My first official virtual cooking class is now live on Eventbrite. I am so excited yet nervous about the outcome of this event. Cue Oprah gif! Nevertheless I am glad it is happening.
This first class will be teaching how to cook Sierra Leonean style spinach stew. As a chef I am often asked what is my favorite dish to cook. As far as Sierra Leonean dishes, spinach stew would definitely in the top 5.
Spinach plasas as we Sierra Leoneans refer to in Krio, is one of the many plasas (greens) we prepare. Other countries such as Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon and Gambia also prepare this dish but it may be referred to by a different name. Each country may also prepare it differently. Spinach stew can be cooked with palm oil or olive oil/vegetable oil, onions, tomatoes, peppers, assortment of meat, seafood (fish or shrimp) and maggie seasoning. I prefer to cook mine with olive oil. I enjoy the lighter taste of the olive oil. However, the palm oil adds a richer and umami like flavor. Oil preference is clearly subjective. When it is cooked with palm oil the taste is almost similar to another plasas called potato leaves. One day I will share more about those greens.
Many of our dishes are highly nutritious! Its loaded with greens, plenty of protein (plant based and animal), and healthy carbs. Most meals include rice and a root vegetable such as cassava, yams and other starches (plantains). You will definitely have a well balanced meal eating our cultural foods. Yes I know carbs in American culture can have negative connotations but in Sierra Leone the lifestyle is completely different. Locals are very active working in the outside markets, a lot of walking, etc. So for an American lifestyle the starches are best eaten in moderation but please people enjoy your carbs. They are not your enemy lol!
Little Known Fact: Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, is where enslaved Africans repatriated in the 1780s from North America and the Caribbean. Click here to learn more about my beautiful home country
Sierra Leone is located off the Atlantic coast. Many local fishermen/fisherwomen fish daily for fresh seafood that is often used in many of our dishes. I've often used fried fish in my stew. Snapper, mackerel, fish, and occasional snails are commonly used in many stews. The freshness is incomparable when you have the Atlantic ocean in your back yard. Aaah. This blog post has me reminiscing and just like that I am home sick.