In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Sourdough pancakes (Canjeero / Lahoh)

    • mcvl on November 29, 2020

      These are the bomb -- we're definitely adding them to our family repertoire. Yeasty, chewy, soul-satisfying. And they confirm my belief that you don't need an old sourdough starter to make a sourdough if you've baked or fermented enough in your kitchen so that you have a rich supply of yeasty guys in the air.

    • mcvl on November 30, 2020

      Additional note: These freeze and re-heat perfectly, first a quick defrost in the microwave, then on to crispy goodness in the toaster oven. I want always to have a dozen canjeeros in the freezer.

  • Tomato and onion salad (Kachumbari)

    • mcvl on November 14, 2020

      OK; good. I like the use of avocado as the oily element in the dressing.

    • EmilyR on October 14, 2020

      This is a refreshing and simple salad of sorts, but I couldn't help but think it felt like I was eating salsa ingredients that hadn't yet been pureed.

    • Robolovesfood on February 19, 2021

      I loved the tip about soaking the raw onions to remove the bite.

  • Ma Penny’s sautéed cabbage

    • Apollonia on March 28, 2021

      Extremely simple side, but yummy. I always have a bottle of Lawry's languishing in my pantry for popcorn, and it was surprisingly tasty here.

  • Ma Shara’s ajemi bread with carrots and green pepper

    • Apollonia on March 26, 2021

      Had a bit of a disaster trying to knead this in the food processor (spoiler alert: don't), which turned it into a soupy mess. Another cup of flour later, it came together. The veggies are nice, but otherwise, a fairly plain, tasty flatbread.

    • mjes on August 25, 2021

      A simple yeasted skillet bread with grated vegetables to set it apart.

  • Ma Shara’s quick stewed eggplant with coconut

    • Apollonia on March 26, 2021

      This grew us on a bit as we ate it, but it was fairly plain and not particularly flavorful. Maybe with better quality eggplants?

    • sosayi on February 18, 2021

      I would agree with dbruijn that this took a lot longer to cook the eggplant than stated. But, I actually thought it had a lot of flavour. Nothing intense, but cozy and comforting. Went well with the spiced fried fish and the Zanzibar pilau.

    • dbruijn on January 09, 2021

      This was very plain. Took a lot longer to cook the eggplants.

  • Ma Gehennet’s stewed spinach (Zebhi hamli)

    • Apollonia on March 30, 2021

      We enjoyed this! I didn't bother defrosting my spinach (which was very finely cut already), and it turned out great.

  • Chicken stew with yogurt and coconut (Digaag qumbe)

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Amy made this for our shared meal. Quite delicious. I enjoyed eating the banana with the stew. Would make this again.

    • bernalgirl on November 12, 2020

      A good gently-spiced stew, I followed the recipe except I substituted cut romano beans for the carrots as that’s what I had on hand. Will make again

    • meginyeg on June 01, 2022

      We liked this Very tasty. I will probably try to make vegetarian next time with no chicken and maybe chickpeas.

    • celesteprevost on April 09, 2021

      Tasty. Great with pork, as well. I’ve also made this now a few times with a stovetop pressure cooker; 5 mins, high pressure, natural release, no adjustment to liquid needed, and can skip blending the sauce in first step.

    • Kduncan on January 18, 2021

      We really enjoyed this. Pretty easy to make with great flavor. Looking forward to making it again.

    • jenburkholder on November 01, 2021

      We made this with chickpeas to keep it vegetarian. Very tasty, mildly spiced but cozy and nice. Served with the cilantro and green chile sauce, and it needed it, imo. Would have been too bland for me otherwise. Ate with brown rice and stewed greens.

  • Xawaash spice mix

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Amy made a batch of this and shared it with me. it was a necessary ingredient for my samosa filling. When I added it to the pan, I was instantaneously transported to India. Wonderful, fragrant stuff!

    • TrishaCP on November 20, 2021

      This is so fragrant and lovely. I halved the recipe and it still made a ton. Out of carelessness and using too small of a pan, I burned the spices the first time that I made this, and had to pitch the batch. The second time, I toasted each spice individually, and I would recommend that approach.

    • bernalgirl on November 12, 2020

      Excellent in the recipes in this book and so much more. Works great in scrambled eggs and roasted vegetables, will try with roasted potatoes and grilled fish or chicken. While this seems like a lot, the Suqaar alone several tablespoons do I think we’ll go through this pretty quickly.

