How do you understand a particular culture? This is a question that has boggled many minds. We believe that you should explore the different food habits associated with a culture to truly understand it. The ongoing Black History Month has sparked up the enthusiasm of several people who are now on the quest to cook and eat authentic soul foods. The world is a global village, and by consuming soul foods, you can try and learn about the cultural aspects of the community which gave us this cuisine.
But what exactly are soul foods? Soul food is essentially a cuisine that is a part of the Black culture. The African-American community has truly been through a lot and today, their delicious recipes tell their story. The story goes back to a couple of centuries when the Black slaves were given cheap ingredients, out which emerged some mouth-watering food items. To honor Black History Month, let us walk you through some soul food recipes that you can easily cook in your homes.
Collard greens have traditionally been served as a side dish for hundreds of years. The tantalizing flavors added by bacon and onions make this dish super enticing.
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 bacon slices
- 1 large, chopped onion
- 1 lb collard greens (fresh)
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pot and let it heat over a medium-high flame.
- Once the oil is sufficiently hot, add your bacon.
- Remove the bacon slices from the pan once they become crispy. You will now have to crumble them up and put them back into the pan.
- Add the chopped onion to the pan. Cook till they become translucent and look succulent. You might have to cook them for up to 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and toss it with the bacon and the onion till you get flavorful whiffs of garlic.
- Now, you have to add your collard greens that are cut into pieces (2 inches long) and cook them until they shrivel up.
- Pour the chicken broth into the pan and sprinkle some pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes according to taste.
- Lastly, lower the heat and cover the pan. Let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes or so. Serve the dish hot.
Okra, Corn, and Tomato Chicken Stew
This stew is a staple dish of Black cuisine. It is cooked using some really fresh vegetables and is a delightful thing to have on a cold winter afternoon.
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp seasoning salt
- Salt and pepper (according to taste)
- 4 diced red tomatoes
- 1 lb chicken breast (Make sure it is skinned and is boneless as well)
- 1 packet of frozen corn (about 7 oz)
- 2 cups of okra
- 1-2 cups of water
- Take the chicken breasts and gently pat the garlic powder and seasoning salt all over it. Keep this aside for later use.
- Get a slow cooker and set the heat to high.
- Add the diced tomatoes, corn, and seasoned chicken breasts to the slow cooker.
- Add about 1.5 cups of water and cover the cooker with a lid.
- You will have to let this mixture simmer for at least 4 hours.
- After cooking the mixture for 4 hours, you have to shred the chicken breast and put it in your okra.
- You will now have to put the heat on a low setting and cook the stew for another 1.5 – 2 hours.
- Lastly, sprinkle some salt and pepper according to taste and serve generous amounts of stew in huge bowls!
Jamaican Curry Chicken
Nothing gets better than having some Jamaican curry chicken along with some rice, cabbage, or beans. All you want to do is put on some movie and have a big plate of this chicken curry and rice all by yourself. Isn’t this your ultimate dream?
- 1 medium sliced onion
- 1 medium peeled and cubed potato
- 1 lb chicken pieces
- Seasoning salt
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- ½ cup water
- Season the chicken pieces with 1 tbsp curry powder about 3 hours before you want to cook the curry.
- Put this seasoned chicken and the onion slices in a container and refrigerate the container for about 3 hours.
- Take a huge pot and add your chicken pieces, onion slices, potato cubes, 1 tbsp curry powder, and a ½-1 cup of water. Mix this well.
- Let the mixture simmer for about 1.5 hours over low heat until the gravy thickens. Please note that the gravy will take a longer time to thicken if you add more water.
- After 1.5 hours, lift the lid and taste the gravy to check whether it has the aromatic curry flavor. If not then add some more curry powder and cook for some more time. And…. Voila! You are done!
Source: Mom In The City
Sweet Potato Pie
This dessert is a must-have during African-American family events, especially Thanksgiving! It was traditionally made using yams (a native African plant) and sweet potatoes. The Africans brought this dish to the United States and since then there has been no stopping to the growth in its popularity.
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup softened butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ a cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 lb sweet potato
- 1 pie crust (unbaked)
- Take a pot and boil the unskinned sweet potatoes in water for about 50 minutes.
- Once the sweet potatoes are done, hold them under running cold water, peel, and lightly mash them.
- Take a bowl and add the sweet potatoes, and butter and use a mixer to mix this well.
- Add the milk, nutmeg, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla essence. Beat the mixture at a medium pace until it becomes super smooth.
- Pour this mixture into the unbaked pie crust carefully.
- Set the oven to 350°F and bake the pie for about 60 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of the pie. The toothpick will come out clean once the pie is completely done.
- Let the pie cool down. Enjoy this pie at the end of a beautiful soul food meal.
And that’s how you successfully celebrate Black History month with soul foods! Cook these delicious soul foods at your home and take part in honoring some of the most delectable recipes that have traditionally been passed down by the African-American elders to the younger members of the community and now, to the entire world.