Goraasa be Dama: Sudanese Beef Stew over Easy Flatbread

A little over a month ago, I received an e-mail in my Diet Assassinista inbox asking me to make Sudanese food from a very nice Instagrammer named Moyassar. Now, I am quite familiar with food from Ethiopia and Eritrea, which are nearby, but never even thought to cook food from Sudan. There’s a first time for everything, I guess!

With Moyassar’s suggestion, I knew I would be in for a treat, but didn’t even know where to look for Sudanese recipes. So I asked him what I should make and he knew right away: Goraasa be Dama! Goraasa is a quick flatbread and dama is a beef stew. 

Moyassar sent me a link to a couple Lazeez Haalis recipes, which I adapted them after researching several other methods. Then, I decided to make it all. And you know what? The meal was fantastic!

The stew itself is not unlike beef stew that we’re used to in the West, but it does take a lot less time to cook. Plus, the spices and peppers make it more interesting than beef stew. Instead of serving the stew as a soup, this stew is served a little thicker, like a curry, over amazing bread! 

And that flatbread. Wow. Goraasa is so easy to make! I’ve made several quick flatbreads and this is my far the easiest flatbread recipe I’ve ever made. Even if you’re making Indian food and you forget to pick up some naan at the store, I suggest making Goraasa in its place because it’s likely you’ll have all the ingredient in a well-stocked pantry.

So if you’re craving cuisine you haven’t tried before, this meal is definitely a great one  to make. Many thanks to Moyassar for pointing me in a fun and tasty direction!

Goraasa be Dama: Sudanese Beef Stew over Easy Flatbread

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4

3 large yellow onions, chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb flat iron steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups water
5 small vine ripe tomatoes, chipped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 serrano peppers, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon

500g whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 cups water
1 tsp Kosher salt

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and fry until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, steak, bell pepper, serranos, cardamom, and cinnamon. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, adding additional water if the sauce is too thick, and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the steak is cooked through and the peppers are tender. Keep warm.

To prepare the goraasa, sift whole wheat flour into a large mixing bowl. Add baking powder, salt, and stir in water to form a thick batter. 

Brush a medium cast-iron skillet or mitad with very thin layer of olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Pour in a ladle-full of batter and work quickly to flatten out with a spatula, shaping the bread into round. Flip when golden, and cook until golden on the opposite side. Repeat with remaining batter to make additional rounds.

Serve dama over goraasa and enjoy!

West African Chicken & Peanut Stew: Chicken Mafé

I was speaking with a new friend I made from France recently and we exchanged what he and his family were both cooking up for dinner. He told me he was having mafé, a stew made of lamb and peanut butter, but the dish didn’t register in my foodie brain. What?! A West African staple? A national dish of Senegal? How could I not know this?

As it turns out, I made a similar stew several years ago thanks to Carla Hall of Top Chef and The Chew fame. She called it Groundnut Stew and made it with chicken instead. It was SCRUMPTIOUS, but much more of a challenge to make, and actually a little bit different with adzuki beans and a pureed consistency. 

So have I heard of mafé? Sort of, but I didn’t realize how many variations there were of this dish, with different proteins and vegetables, like cassava, okra, turnips, squash, or even eggplant in place of the potatoes and yams. And in cooking this dish, I realize that with ten years of cooking under my belt, often international cuisine, it’s so amazing to still be able to cook different things and to know that there are different dishes I’ve never even heard of have never even fully recognized. I’m SO looking forward to the next 10 years of my cooking journey and can’t wait to keep sharing it with you! 

Below is my recipe for mafé with chicken. I was really tempted to make it with lamb, but I just had lamb the other day, and wanted to take it easy on the red meat for the rest of the week. Lamb mafé is definitely on the menu down the road! 

West African Chicken & Peanut Stew: Chicken Mafé 

Time: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes (+ Overnight Marinade)
Serves 8

1 lb boneless chicken thighs
1 lb skin-on chicken drumsticks
4 tbsp garlic, finely chopped, divided
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 Scotch bonnet chili, or habanero pepper, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 birdseye chili peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons fish sauce
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter
¼ cup lemon juice
2.5 cups cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/2 small cabbage)
1.5 cups carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 5 small carrots)
1 medium yam or sweet potato, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large boiling potato, cut into 1-inch chunks
Steamed rice or couscous, to serve

To Garnish
1 Vine ripe tomato, chopped
3 birdseye chilies, finely chopped
2 limes, cut into 8 wedges

