Cooking Up Culture

Celebrate the world by cooking up an international feast! These yummy recipes will introduce you to tasty traditions from around the globe. Sample some creamy hummus from countries such as Greece and Turkey, or try a traditional stew popular in West African countries like Senegal and Nigeria.



Picture of hummus

Mediterranean Hummus


Prep: 20 minutes / Serves: 4


Here's what you'll need:

2 cans (15 ounces each) low-sodium chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 lemon, juiced

½ cup tahini paste (stirred well)

¼ cup water


½ cup olive oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer a milder taste)



1. Place the chickpeas in a food processor along with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini paste, and water. Carefully turn on the machine and process until the ingredients become a thick paste. You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure that the mixture is blending evenly.


2. Add a good pinch of salt to the mix and then continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil until the paste is thick and creamy. Check the seasoning and adjust with more salt if necessary.


3. Place the hummus n a bowl and serve at room temperature with an assortment of pita chips or tortilla chips and some crunchy vegetables: celery, carrot sticks, green beans, peppers, or anything else that you can think of!




West African Mafe


Prep: 15 minutes / Cook: 40 minutes / Serves: 4–6


1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

1 small onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

1 pound ground beef (10–20 percent fat)

½ cup chunky peanut butter

1 pound okra (frozen or fresh), cut into small pieces

1 can (28 ounces) roasted tomatoes (best to use peeled tomatoes)

1 cup water


rice, cooked according to package directions (optional)

few sprigs cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)

Picture of mafe



1. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to combine well. Cook for another 3 minutes.


2. Turn the heat to high, add the ground beef, and stir to incorporate. As soon as the beef begins to brown, reduce the heat to low and add the peanut butter, okra, tomatoes, and water. Stir to combine.


3. Cover the pot and cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until the okra is soft, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning on the bottom.


4. Season the dish with salt. Serve over rice or enjoy plain. Garnish with the cilantro or parsley, if desired.


Photo credits: Michael Piazza (Mediterrean hummus, West African mafe)


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