"I am not a veggie lover, but I try.  I was looking forward to the chapoti, having had it before on several trips, but not the kale.  When I was a child, my mother would cook the life out of endive and we'd be forced to eat a scoop of the overcooked pale green veggie snot.  The thought of cooked kale was feeling just too close to home. 

"Was I ever surprised when it turned out to be my favourite part!  I didn't go back for a second portion of chapati, but rather for the savoury flavours of the sukuma wiki.  Wow, I guess Mom was right after all."



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Food for the Hungry: HN Issue 15: How To Make Ugandan Cooked Kale & Flatbread (Sukuma Wiki & Chapati)
HN Issue 15: How To Make Ugandan Cooked Kale & Flatbread (Sukuma Wiki & Chapati)
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