In a large mixing bowl, add chicken thighs and drumsticks. Season with salt and pepper and rub with 2 tbsp of garlic, ginger, and scotch bonnet or habenero chili (using gloves!). Marinate overnight.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, 2 tbsp garlic, and birdseye chilies. Season with kosher salt to taste, and cook, stirring until onion is soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add thyme, tomato paste, and fish sauce, and simmer, stirring to combine, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, and the chicken thighs and drumsticks. Bring back to a simmer and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Slowly stir in peanut butter, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Once the sauce has reduced some and the chicken has cooked through, add add lemon juice, cabbage and carrots, and simmer for 10 minutes. Finally, add yams and potatoes, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, until the oil begins to separate and the sauce has reduced.

Serve stew over steamed rice or couscous. Garnish with birdseye chilies, tomatoes, and a wedge of lime. Adjust seasonings as needed.



Ethiopian Yellow Split Peas with Kale & Spicy Red Lentils


I’m not sure if I’ve said this already, but I really LOVE Ethiopian cuisine. Okay, maybe I did tell you in an earlier post [HERE], but I can’t express my crazy addicted love for it enough. One thing I like best is that the vegetarian dishes, which are vegan when omitting the spiced butter or substituting with vegan cheese in the salad, are just as yummy as the meat dishes.

So below I present to you Misir Wot and Kik Alicha, two dishes I like to cook side by side. While split peas may be a dish you hated as a child, know that these are the delicious gourmet kind, cooked in a lovely turmeric onion sauce. I added kale because there’s a lot growing in my garden, and it’s always fun to add extra greens when possible. But who doesn’t love spicy red lentils? Misir Wot’s flavors are actually really similar to Doro Wot (Chicken in a Berbere Sauce with Hard Boiled Eggs), and you won’t miss the lack of meat at all.

What about the protein content, you might ask? Oh, that’s right. The protein in split peas is highly absorbable and red lentils aren’t half bad! Combine them with injera, which is made from the Teff, and your amino acid profile is even more complete. Plus, by eating legumes, you’re upping your fiber, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium intake, while lowing your intake of saturated fat! Eating yummy legumes like these will go a long way to lead you to good health.

Are you ready for the recipes yet? I’m already hungry for these dishes again, even though I only devoured them a few hours ago! Don’t forget to visit my earlier post link above for tips on acquiring some of the ingredients and making your own injera!


Misir Wot, Spicy Ethiopian Lentils

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 yellow onions, finely minced
2 tbsp garlic (5-7 cloves), minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
½ cup olive oil
3 to 5 tbsp berbere spice mix (less for mild)
½ cup diced or crushed tomatoes
1 cup dried red lentils, sorted and rinsed
4 cups water
½ tsp Ethiopian Cardamom
½ tsp salt
1 tsp Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter), optional
4 to 5 Injera rounds (Ethiopian bread), for serving

Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and sweat without oil and being careful to not over-stir, for about 10 minutes. Cook onions until golden brown, lowering heat if necessary. Stir in garlic and ginger and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add olive oil and berbere, and sauté over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture reaches a paste consistency.

Stir in tomatoes, lentils, and ½ cup water to the onion mixture and bring to a simmer. Over a 15-minute period, add about ½ cup of water every 2 minutes, until all 4 cups of water are absorbed. Lower heat and cover, simmering about 10 minutes longer. Add cardamom and salt.

Test the lentils for doneness. Continue to cook about 10-20 minutes longer, until lentils are soft, but not overcooked. Remove from heat and serve over injera!


Kik Alicha with Kale

Adapted from Ethiopian Fire & Spice by Fetlework Tefferi
Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 cups yellow split peas, sorted and rinsed
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp ginger, minced
½ tsp Alicha Kimem, optional
½ tsp turmeric
½ bunch kale, sliced into 1-inch strips
2 tbsp garlic (5-7 cloves), minced
4 to 5 spices Injera (Ethopian bread), for serving

Soak split peas in hot water for 15 minutes.

Sweat onions on low heat in a covered saucepan for 2 minutes. Do not over-stir. Add 1/3 cup of hot water, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add water and olive oil, and sauté for 3 minutes longer.

As the water evaporates, continue to make sure the onions do not dry up or change color. Add ¼ cup hot water, 1 tbsp ginger, and a pinch of the turmeric. The sauce should have a soup like consistency. Keep covered and continue to cook for 4 minutes.

