Hawa Hassan Shares the Spicy Somali Pasta Recipe From Her New Cookbook, ‘In Bibi’s Kitchen’

“Grandmothers are the ultimate home cooks,” says Hawa Hassan. That’s why, for her new cookbook with Julia Turshen, In Bibi’s Kitchen, she decided to make them the focus. Part cooking guide, part educational material, and part journalistic exercise, the book features the beloved recipes, and stories, of matriarchs from eight African countries that touch the Indian Ocean. There’s Ma Gehennet, an Eritrean who emigrated first to Canada and then to New York, who shares her shiro (chickpea stew), Ma Wambui from Nairobi, who wants to dispute preconceptions that Kenyan food is “bland and uninteresting,” and Mozambique’s Ma Maria, a complete master of coconut sauce. As each talks about their food, family, and life choices, a diverse and uplifting portrait emerges about both the Eastern African coast and the African immigrant experience in America. “My ultimate goal in life is really to tell an accurate and beautiful story about the continent, not one of despair,” says Hassan. 

Hassan’s book comes at an important time for the food and restaurant industry which, over the past several months, has faced a reckoning over whose culinary stories get told, and whose cuisines get supported. It’s a fact not lost on Hassan, who was born in Somalia, then escaped to Kenya during the country’s civil war before settling in Seattle. “African people have not been handed the mic,” she says. “There’s a misconception that [the cuisine] is difficult, that it’s far, that it’s not ‘sexy,’ for lack of a better word. But that’s not true. Everything you need, for the most part, is in your pantry. We want to dismantle that this food is somehow at a reach.”

It’s a goal that In Bibi’s Kitchen succeeds at. Full of delicious and easy-to-make dishes, you’ll find yourself wondering why, exactly, a Somali restaurant serving canjeero (sourdough pancakes) and suugo suqaar (pasta with spicy meat sauce) hasn’t popped up in your neighborhood, or why we aren’t downing more Mozambique ginger-beer or rum berry-soda cocktails on Friday nights. As Hassan notes of her East African coast recipe collection: “It’s clean, it’s lean, and it’s beautiful.”

Inspired to cook something for yourself? Below, find the recipe for suugo suqaar.

Suugo Suqaar

Italy’s colonization of southern Somalia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had a lasting impact on Somali cuisine. Suugo is the most popular of Somali pasta sauces and resembles an easy weeknight meat sauce but the added flavor of Xawaash Spice Mix makes it distinctly Somali (and distinctly tasty). You can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken in place of the beef if you’d like. Serve with cooked pasta (any shape will work, whether it be a strand-like spaghetti or a shorter cut like penne).

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil 

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped 

1 small red onion, finely chopped 

1 pound ground beef 

3 tablespoons Xawaash Spice Mix (see below) 

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed 

2 tablespoons tomato

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Barbie Bakes Cookbook For Kids

Budding bakers who are looking for a slew of sweet recipes to try are in luck because a brand-new cookbook, Barbie Bakes, is hitting shelves on Nov. 3. Created for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, it includes 50 recipes for easy-to-make treats, like chewy granola bars, gluten-free meringues, and even a Barbie-themed birthday cake.

Although the recipes in Barbie Bakes include desserts, its mission is to educate kids on facilitating healthy eating habits and learning proper baking techniques. “Barbie Bakes fosters an intergenerational cooking experience while simultaneously educating kids on essential baking techniques and making healthy choices,” the Bookshop description says. “With 50 recipes presented alongside stylized, colorful images and inviting illustrations, Barbie creates an engaging and inspiring atmosphere for kids to learn, setting them up for a lifetime of rewarding experiences in the kitchen.”

Ahead, get a look at a selection of recipes from Barbie Bakes, and be sure to preorder a copy for your children ASAP.

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Clueless in the Kitchen: A Cookbook for Teens by Evelyn Raab and George A Walker

Know any teenagers who don’t know how to cook, but should or want to learn? A little clueless in the kitchen yourself and you are over the age of 20? If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then I have a book for you.

Clueless in the Kitchen is a book I have known about since I was a teenager and I am well past my teen years, but I still use this book as a reference and for some tried and true recipes. This is a good book to start with for beginner cooks who don’t know how to do things as simple as how to boil water because it gives basic knowledge, simple recipes and even includes menu ideas for the recipes it has shown you how to make. What is especially helpful is that the book is broken up into sections such as breakfast, baking, desserts, soups,etc. This is especially good for someone who wants to impress by planning a whole meal from start finish including an appetizer, main course and dessert. In the very beginning of the book after the chapter guides, you will find a guide to the kitchen that explains how to do things such as defrosting the freezer, clean the stove, how to properly use the dishwasher and other common things that you might not know how to do because you have never personally done yourself. In the back of the book there is also a metric conversion table to help those of us who have some difficulties converting teaspoons and cups to millimeters and liters. Right before the conversion table, there is a terminology guide as well to explain some of the terms that might not make sense and you have never heard of before.

I have tried many different recipes in this book and continue to do so, but over the years I have come love a few specific recipes and use them over and over. I am not that good at savory items, but I have yet to have a problem making the X-ray Vision soup or the Potato soup. Both items are simple to make and absolutely delicious, especially the X-Ray vision soup because it’s a lighter(it’s not creamy) and is full of carrots which are said to help with the health of your eyes. The Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake is another one of my favorites because it’s quick and easy and it’s not heavy and dense like most coffee cakes are.

Overall, I would say great book for everyone no matter what your age and skill level because there is something for everyone in this book.…

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