Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Lately, I’ve been finding myself immersed in learning about Sudan and its fascinating cuisine. This is in no small part due to the fact that our current CHOP cohort has a participant from there who has been enthusiastic in sharing her culture. I feel so fortunate to get to have these amazing conversations every day in our kitchen about the foods they cook at home, they grew up with, or new recipes they are trying for the first time. As much as we are teaching them about working in a commercial kitchen environment, we are also learning about them and looking for ways to share their foods and stories with people who may not be familiar with their home countries. So, with that in mind I’ve been exploring the foods of Sudan in numerous ways, from our CHOP Family Meals last week to a Sudan themed collaboration dinner with Splash Wine Bar on October 16th. I’m even tentatively planning a Sudanese brunch special for our MAKE Café this Saturday so be on the lookout for that! So, for this week’s recipe I wanted to share a dish from our Sudanese Family Meal that I think highlights the unique flavors found in Sudanese cuisine while also being versatile enough to utilize whatever amazing fall vegetables you can find at your local market. This dish is a take on a traditional Sudanese beef dama (stew) that uses an interesting blend of cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom. These spices lend the stew a warm, comforting note and happen to match perfectly with many of the Fall vegetables available now in San Diego. Whether you make the traditional beef version or our vegetarian version I think you’ll be surprised how well traditional sweet spices like cinnamon and cardamom work in a savory dish!
Project CHOP Sudanese Vegetable Dama Serves 3 - 4 1 lb Potato – Preferably Yukon Gold or Red, 1 inch dice ½ Small Butternut Squash – Peeled, 1 inch dice 1 Chinese Eggplant – 1 inch dice 2 Zucchini – 1 inch dice 1 Red Bell Pepper – 1 inch dice 1 Green Bell Pepper – 1 Inch dice 1 Onion – Julienne 3 Cloves Garlic – Minced ¼ Cup Tomato Paste 1 – 1 ½ Cups Vegetable Stock 1 Tabespoon Cumin 2 teaspoons Turmeric 2 teaspoons Cinnamon ½ teaspoon Cardamom 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons Sugar Instructions
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Add several pinches of salt and bring to a simmer. Cook until a knife penetrates easily and drain. Set aside
Preheat oven to 400F. In a mixing bowl toss the butternut squash with a little oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender and turning golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside
Repeat roasting procedure with zucchini and eggplant
In a large pot saute the onions in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until starting to turn golden brown and sweet
Add the bell peppers and garlic and cook one minute more until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the spices and tomato paste and continue to cook, scraping the bottom of the pan often to prevent burning. At this point you want the spices and tomato paste to get toasty and smell fragrant. This is key to take your time and do this step slow as this will create the depth of flavor in your stew
Slowly add the vegetable stock half a cup at a time. Stir thoroughly after each addition and only add enough until you get a slightly thickened sauce that will coat the back of a spoon. The tomato paste is your thickener so if you accidentally add too much stock you can add back a little tomato paste to thicken
Cook about 10 minutes until peppers are tender and flavors combine
Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Add the sugar to help balance the acidity of the tomato paste and adjust to taste
Stir in all the reserved vegetables and taste again for seasoning
Serve hot with rice or flatbread