    • EmilyR on October 14, 2020

      This is requisite to make the chicken biryani. I love the scent (heavy on the cumin) and flavor and think it would pair nicely with chicken or potatoes even if you don't go the extra effort to make the biryani. Also, it's a sizable quantity, so you may want to scale it down.

  • Ma Sahra's spiced chicken and onion samosas

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Made these as my contribution to our shared Supper club (socially distanced) menu. I loved these. The filling is fragrant and well balanced. The recipe for the dough worked, but more detailed instructions on how to wrap would have been helpful. I found some online. I have some leftover filling in the freezer and plan to make them using store bought wrappers from our local Indian market. Overall, a great recipe. The spice mix is key. Next time buy ground chicken instead of dicing it up myself.

  • Date bread

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Marie made this for our shared meal substituting GF flour. It was not a sweet bread, which I found surprising.

    • okmosa on May 02, 2021

      I love dates so much and I was expecting this bread to feel a lot more like banana bread, but why should I? At the listed 40 minutes, I think I overbaked it as it was dry to me. But why should I expect it to be moist as I’ve never had this bread before? I sat down with a couple slices and a cup of tea this afternoon and it was lovely.

    • mpo on February 22, 2021

      I found this bread to be sweet, delicious but something you would not serve with a savory meal or even have with soup.

  • Cashew and potato cake (Bolo Polana)

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Julie made this for our shared meal. W-o-w! Way more than the sum of its parts. The orange in this really distinctive. I gobbled it down. I can't wait to make this for myself. Def. the highlight of the meal.

  • Ma Khanyisa’s wild greens with corn porridge (Imifino)

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Amy made this as part of our shared menu. I really enjoyed it but Dave did not. I did not add the corn porridge to the dish.

  • Sweet pea soup with coconut and ginger

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Lori made this for our shared menu. Delicious. (Spicy).

    • Frenchfoodie on November 22, 2020

      Made this as I was keen to use up some coconut milk. It was unexpectedly delicious, delicate and a beautiful pale green colour. Very repeatable though when my husband is not around as he wasn’t a fan.

  • Curried pigeon peas (Ambrevades au curry)

    • DKennedy on February 22, 2021

      Carol made this dish for our shared menu. Interesting, something I never would have made but I enjoyed trying.

    • jenburkholder on February 14, 2021

      Used black-eyed peas. Very nice, mildly spiced. Served w/ collard greens and mukimo.

  • Pasta sauce with beef (Suugo suqaar)

    • TrishaCP on November 20, 2021

      I’m going to add my rave about this recipe. It was seriously good.

    • bernalgirl on November 12, 2020

      Delicious and savory sauce, a nice change from the standard Italian meat sauce. This would be great in a baked pasta casserole

    • Frenchfoodie on November 22, 2020

      Seriously good, really deep and complex flavour from the spice mix in what is otherwise a fairly standard bolognese.

    • jenburkholder on May 31, 2021

      Tasty! We subbed a 12 oz package of Impossible ground for the beef and it still made a fairly large portion. Not everyone was taken with it, but personally, I thought it was repeat-worthy.

  • Somali cilantro and green chile pepper sauce

    • bernalgirl on November 13, 2020

      I did NOT like this at first, the lime and coconut milk combined seemed almost rancid. But I gave it a shake and put it in the fridge and by dinner time the clouds parted and the angels sang. Since then I’ve been enjoying it on both the suugo Suqaar and the chicken stew, as well as the leftover fried tuna steaks, roasted cauliflower, scrambled eggs, and even an onion and chile uthappam. So good!

  • Ma Halima’s beef suqaar

    • bernalgirl on April 15, 2022

      I made this to the recipe except with ground chuck, and per the recipe I added more vegetables, including kohlrabi and leftover roasted cauliflower. It came together quickly and the flavors are lovely, especially with a squeeze of lime to finish the dish. This is not a centerpiece dish, but as she describes, it’s like a stirfry, a nice addition to a meal of multiple components, it rounded out a meal that included a Kenyan bean dish in a coconut sauce and a brightly-dressed green salad.

    • lkgrover on August 08, 2022

      Good beef stew; I served with the recommended "Basmati rice pilaf with raisins (Bariis)". Used "beef stew meat" cut into bite-size pieces; not sure what specific cut I had. I doubled the cooking time of the beef & onions; also doubled the water added. And substituted carrot leaves (tops) for cilantro.

    • Kduncan on January 18, 2021

      This was fine. We enjoyed it. The biggest problem was due to the cut off beef and the cooking style, the meat was pretty tough, would probably cook the beef longer on lower heat next time.

