MBBA #TastyThursdays: Sukuma Wiki : The Most Classic East-African Side-Dish

This week on our Afro cuisine segment, we are bringing to you a taste of East Africa’s most staple side dish, Sukuma Wiki. If you are all about enhancing your recipe and food time table, you should learn about this side dish and incorporate it.

MBBA #TastyThursdays: Sukuma Wiki : The Most Classic East-African Side-Dish

“Sukuma wiki” is a Swahili phrase meaning, depending on how you translate it, “week-pusher,” “push the week,” or “stretch the week.”
Sukuma Wiki is the classic  Side dish for nearly any meal throughout much of Eastern Africa. Especially when paired Ugali (cornmeal fufu).

Hearty greens are a staple of even the most frugal diet in the rural communities of Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, and other African nations. They are readily available, found in the most basic garden, and so they are used to “stretch the week,” when other supplies have run out or meat is scarce.

MBBA #TastyThursdays: Sukuma Wiki : The Most Classic East-African Side-Dish
A meal in Kenya, with ugali, chapati, a meat stew, and sukuma wiki.

Sukuma wiki can be found in many forms. Sometimes it is highly spiced, in the Indian-influenced cuisine of East Africa. Sometimes it is a very plain and basic dish of greens, with nothing but oil and a little onion to round it out. 

MBBA #TastyThursdays: Sukuma Wiki : The Most Classic East-African Side-Dish
Plain Sukuma Wiki

If you love greens and eat them regularly, this kind of basic, quotidian dish of simple greens is one of the building blocks of healthy weeknight meals. This is a simple recipe of how you can make yours.

Ingredients For Sukuma Wiki

  • 1 pound kale
  • 2 medium tomatoes, about 1/2 pound
  • 1 large white onion, about 1 pound
  • One tablespoon peanut oil
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 lemon, juiced, about 3 tablespoons
  • Beef/Chicken/Fish, As Desired

Mode Of Preparation

  1. Chop the kale into rough 1-inch pieces, including the ribs. Roughly chop the tomatoes. (If desired, reserve about 1/4 cup fresh tomato pieces for garnish.) Peel and dice the onion.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot, or a large wok. When it is hot, add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the onion is getting soft, stir in the cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the greens one handful at a time, stirring constantly to coat them with the onions, oil, and spices. When they have all been added, sprinkle the salt and a generous amount of fresh pepper over them and stir.
  4. Add minced meat, bouillon powder; stir until ingredients have been thoroughly combine. Simmer for about 5 minutes or more. 
  5. Pour in 1 cup water. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender to your taste. (I like mine fairly toothsome, so I only cook them for about 10 minutes.)
  6. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and toss the greens with the lemon juice. Serve hot, garnished with extra tomato, if desired.
Nutritive value

Now you know how to make some good ol’ Sukuma Wiki. You can now make it your highly nutritious side dish.

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