Diaspora Food Culture Recipes

A New Potato Salad for Kwanzaa

So I got to thinking….

Potato salad is great.  It’s awesome.  It’s one of Germanic-Europe’s greatest gifts to the African American culinary canon, but I want to make it talk with fewer umlauts and more Mande and Wolof rhthyms…

So if G-d is good and I know he is–tonight after I get done with my shabbes-goy assisted phone call to Dr. Richard Cooper’s fantastic Karamu (ironically–FEAST!), I can begin to finalize my plans for all the holiday recipes I have to test, photograph and post since that’s all anybody is going to be thinking about as of next week.  If nothing else I promise Hannukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa will be addressed complete with recipes and food history as applicable to Afroculinaria.

If you would like to listen to the program please tune:

Karamu Today 7PM to 9PM EST Dec 16 th Listen Live at WWW.900AMWURD.COM

For now friends—this is what happens when the groundnut meets benne and they meet potato salad.  Let’s call it Senegal meets Lowcounty Kwanzaa Salad….

  • Ingredients: White, Yellow or Orange Sweet Potatoes–2 pounds–peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Red or White Baby Potatoes–1 pounds, peeled and cut in quarters
  • Peanut Butter—2 tbsps to 1/4 cup (depends on your taste…)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar–1/4 cup
  • Olive oil–2 tbsp
  • Hot Pepper—1 tsp of hot sauce or 1 tsp of hot pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt–t tsp
  • Black Pepper-1 tsp (I like coarse ground)
  • Sugar–1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • Sesame seeds–pref lightly toasted–1 tbsp (We call it benne from Wolof and Bamana!)
  • Garlic–1 clove minced
  • Ginger–1 tsp minced or 1 tsp of powdered ginger
  • Green Onion–4 tbsps minced

In a small pot, place the potatoes and enough salted water to taste to cover.  Bring to a boil  then reduce and cook until tender.  This process should not take more than say 15-20 minutes.  Between 10 and 20 minutes with a fork test is optimal.  (Yes I know that sounds redundant but I’m still wincing…)  Drain and toss with some of the lemon juice and allow to rest and cool.

In a medium size bowl prepare the dressing.  Whisk together until smoothly blended the peanut butter, remaining lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, sesame, garlic, ginger, kosher salt, black and hot pepper.

If you like your potato salad fresh–mix it, stir it up and toss with the green onion.  If you like it developed–as I do–mix the potatoes with the dressing and place it covered in the refrigerator.  When brought to table, garnish or toss with the green onion.

If you cannot live without chopped celery, white or yellow onion minced, or diced fresh bell pepper, feel free to throw them in at about a 1/4 cup each.  If you use them in addition to the other spices, please consider letting the salad develop so the tastes aren’t so harsh.


You always need luck 🙂

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