Add the split peas and mix well into the sauce. Add 2 cups of hot water, cover, and cook. After about 2 minutes, when the split peas are tender, add alicha kimem for additional flavor. Add garlic and the remaining 1 tbsp ginger. Stir the peas, scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid sticking. Add water as needed. Add remaining turmeric, reduce heat to medium. Cover and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, until the peas are tender. Stir frequently, ad make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Kenyan Braised Kale with Ground Beef


If you’re looking for something a little different to cook, but for something that’s still familiar (a stir fry over rice), try out this recipe for Kenyan Braised Kale with Ground Beef. If you know of larb, a Thai dish, this shares a lot of similarities in texture and appearance. But thanks so the spice mixture, which includes cinnamon, the flavor is definitely African. Can’t imagine what that would taste like? Make this to mix up your cooking routine. It’s great served over brown rice, with roasted sweet potatoes, or even a little bit of whole grain flatbread. I’m not sure where I found the original recipe, but it is featured on Food & Wine. I’ve changed it up to add kale instead of collards (I love kale, and it’s packed with even more nutrients than collard greens), and added San Marzano tomatoes from my garden. Super delicious!


Kenyan Braised Kale with Ground Beef

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 large bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
4 roma tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp lemon juice

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and seasonings and cook browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the collard greens and tomatoes and sauté until wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir everything gently as it cooks, careful not to mush the tomatoes. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine


I first became enamored with Moroccan food about 12 years ago when I ate at Chef Karim’s in Santa Barbara with my husband Adrian and his parents. I had never eaten anything like it and loved being able to sit on a cozy couch at dinner where I could dive into a family platter with a piece of bread as my only utensil. While I enjoyed the entertainment of the belly dancing and the Moroccan decor, I really became fascinated with the food.

I’m so glad that Adrian’s mom gifted us a tagine and a cookbook by Chef Hassan M’Souli for Christmas several years ago so we could keep eating Moroccan food even after the locally famous Chef Karim closed down his restaurant in 2010. Chef Hassan’s recipes are fabulous, and from him we’ve learned how to make preserved lemons, several tagines, Rghaif del Ferran (a spicy bread), and an insanely awesome crepe dessert with dates and Kahlua. We’ve found that our favorite tagine is with chicken, but after exploring different recipes, we prefer one from the Boston Globe over Chef Hassan’s. It’s easier to make and just a little more delicious.

Below are the recipes we use to make our favorite tagine. I’ve adapted them where needed. We make our own preserved lemons to keep on hand, but you can easily purchase them at niche grocery stores like Whole Foods or online at Amazon.


Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Adapted from Sheryl Julian’s Boston Globe Recipe
Serves 4

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 preserved lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1.5 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (skin on)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

In a bowl, with your fingers, crush the saffron threads with the salt. Remove the lemon flesh from the rind. Chop the lemon flesh coarsely. Add the lemon flesh and a 2-inch piece of lemon rind (chopped) to the saffron with the garlic, turmeric, ginger, pepper, onion, tomato, and ghee or butter. Toss well. Reserve remaining pieces of the rind.

Sprinkle the saffron mixture on the chicken on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to half a day.

In a tagine pan or large flameproof casserole, heat the oil. Add the chicken skin-side up and 2 tablespoons of the water. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

Add the remaining water to the pan. Turn the chicken skin-side down. Add remaining pieces of lemon rind. Set on the cover askew. Continue cooking the chicken for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Turn the chicken skin side up. Sprinkle the chicken with olives, parsley, and coriander.


Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Adapted from Hassan M’Souli’s Moroccan Modern

10 thin-skinned lemons
1.5 cups coarse sea salt
4.25 cups boiling water
juice of 1 lemon
8 cardamom pods
2 small red chilis, optional
2 bay leaves, optional
Olive oil, to cover

Scrub the lemons well and soak in water for about 3 days, changing the water daily (this disperses the gas and acids contained in the fruit). Remove from the water and cut four pockets end to end into each lemon, being careful not to slice right through.

Holding a lemon over a bowl (to catch any juice and salt), fill the pockets generously with salt, and arrange in a half gallon preserving jar. Repeat with remaining lemons.

Cover the lemons with boiling water. Add the leftover salt and juice, lemon juice and cardamom pods. Chilis and bay leaves may also be added for flavor and decoration, if you like.

Leave the jar for a few minutes to ensure that most of the air bubbles are released. Pour over a thin layer of olive oil to cover the surface. Seal tightly, and store for at least 1 month prior to use.

If preserved correctly, preserved lemons can be stored for years. The flavors become more intense and a little more briney (not unlike olives)!