Friday, March 30, 2012

VIDEO: Indian Tehri

Indian Tehri

During this Lenten season, Catholics in the St. Cloud Diocese have been encouraged to enrich their spiritual journey by participating in Catholic Relief Service’s Operation Rice Bowl. Perhaps you’ve tried one or more of the ORB recipes from Vietnam, Zambia, Madagascar or El Salvador.

India is the final country to be highlighted in this year’s series. The recipe for tehri includes sautéed vegetables, onion and chili peppers served over hot rice. Cumin seeds add a nutty, peppery flavor to the dish while tumeric lends its yellow color. CJK

Indian Tehri
(Operation Rice Bowl)

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 green chili peppers, diced 1 onion, diced
1/4 tsp. turmeric
4 cups of various vegetables of choice, chopped (peas, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes)
2 cups rice
Salt to taste
4 cups water

Heat the oil in a pot, add cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chili peppers, onion and turmeric and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped vegetables and sauté until slightly fried. Add rice, salt and water. Cook until rice and vegetables are done and the water is completely absorbed — about 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

A note from Carol: For the last 37 years Operation Rice Bowl has encouraged participants to put the money they save from eating modest, meatless meals during Lent into a symbolic “rice bowl” to be donated to Catholic Relief Services to help members of our global family live better lives. These small sacrifices collectively add up to make a significant difference for others around the globe.

Seventy-five percent of the money collected is sent to CRS for overseas humanitarian programs and 25 percent of it remains in our own diocese for local food programs.

Other ORB recipes featured on FFF during this Lenten season include: spring rolls from Vietnam, ifisashi from Zambia, vary amin’anana from Madagascar and casamiento from El Salvador.


Check in later today to see a video of Joe Towalski, editor of The Catholic Spirit, demonstrating how to make tehri.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Egg Burritos

These egg burritos are an “eggs”ellent choice for a Lenten supper or breakfast or brunch anytime of the year. The fresh veggies, salsa and two cheeses add zip to this simple, nutritious, tasty meal. CJK

Egg Burritos
(Cheryl Orbeck)

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
2 tsp. oil
7 eggs
3 tbsp. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa

In a nonstick skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and red pepper in the oil until tender. Remove and keep warm. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, egg substitute, cream cheese and salt and pepper. Pour into the same skillet, cook and stir over medium heat until the eggs are completely set. Stir in the sautéed vegetables. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mixture onto the center of each tortilla; top with cheese and salsa. Fold the ends and sides over the filling. Serve immediately.

Yield: 10 burritos

A note from Cheryl: Sometimes I lay all the ingredients out and let everyone make their own burritos using the combinations they prefer.

A note from Carol: Cheryl discovered the original recipe, which called for 3 eggs and 1 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute, about five years ago in a “Taste of Home” magazine. She submitted it for the “Fruit of the Spirit” cookbook, published by St. Donatus Parish in Brooten, where she and her family were members when she grew up. To order the cookbook, contact the St. Donatus Parish office at or 320-346-2431. They are on sale for $15 each. (Shipping and handling is $5 for one book or $7 for two.)

Cheryl and her husband, Steve, are parishioners of St. Francis Church in Benson in the New Ulm Diocese. They are the parents of two adult children: Angie and Joshua.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seafood Lasagna

In the realm of lasagnas this seafood version is truly “fit for a king.” Sweet, flavorful scallops, shrimp and crab are combined with a rich, creamy white sauce to create an “enchanting treasure” that surely would entice King Neptune himself.

Over the years, it’s garnered many, many compliments and recipe requests for Ginny Terhaar. She admits it’s somewhat time-consuming to prepare but it’s so good that it’s worth every minute spent in the kitchen! CJK

Seafood Lasagna
(Ginny Terhaar)

2 or 3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. plus 1/2 cup butter, divided
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) bottle clam juice
1 lb. bay scallops
1 lb. uncooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (8 oz.) pkg. imitation crabmeat, chopped
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

In a large skillet, sauté onion in oil and 2 tbsp. butter until tender. Stir in broth and clam juice; bring to a boil. Add the scallops, shrimp and crab; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and scallops are firm and opaque, stirring gently. Drain, reserving cooking liquid, set seafood mixture aside.