    • dc151 on November 12, 2020

      I really liked the flavor of this one. Straightforward to make. But took longer to cook even with very small pieces. I would suggest holding off adding any vegetables until your meat is nice and tender. I also had to add more water several times during cooking

    • Robolovesfood on February 14, 2021

      I enjoyed this dish and let the meat cook longer than the directions stated. It was tender and very flavorful. You probably could use ground beef.

    • Acarroll on September 24, 2021

      Because of previous notes, I decided to slow-cook this overnight. The beef was so tender and the flavors all worked very well. I served it on top of the rice from the next page in the book.

  • Ma Shara’s spiced fried fish

    • bernalgirl on November 08, 2020

      Addictively delicious and so easy, few simple ingredients slathered on tuna steaks just an hour before frying, this is going into the regular rotation

    • sosayi on February 18, 2021

      Easy and delicious, just as bernalgirl said. Used black cod, and will definitely repeat.

  • Ma Kauthar’s semolina cake (Basboosa)

    • bernalgirl on November 10, 2022

      Lovely texture and flavor, an easy cake with ingredients I had on hand. I cut the sugar to 0.75 cup to balance the cardamom syrup and it was perfect, a nice dessert with fruit and even better the next day with coffee. I also made it with 1/4 cup poppyseeds because one of my guests doesn’t like coconut and it was different but equally good.

  • Rice pilaf (Zanzibar pilau)

    • bernalgirl on November 02, 2020

      A very gently spiced and tasty pilau — I added toasted vermicelli a la Lebanese rice to entice the rice-averse family members, and would do this again. I also used 1/2 chicken stock instead of all water.

    • sosayi on February 18, 2021

      Easy to make in a rice cooker: just cook the onions and spices in advance and add to pot with rice and coconut milk, adding enough water, as needed. Agree that's it's nicely and gently spiced, but tasty.

    • KristenS on December 30, 2020

      Really simple and delicious. Everyone loved!

  • Spicy vegetable relish (Chakalaka)

    • bernalgirl on November 13, 2020

      I haven’t made grilled cheese sandwiches but I have had this on cheese toast with good w/w sourdough and sharp cheddar for breakfast a few times and it’s a new favorite.

  • Ma Maria’s leafy greens in coconut sauce (Mbowa)

    • bernalgirl on November 14, 2021

      A great recipe for greeens, the coconut milk adds a wonderful dimension

  • Ma Jeanne’s carrot salad with vinaigrette

    • bernalgirl on January 17, 2021

      An easy side salad that is more than the sum of its parts, and adds great balance to a meal from the Madagascar section. I served with the white beans and ginger garlic chicken and would make this meal again.

  • Ma Jeanne’s traditional Malagasy white beans (Tsaramaso Malagasy)

    • bernalgirl on January 17, 2021

      Nice but very plain even with good heirloom beans. A good side dish for something with more punch, and the leftovers will be a great addition to a soup.

  • Tomato relish (Lasary legioma)

    • bernalgirl on November 02, 2020

      A great addition to my tomato salad collection, and perfect with the Chicken thighs with garlic, ginger, and coconut oil (Akoho misy sakamalao)

  • Chicken thighs with garlic, ginger, and coconut oil (Akoho misy sakamalao)

    • bernalgirl on November 02, 2020

      How can something so simple be this good? Go for the full 24-hour marinading time. Also great grilled with a drizzle of coconut oil to finish.

    • KristenS on December 30, 2020

      So simple but so delicious! Even the non-dark-meat likers enjoyed it. Definitely make again.

    • jenburkholder on September 05, 2021

      Very good and oh-so-simple. Did the full marinating time and cooked in a cast iron pan, flipping repeatedly as the garlic/ginger and chicken edges browned up deeply.

  • Watermelon juice with lime, ginger, and mint

    • EmilyR on October 14, 2020

      Refreshing and simple!

  • Ma Kauthar’s chicken biryani

    • EmilyR on October 14, 2020

      I'd simplify this by not frying up your own red onions and buying those, but frying isn't my forte. There are several other components that need fried. The potatoes are quite filling and I think it generally tastes better the next day.

    • Rachaelsb on February 26, 2022

      OMG!!!! This was delicious. Nothing like I’ve ever eaten before. That being said, 3 hours from start to finish of continuous prepping and cooking. But soooo worth it!

  • Somali spiced tea with milk (Shaah cadays)

    • EmilyR on October 14, 2020

      This is a solid chai style tea. I'd cut back the sugar a bit... it's definitely sweet, but it's delicious and smells incredible, too.

