Heritage Cooking

In this series, authors and cooks delve deliciously into the stories and secrets behind their favorite recipes. We explore the traditions and origins behind iconic foods from around the world, and share recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation among families and communities. Learn to make Mexican tamales, the Filipino ginger-chicken soup tinola, Vietnamese-style Brussels sprouts, Southern barbecue and mac and cheese, and much more.

Most Recent

Collard & Rice Dumplings with Mamba 9 Sauce
Here tender collards are wrapped around a filling of rice and lamb spiked with Japanese ingredients like sake and furikake, then baked in a barbecue-like sauce that gets sweetness from pineapple juice, for an incredibly flavorful dish. Dark leafy greens like collards are the base of the African Heritage Diet food pyramid, a pattern of eating that draws from the foodways of the African diaspora. You'll make more sauce than you need, but you won't be mad about it! Freeze it away and serve with grilled pork, chicken or tofu.
Red Red
Red Red is a black-eyed pea (cowpea) stew cooked in a gently spiced tomato sauce. It's a great vegan dish that's eaten all day long in Ghana—as an alternative to baked beans for breakfast, or a bean casserole for lunch or dinner. It's usually eaten with fried ripe plantains. Seek out red palm oil in well-stocked grocery stores or African markets—it's the key to the stew's vibrant color. Recipe adapted with permission from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen, Hachette Book Group, 2021.
Citrus Salad with Pomegranate & Mint
This citrus salad, made with grapefruit, tangerines and navel and blood oranges, is equally at home as part of your brunch spread or served as a refreshing low-sugar dessert. A sprinkle of orange blossom water gives it a heady fragrance.
Turnip Green Pesto
This easy pesto recipe is a great way to make use of often-discarded turnip greens and is a fan-favorite dish at Make Food Not Waste, an organization committed to keeping food out of landfills. Read on to find out how their Upcycling Kitchen project is helping supplement food availability in Detroit communities. If you can't find turnip greens, you can make this pesto with kale and/or collards. Toss with cooked pasta or drizzle over roasted potatoes or root vegetables.
Beet & Fonio Salad with Spicy Pickled Carrots
This salad is an exquisite combination of flavors: sweet roasted beets mingle with the spicy acidity of the pickled carrots, fragrant dill and the subtle earthiness of fonio. Recipe adapted with permission from The Fonio Cookbook, Lake Isle Press, 2019.
Bammy with Basil-Tamarind Pistou
Bammy is made by shaping ground cassava into discs. The cakes are lightly seasoned and pan-fried to seal their shape, then soaked in coconut milk and pan-fried once more until golden brown and crisp. They're a staple in Jamaica, where they're served with everything from jerk pork to ackee (a fruit that's cooked with onions, peppers and fresh thyme, and is said to visually resemble scrambled eggs) and saltfish.

Celebrating Foods of the African Diaspora

Migration Meals: How African American Food Transformed the Taste of America
During the Great Migration, millions of African Americans left the South and settled in the rest of the United States, bringing rich culinary traditions with them—sweet potato pie, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, barbecue and so much more.  
This Curried Cabbage Dish Will Transport You to the Eastern Coast of Kenya
In this installment of our series on foods of the African diaspora, Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D., notes that curry is the connection in this simple dish from Kenya.