In a saucepan, melt the remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Combine milk and reserved cooking liquid; gradually add to saucepan. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir 3/4 cup of the white sauce into the seafood mixture.

Spray 9x13-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread 1/2 cup of the white sauce in the prepared baking dish. Top with 3 to 4 noodles; spread with half of the seafood mixture and 1 1/4 cups sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown; let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

A note from Ginny: Sometimes I’ve found pieces of frozen lobster at the grocery store, thawed it and added it to the seafood mixture.

I highly recommend preparing it the day before and leaving it in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes before baking.

A note from Carol: Ginny and her husband, Ken, will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary this summer. They have been members of St. Donatus Parish all 50 years of their marriage. Originally from the Brooten area, Ken has been a parishioner there most of his life. They have five children and 13 grandchildren.

Ginny’s seafood lasagna is one of more than 650 recipes in the St. Donatus Parish “Fruit of the Spirit” cookbook. To order copies, contact the parish office at or 320-346-2431. They are on sale for $15 each. (Shipping and handling is $5 for one book or $7 for two.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Help to feed the hungry here at home

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month.

The annual March campaign is the largest food drive in the state — uniting corporations, faith communities, schools and civic groups to raise money and food for the state’s food shelves. More than 510,000 Minnesotans receive food support. Between 2008 and 2010, statewide visits to food shelves increased 62 percent.

“Catholic Charities Emergency Services Food Shelf usage has doubled in the last five years,” said Trina Dietz, communications specialist for Catholic Charities in the St. Cloud Diocese. “People using the food shelf currently tell us that, in previous years, they were among those who used to donate.”

“Pack the Porch at Pioneer Place,” a community-wide food drive to benefit Catholic Charities Emergency Services Food Shelf, takes place Friday, March 30, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Pioneer Place on Fifth, 22 5th Ave. S, St. Cloud.

The goal of this unique drive is to fill the entire veranda at Pioneer Place with food. Please consider donating shelf-stable food items or money to assist with this important effort — you can even drop off items without getting out of your car. Most food shelves have the ability to purchase four to nine times as much as the average consumer at the grocery store so money is greatly appreciated as well. (And, all participants will be treated to a cup of coffee.)

Minnesota FoodShare, an interfaith collaboration that fights hunger, gathers donations from corporations to use as incentive funds for Minnesota food shelves. The more food and cash an agency collects at events such as this one, the more incentive funds they receive and the more hungry families they can feed. US Bank will be providing a $2,500 matching gift donation for this event.

Please add the date to your calendar and do what you can to help “pack the porch” at Pioneer Place next Friday.

In the upcoming video, Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, director of the Minnesota FoodShare, discusses the widespread problem of food insecurity in Minnesota and how the situation differs from hunger issues in the rest of the world. CJK

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Maple Salmon

The Salmon Collection — Day 4

Sweet maple syrup, piquant aromatic garlic and the distinctive taste of salmon create a sophisticated balance of flavor in this unique recipe. It’s so simple it could be prepared on any day of the week but elegant enough to serve to company — absolutely “fishlicious!”

My friend Sheila Ballweg-Pulju found the original version on a number of years ago. We’ve both enjoyed making it ever since. CJK

Maple Salmon
(Sheila Ballweg-Pulju)

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. salmon

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic powder and pepper.

Spray a shallow baking dish with no-stick spray. Place the salmon in the dish and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish and marinate the salmon in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the salmon for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it easily flakes with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Sheila: This easy recipe been a family dinner favorite since the day I discovered it. I’ve served the salmon the next day as an appetizer, on crackers and in salads but it’s so good that we rarely have any left over. 

