Braised Greens with Sweet Red Peppers for my Grand Ma Theresa
Stories & recipes of home. An extract from my new cook book, Africana.
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“This is a humble, verdant dish with so much love, goodness and sweet memories of family. I learned to cook braised greens from my mum when my grandma Theresa had diabetes and lived with us until she gently passed away. Although she was kept on a strict diet and told to avoid starchy foods, my sweet grandma adored plantains, just like my mother and I, and she simply could not give them up. So, we were advised to feed her boiled unripe (low-sugar) green plantains with her favourite stewed greens.
I love them with sweet peppers, puréed and sliced for a little texture, and with a smoky flavour from the paprika. Braised greens in various guises are emblematic across Africa: the spicy efo tete in Nigeria – amaranth cooked in a stew of red peppers and chillies, with an assortment of meat and fish; Ethiopian gomen – collard greens cooked in aromatics and spices; Ghanaian palaver sauce with taro leaves; and stews made with West African sorrel, or ‘bush okra’.” One can also find Jew’s mallow used in delicacies like ewedu in Nigeria and mulukhiyah or molokhia in North Africa and the Middle East. I hope that this recipe, inspired by my grandma Theresa, will encourage you to cook and love greens.”