    • mjes on August 25, 2021

      A solid spiced milk tea so similar to some South Asian recipes I'm not sure I could tell the difference. Still on the sweet side so add sugar by taste not measure.

  • Ma Gehennet’s Eritrean flatbreads (Kicha)

    • EmilyR on October 14, 2020

      These are super quick to make. I don't love frying things, but that's how these cook in a skillet. It was slightly mixed reviews, including some saying they tasted similarly to play-dough. They have a salty wheaty flavor.

  • Ma Penny’s mashed green split peas, corn, and potatoes (Mukimo)

    • Tinala523 on October 26, 2022

      Family thought it was very bland and some did not like the pea taste. I added extra salt and butter. Oddly, I thought they wouldn't like the hominy, but nope! Will try the other version.

    • jenburkholder on February 14, 2021

      Good, but not as good as the other mukimo.

  • Basmati rice pilaf with raisins (Bariis)

    • lkgrover on August 08, 2022

      Flavorful rice pilaf with lots of vegetables & spices. I served with "Ma Halima's beef suqaar" (beef stew), as suggested.

  • Greens with tomatoes (Sukuma wiki)

    • dzant on March 13, 2021

      I loved this! Used canned tomatoes b/c all I had and mix of kale and collards.

    • jenburkholder on February 14, 2021

      Very tasty! The sharpness of the lemon was great.

  • Iced rooibos tea with orange, cloves, and cinnamon

    • jsguaium on February 04, 2021

      Easy and delicious; with or without orange juice.

  • Mashed limas with onions, tomatoes, and chiles (Shahan ful)

    • jenburkholder on November 25, 2021

      We made this along with a couple of other recipes from the book (repeats both, the sukuma wiki and the mukimo with onions and (not) greens). We had a one pound bag of frozen baby limas so used part in this dish and then cooked the rest separately to add to the mukimo in lieu of the canned beans. This was good, easy, and a nice spicy contrast to the other dishes. Would repeat.

  • Black-eyed peas and tomatoes in peanut sauce (Kunde)

    • jenburkholder on December 31, 2020

      Very good! Super quick and easy, but still nicely flavorful. We added collards and topped with hot sauce (needed some vinegar). We also used a mix of smashed peanuts and peanut butter. Served over mukimo. Would definitely repeat.

  • Ma Wambui’s mukimo with onions and greens

    • jenburkholder on December 31, 2020

      We omitted the greens, but still really liked this served with the next page’s kunde. It was reminiscent of mashed potatoes, but lighter, thanks to the beans, and with the occasional chewy piece of corn for texture. We had home-cooked limas, but it would have also been excellent with canned. Relatively quick and quite tasty.

  • Ma Abeba’s stewed injera with meat, tomatoes, and onions (Firfir)

    • Robolovesfood on February 19, 2021

      This is a great use of leftover injera bread. Loved the tang that it gave the dish.

  • Berbere spice mix

    • Robolovesfood on February 19, 2021

      This is a very fragrant spice mix that can be used in lots of recipes.

  • Stewed chicken legs with berbere and eggs (Doro wat)

    • Ishie1013 on December 06, 2022

      Really nice recipe though the berbere blend I used (Penzey’s) was heavier on the chiles than the given recipe so this was absolutely face meltingly hot. But it was very good. Just taste your blend and adjust to your tastes.

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  • ISBN 10 1984856731
  • ISBN 13 9781984856739
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 13 2020
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 288
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Ten Speed Press

Publishers Text

Grandmothers from eight eastern African countries welcome you into their kitchens to share flavorful recipes and stories of family, love, and tradition in this transporting cookbook-meets-travelogue.

In this incredible volume, renowned food writer Julia Turshen and Somali chef Hawa Hassan present 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African nations: South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea. Most notably, these eight countries are at the backbone of the spice trade, many of them exporters of things like pepper and vanilla. We meet women such as Biubwa Fazaldin, a renowned cook who ran a Tanzanian high school cafeteria for years and now lives on the island nation of Comoros; Ma Vicky, a real-life princess from Tanzania, who now lives in suburban New York and makes a mean Matoke (Stewed Plantains with Beans and Beef); and Somalia's Ashura Babu-Bi Ashura, widow to Abdulrahman Babu, the late Zanzibari Marxist and revolutionary leader, known for her Samaki Wa Kupaka (Coconut Fish Curry).

Through Julia and Hawa's writing--and their own personal stories--the women, and the stories behind the recipes, come to life. With evocative photography shot on location by Khadija Farah, and food photography by Jennifer May, In Bibi's Kitchen uses food to teach us all about families, war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary.

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