A note from Carol: I wanted to prepare this special recipe for dinner recently but found that there was no time to marinate the fish. So, I prepared the marinade and put it in a baking dish, placed the salmon (skin side down) in the marinade, poured several spoonfuls of it over the topside of the fish and set the dish in the preheated oven. When it was finished baking I again poured several spoonfuls of the marinade — which had reduced beautifully — over the salmon again. I served the fish and the rich-tasting marinade, which I then called a “sauce,” together and it was fabulous!

Be sure to check out Sheila’s other recipes on “Food, Faith and Fellowship.” They include a scrumptious bittersweet chocolate truffle tart, enticing red velvet cake and her mother’s unique recipe for lemon bars.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pecan Crusted Salmon

The Salmon Collection — Day 3

“Salmon is good by itself but add brown sugar and pecans and it’s really, really good,” Amy Klaphake told me when I called her about this recipe. “It melts in your mouth and it’s so easy to make.”

I tried it a few days ago and couldn’t agree more with everything Amy said. CJK

Pecan Crusted Salmon
(Amy Klaphake)

4 (about 6 oz.) salmon fillets
2 cups milk
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. oil

Place salmon fillets in a large resealable plastic bag; add the milk. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar, seasoned salt and pepper. Coat fillets with pecan mixture, gently pressing into the fish. In a large skillet, brown the salmon in oil over medium-high heat. Transfer to a 15x10x1-inch baking pan coated with no-stick cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 8 to 10 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Amy: I usually don’t soak the fish in as much milk or for as long as the recipe calls for. I put it upside down (skin side up) in a glass pan, pour in a little milk, let it soak for about 10 minutes and then pour it off.

I’ve found that the pecan crust mixture makes a lot so I usually freeze half of it and it’s ready to go when I want to make the recipe again.

The first time I made it I browned the fish as directed but since then I’ve skipped that step and put it straight into the oven after I’ve dipped it in the crust mixture. I’ve also put it in a greased aluminum pan and placed it on the grill. It’s turns out great that way as well.

A note from Carol: Amy and I compared notes after I tried this recipe so I did things a little differently. I, too, felt that there was an abundance of the pecan mixture and so I peeled the skin off and covered both sides of the fish with it. (Next time I likely would make half the amount of this crust mixture.)

I followed the recipe and browned the fish — on both sides — since there was crust mixture on both. I made it in an ovenproof skillet and then put that pan directly in the oven rather than using another baking dish.

Amy and her husband, Ron, and their sons, Sammy (4) and Luke (18 mos.) are members of Our Lady of Angels Parish in Sauk Centre.

Amy found the recipe a few years ago in a “Taste of Home” cookbook and has shared it several times since then including in the “Fruit of the Spirit” cookbook, published by St. Donatus Parish in Brooten, where she grew up. To order the cookbook, contact the St. Donatus Parish office at or 320-346-2431. They are on sale for $15 each. (Shipping and handling is $5 for one book or $7 for two.) 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon

The Salmon Collection — Day 2

What a delightful dilemma! About five years ago Dan Durant, his brother, Aaron, and their dad, Roger, ended up with two large coolers full of salmon from Lake Michigan — the result of a very successful fishing trip for their family.

This led to a whole new “can of worms” for Dan’s wife, Sandy — she needed to “net” some new salmon recipes. Her family fell “hook, line and sinker” for this one from her friend, Jan. With its zippy ingredients, you’ll likely think it’s a “great catch” as well. “Reel” it in during this Lenten season and perhaps it will “spawn” an idea for preparing it all year long.  CJK

Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon
(Sandy Durant)

1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. sherry (or apple juice)
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 (1 lb.) salmon fillet

In large resealable bag, combine the first seven ingredients. Add the salmon. Seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour, turning several times.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil. Coat the foil with no-stick cooking spray. Place salmon in prepared baking dish and discard the marinade. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Sandy: We’ve had lots of compliments on this recipe, which can easily be adapted to suit your own tastes. Make it sweeter by adding more honey or sassier by upping the amount of orange juice and ginger root.

