Rich and Spicy Dodo (Green Amaranth) Shakshuka

Rich tomato base shakshuka with nutrient packed Dodo  (amaranth/callaloo) and a bit of heat from scotch bonnets. Perfect for a low-carb meal. This shakshuka uses dodo, a vegetable that is readily available in most Ugandan backyards.
As a person who lives in Jamaica, one recurring question is:  Is the food the same in ‘Africa’. And in response I have to teach a crash course on how Africa is a massive continent and how we East Africans do not know much about West African food and vice versa. To be honest I have learned more about Nigerian and Ghanaian food while here, which makes sense since West Africa shares the Atlantic Ocean with Jamaica  and we all know what happened during the transatlantic slave trade.  Being here has also put into perspective how massive and diverse our continent is and it’s mind boggling to think that each and every ethnicity has its own way of life.
I normally  shy away from foods of other ethnicities because I do not want to do then an injustice  which is why it took me so long to get on the shakshuka bandwagon. Morocco  is a world of its own that I know nothing about aside from the basic geographic location. And it’s not Morocco but each and every African country. With that said, making shakshuka is my attempt to peek inside this vibrant and colorful nation and it’s uniqueness in flavor and texture.
In this dish, I use dodo ( amaranth) because it is a a super vegetable (it inspired the writing of this Vegetarian e-Book ) with its availability, versatility and ability to withstand harsh conditions. So if you have some dodo growing in the backyard, pluck those leave and make this shakshuka. It will change the way you view dodo.
What you will need:
4 Handfuls of Dodo, chopped and washed
6 Medium Tomatoes
1 C. Water
1 Large onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 Large green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 Scotch bonnet (or any hot spice you prefer)
1 Tsp. Cumin, ground
1 Tbsp. Curry powder
1/2 Tsp. Smoked paprika
1/2 Tsp. Black pepper
3 eggs
Salt
2 Tbsp. Oil
Observations
  • Let the pureed tomatoes cook till all the water has reduced and it has a rich and thick consistency.
  • I prefer my eggs fully cooked so I let the shakshuka simmer a little longer.
Method
  1. Roughly dice the tomatoes and place them in the blender along with the scotch bonnet/ spice of choice. Add the 1 cup of water and blend till pureed.  Set aside.
  2. In a clean pot, add the cumin, curry powder, paprika and black pepper. Place pot on high heat for about 5 seconds. Add oil.
  3. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and onions. Le them cook till they are translucent. Next add the green pepper and and salt and stir well.
  4. Add the blended tomatoes and let them cook till they have reduced and thickened.
  5. Add the dodo into the tomato mix. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Using a ladle, create three wells in the  shakshuka. Crack each of the eggs in each well.
  7. Cover the pan and let the skakshuka simmer on low fire until the eggs have cooked to your preference.
  8. Remove from fire. Serve hot.

This particular one was served with chapati. You can also eat it on its own, with bread, fried plantain, yam, cassava or any carbohydrate of choice.

Have you made shakshuka before?

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Loaded Bean and Dodo (Amaranth) Salad

Starting this blog, I was young and naive. All I knew is that I wanted to cook exciting, interesting and delicious food. Years later,  I now understand the value of food, using local produce,  using fresh produce and being creative.  This salad was conceived after binge watching the amazing Fat Salt Acid Heat docu-series. I was blown away by the beauty of how the most basic of ingredients yield some of the best flavors.  When you think of beans and dodo and potatoes individually, a salad rarely comes to your mind.  But when the same ingredients are transformed through different techniques, what you get is a beautiful vibrant salad that is so satisfying and complex in flavors.  This is one of the main reasons I keep slaving away in the kitchen like a mad woman because the ecstasy of discovering something else a common produce can be is unmatched! I had a hard time naming this salad because it has dodo,  masala potatoes, sweet and charred carrots,  beans, green onions for a spicy kick, pumpkin seeds for a crunch and a sprinkle of cheese to marry all the flavors together. This would have made a really long title. Ha!
What you will need: 
1 C. Beans, boiled and drained
1C. Potatoes, cut into wedges
1 C. Carrots, julienned
A handful of dodo(amaranth greens), steamed
1/4 C. Green onions, chopped
1/4 C. Nuts
1/4 C. Cheese, grated (optional)
Juice from half an orange
1 Tsp. Soy sauce
1 Tsp. Ground cumin
1 Tsp. curry powder
1/2 Tsp. chili flakes
Black pepper
Salt
Observations: 
  1. Using cheese is optional.
  2. Use salt carefully keeping in mind that all the individual salted components will be combined. With that said, I salted only the potatoes. Then sprinkled salt on the finished salad.
  3. You can use any type of beans. I used red beans.
  4. You can use any nuts available to you.
  5. I recommend a non-stick pan to avoid burning
Method:
  1. Place a pan on fire, Wait for it to get hot. Add about a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Add the potato wedges. Shallow fry the wedges till half way cooked. Make sure you keep stirring to avoid burning.
  3. After they reach the half-way cooked point, add the salt, cumin, curry powder and black pepper and mix well. Let them cook till tender.
  4. Remove the potatoes from fire and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan, add a half teaspoon of oil.
  6. Add the carrots to the oil. Add the juice of half an orange.
  7. Let the carrots  shallow fry till the orange juice has reduced to a thick sauce and the carrots start to slightly char.
  8. Remove the carrots from the pan and set aside.
  9. Using the same pan still, add half a teaspoon of oil and saute the green onions.
  10. Add the soy sauce, and chili flakes to the frying onions.
  11. Fry the onions till they turn a bright green but still have a crunch.
  12. Remove the onions from fire
To assemble the salad
Layer the salad by starting with the boiled beans. Next add the potatoes. Next add the steamed dodo. Add the caramelized carrots on top. Next add the onions. Sprinkle your nuts/seeds on top. Finish off with grated cheese.
Serve with a glass of wine or iced tea.
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