A note from Carol: The ingredients in this marinade sound so refreshing and delicious! I can’t wait to give the recipe a try!

Sandy shared this recipe in “A Tradition of Good Taste and Grace,” the cookbook celebrating the 125th anniversary of Immaculate Conception Parish in Rice, where she and Dan and their sons Jared (12) and Derek (10) are members. Roger and his wife, Terri, and Aaron are members of Holy Spirit Parish in St. Cloud.  

Copies of “A Tradition of Good Taste and Grace” cookbooks can be ordered from the Immaculate Conception Parish office (320-393-2725) for $15, plus $5 shipping and handling.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One fish, two fish, red fish …

The Salmon Collection — Day 1

When you hear the words “king,” “dog,” and “humpback” what do you think of? Here’s a hint — substitute the words “chinook,” “chum,” and “pink.” For a final clue, add the words “sockeye” and “coho” to the list.

By now you’ve probably guessed that I’m talking about salmon, which is the common name for several species of fish in the Salmonidae family that includes trout.

It’s no secret that highly unsaturated oils, called omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, are unique to fatty fish, like salmon. Salmon also contains protein and an abundance of vitamins, including B vitamins, and the antioxidant vitamin E. It’s no wonder that the American Heart Association suggests eating at least two servings a week of baked, broiled or grilled fish, especially those high in omega-3.

In the next few days “Food, Faith and Fellowship” features a trio of recipes for this flavorful firm-fleshed fish including “Honey-Orange Marinated Salmon,” Pecan Crusted Salmon” and “Maple Salmon.” They’re perfect for this Lenten season. But once you’ve tasted how delicious they are, I predict you’ll be inclined to serve them year-round. CJK

Thursday, March 15, 2012

El Salvadoran Casamiento

I don’t speak Spanish but after a little research, I learned that the word “casamiento” means both “marriage” and “a dish of rice and beans fried together.” It makes sense to me — the simple union of those two ingredients provides solid nourishment in many homes throughout the world. Add the flavor and health benefits of onion, garlic and pepper and it’s even more of a winning combination.

Like those I’ve recently shared from Vietnam, Zambia and Madagascar, this Operation Rice Bowl recipe provides an opportunity to relate to the common people in El Salvador through preparing a meal that many of them eat regularly. CJK

El Salvadoran Casamiento
(Operation Rice Bowl)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained, liquid reserved
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked rice

Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add the drained beans, some of the reserved bean liquid and salt and pepper. Gently stir in the rice. Cook mixture over low to medium heat until warmed through. Adjust seasonings and add a little more liquid from the beans, if necessary. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

A note from Carol: Operation Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten program. Since 1975 it has connected Catholics in the United States with those in need around the world. ORB encourages participants to put the money they save from eating modest, meatless meals during Lent into a symbolic “rice bowl” to be donated to Catholic Relief Services to help members of our global family live better lives.


Visit FFF tomorrow to see a video of Mary Gibbs, administrative manager at the Catholic Spirit, demonstrating how to make casamiento.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fish Tacos — with a twist of fusion

These are not your everyday fish tacos! The ingredients in this tangy, sweet sauce with a hint of heat combine in a vivacious creation — perfectly fusing flavors from Latin America and Asian cuisines.

Roxanne Saldana shared this gem in “A Tradition of Good Taste and Grace,” the cookbook published in 2010 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Immaculate Conception Parish in Rice, Minnesota. She credits her friend and fellow parishioner, Kelly Pruesser, for giving her the recipe. CJK

Fish Tacos — with a twist of fusion
(Roxanne Saldana)

1 medium-size mango, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup cubed avocado
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp. chopped, seeded jalapeño pepper
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1 lb. fish fillets or steaks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 lettuce leaves
4 flour tortillas
4 tsp. sweet Thai Chili sauce

Preheat gas grill (or oven, if broiling fish).

In small bowl, combine mango, avocado, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, 2 tsp. oil, lemon juice and honey and set aside.

Brush the fish with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grease rack on grill with oil or no-stick spray before placing fish on it. Grill (or broil) fish for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it flakes with a fork.

Place lettuce leaves on tortillas. Top with fish and mango mixture. Drizzle with Thai Chili sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

A note from Roxanne: The original recipe called for halibut, which is delicious, but I’ve used tilapia and several other kinds of fish, including sunfish. Any kind of fish works well. I’ve always grilled or baked the fish for these tacos but pan frying or broiling it, as suggested in the recipe, are also good options.

A note from Carol: I love fish tacos and enjoy them equally well in soft or hard shells. This recipe would also be terrific served in warmed crispy taco shells — either way I can hardly wait to try it!

Roxanne and her husband, Mark, are members of Immaculate Conception Parish in Rice.  They are the parents of two grown children, Kayla and Marcus, and grandparents to eight-month-old Carter, son of Kayla and her husband, Bill Kieke, who are also parishioners of Immaculate Conception.

Copies of “A Tradition of Good Taste and Grace” cookbooks can be ordered from the Immaculate Conception Parish office (320-393-2725) for $15, plus $5 shipping and handling.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Extreme Oven-Fried Fish

Have you been searching for a really simple fish recipe this Lenten season? Would you like it to turn out perfect every time?

Oookaay. Do you have what it takes to preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit? I’ll admit it — the first time I tried it I was skeptical about the extremely high temperature.

But, trust me on this one… You’ll soon get over your fear of what seems to be exceptionally high heat for little pieces of fish because they will turn out “just right” if you follow the directions. I’ve always set a timer and checked the fish after 10 minutes. (The fillets I’ve prepared have usually been thin and 10 minutes has been long enough.) The fish has flaked beautifully with a fork and it has been truly delicious! CJK

Extreme Oven-Fried Fish
(Adapted from a Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 lb. fish fillets or steaks
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 500°F. Spray a 13x9x2-inch pan with no-stick cooking spray.

If fish fillets are large, cut into 5 or 6 serving pieces. Stir salt into milk in a shallow dish. Pour breadcrumbs into another shallow dish.

Dip fish into milk, then coat with breadcrumbs. Place in prepared baking dish. Pour melted butter over fish. Place pan on oven rack that is slightly above the middle of the oven. Cook uncovered in 500°F oven between 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

A note from Carol: Once when I didn’t have any prepared breadcrumbs on hand, I crushed a handful of “cheesy snack mix” with my rolling pin. It added a nice flavor dimension. You could also substitute crushed (unsweetened) cereals like cornflakes, crackers of any kind or stuffing mix.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Malagasy Vary amin’anana

Madagascar, an island nation off the east coast of Southern Africa near Mozambique, is another of Operation Rice Bowl’s featured countries this year. This authentic Malagasy recipe includes their staple — rice — that is generally eaten there three times a day. Minced gingerroot adds a pleasant peppery bite to the fresh greens and juicy tomatoes in this traditional dish. CJK

Malagasy Vary amin’anana
(Operation Rice Bowl)

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, minced
1 tsp. gingerroot, minced
1 tomato, diced
3 cups collard greens, thinly sliced
2 cups water
1 cup rice
Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, ginger, and tomato — sauté for about two to three minutes or until tender. Add the greens and continue cooking for one minute, stirring the mixture during this time. Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and salt.

Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

A note from Carol: You could substitute fresh spinach or another kind of leafy green veggie, such as kale, Swiss chard, endive or broccoli raab for the collard greens.


Operation Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten program. Since 1975 it has connected Catholics in the United States with those in need around the world.


Visit FFF tomorrow to see a video of Mary Gibbs, administrative manager at the Catholic Spirit, demonstrating how to make vary amin’anana.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Zambian Nshima or Kenyan Ugali

I mentioned on Thursday that Zambian ifisashi is often served with nshima, a form of cornmeal mush or dumpling made from ground corn flour known as mealie-meal in Zambia. This dish is a staple throughout much of Africa. It’s called ugali or posho in East African countries, sadza in Zimbabwe, pap in South Africa and fufu in West Africa. It’s also found in Caribbean Creole cuisine — on the islands of Curacao and Aruba it is known as funchi, funjie in the Virgin Islands, fungi in Antigua and Dominica and mayi moulin in Haiti.

Father Bill Vos, Catholic Relief Services director for the Diocese of St. Cloud, lived in Tanzania for 16 years as a missionary. He explained to me that ugali (pronounced oo-golly) is a Swahili word and is a common generic term for this food throughout most of East Africa. He also mentioned that some of the African tribes use cooked bananas in a dish similar to the cornmeal ugali or nshima.

Kateri Mancini, coordinator of Mission Education at the diocese’s Mission Office, shares her recipe for ugali with FFF readers today. She traveled to Kenya in 2006 as part of the St. Cloud Diocese’s delegation to its sister diocese in Homa Bay. “Ugali was served with almost every meal we ate there,” she said. “It’s much like bread is to us and rice is in Asian countries.” CJK

Kenyan Ugali
(Kateri Mancini)

4 cups water
2 tsp. salt
2 cups, finely ground white cornmeal

Bring water and salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the cornmeal — add it to the water by slowly letting it fall through your fingers.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring frequently, smoothing any lumps with a spoon, until the cornmeal mush pulls away from the sides of the pot and becomes very thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Place the ugali in a large serving bowl. Wet hands with water. Form it into one large ball inside the bowl.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

A note from Kateri: Instead of using silverware, the Kenyans pulled off a piece of the cornmeal mush with their fingers, rolled it into a ball and then pushed their thumb into the center of it to make an indentation. The ugali became an edible utensil to scoop up the other dishes being served.

A note from Carol: White cornmeal is most commonly used for ugali. However, sorghum, millet, coarse cassava flour or hominy grits can be substituted. More or less water can be added to achieve a desired consistency.

Kateri described the traditional way to eat ugali or nshima — it would certainly add authenticity to your Operation Rice Bowl meal to eat it in this customary fashion. But if you would prefer, you could form larger balls with your hands or an ice cream scoop, place it in individual serving bowls and pour the ifisashi or another stew around it.

Kenya was one of Operation Rice Bowls featured countries last year. You might also like to try the recipes for Kenyan irio and Kenyan nyoyo during this Lenten season.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zambian Ifisashi

Perhaps you’ve sampled one of the Operation Rice Bowl recipes from Vietnam this past week. If so, you’ve likely welcomed the opportunity to unite with the Vietnamese people through this unique Catholic Relief Services program, which stresses prayer, fasting and acts of charity.

Zambia is another country that Operation Rice Bowl is highlighting this year. This ifisashi recipe from Zambia is a traditional thick, buttery peanut sauce with tomatoes, onions and greens served over hot rice. CJK

Zambian Ifisashi

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS
2 to 3 cups water
1 cup chopped peanuts
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bunches fresh collard greens (or spinach), washed and chopped
Salt to taste

2 to 4 cups hot cooked rice

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot and add the peanuts, tomatoes, and onion. After a few minutes, add the chopped greens. Stir occasionally while continuing to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until peanuts are soft and mixture has become a thick buttery sauce.

Serve hot over rice.

Yield:  4 to 5 servings

A note from Carol: I’ve learned from “The Zambian” website that versions of this stew-like combination are found all over central and southern Africa. While usually a vegetarian meal, meat is added if it’s available. Ifisashi is generally served with nshima, a cornmeal dumpling or mush.