Reverse Dosa

16 12 2012

Dosas might be one of my favorite meals. They are a crepe-like pancake made out of lentil flour and usually stuffed with a potato mixture. You can find them at Indian and Nepalese restaurants, and I highly recommend them. However, today I’m going to tell you about my new favorite power packed breakfast: the reverse dosa. Potato hash brown on the outside and lentils on the inside! Lentils, full of nutrients and protein, make an excellent complement to the hash brown ensuring your breakfast will not only wake you up, but keep you going all morning.



1 and 1/2 cups of potatoes, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup of simple daahl (lentils, water, veggie broth and water)

To make the daahl, boil lentils in veggie stock until they are completely broken down and look like lentil mush and then salt and pepper to taste. I like to start with two cups of stock to one cup of lentils and then add water as needed. For example, if the water is starting to run out and lentils are in danger of sticking to the pan, but they don’t looked mushy yet, add more water. If the lentils are starting to look mushy, and you still have a lot of water left, you should take off the lid (if you have been using one) and boil off the water. Make sure to stir more often when you are doing this to keep the lentils from sticking. For brown lentils, this process takes a while – about an hour – and will require a lot of water. For red lentils it will be closer to 20 minutes, and will be closer to the 2 to 1 ratio of water to lentils. For this recipe I prefer brown lentils, and like to make a big batch once a week so all I need to do is heat them up in the mornings.

Once you have your daahl, make one large hash brown pancake. Heat up the daahl and place inside the hash brown. Then fold over the hash brown. Enjoy!


Hash Browns

10 12 2012

For the past two weeks I have had hash browns every single morning for breakfast. No, this is not an overstatement. In fact, I would say since I moved to Kedougou I eat hash browns for breakfast about 80% of the time. So, in honor of how much I eat these, I feel I owe you a few blog posts on this topic. To start us off, I bring to you today a guest post from Rachel Billings. She is the one who taught me how to make hash browns, so I figured it would be appropriate that she share her knowledge with you directly today.

2012-10-23 16.38.55

Spuds, taters, potatoes, starchy golden deliciousness, Hash browns!

This simple breakfast food has a special place in my heart. As a kid my father taught me how to make hash browns. They were his favorite…. and probably the only thing he didn’t ever burn! When I got older I got interested in running races and triathlons, and my dad was my best training partner. After every race we competed in we always made hash browns. Coffee and hash browns: The best recovery meal in my opinion.

Take as many potatoes that you want to eat (I have in one sitting eaten 2 pounds of hash browns….).

Peel the skins.

Shred with a grater. If this is your first time, I recommend cooking 1 and 1/2 cups of hash at a time.

Pour enough oil in a non-stick flat pan to cover the bottom well. You will need about 1/4 a cup of oil for 1 and 1/2 cups of hash.

Turn heat on high.

Wait for about 2 minutes to get the oil really hot.

Load in your spuds.

–a note: once you put the potatoes in the pan, do not stir them because this will cause them to stick. Just throw them in, flatten them out so they take up as much surface area as you have and then don’t move them. That is the key to not sticking your potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Keep on med – high heat until the first flip (about 2-5 minutes). When the spuds are starting to turn brown on the edges and the middle is starting to dry out a bit if you can easily slip a spatula underneath now is the time to flip. Like a pancake, you want to try and get the whole thing in one flip, but if you mess up it’s no big deal just as long as all the potatoes get cooked.

Once you do the first flip, turn the heat down to medium-low. This will ensure that the potatoes in the middle get cooked.

Flip a second time when the spuds on the bottom are a golden brown (about 15 min for 1 and 1/2 cups of hash at med-low heat).

Continue to cook until they taste done (looses that pure starch taste) and are golden brown and crunchy on the outside. You can flip to cook whichever areas aren’t yet golden brown, and you might want to turn the heat back up to help crisp up the outsides. If it starts to burn, turn down the heat and or add more oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with ketchup or other breakfast things, or just coffee!

That’s all.

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P.S. Make sure a certain someone (cough couCAMILLEgh) tells you if the top to the salt is off……

salty hash browns

Black Bean Burgers

8 11 2012

I found black beans in Dakar (at Hypermarche). Those of you reading from the United States will probably not understand how exciting this is. Let’s just say I bought all but 2 of the cans….

Armed with a brand new blender and 12 cans of black beans there is really only one option: black bean burgers! I don’t have much experience with veggie burgers, but what I like about this recipe is the texture of the final product. Usually I end up liking the taste of home-made veggie burgers, but they are always so crumbly. These actually came out as patties that browned nicely and didn’t fall apart. In fact they were almost a bit chewy (but in a good way). I’m not sure how I made that happen, but I’m very excited about it (-:

serves 2


3 cloves garlic

3 cherry tomatoes

1/2 carrot, shredded (use the other half to saute for the topping)

1/8 cup of chives

1/2 onion, sautéed

1 can of black beans (14 oz), drained

2 tsp flax with 4 tbsp of water (egg replacer)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp herbs de Provence

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose gf flour

Mix the flax seeds and water together and set aside for 10 minutes, whisk again before using (this should have an egg like consistency). Mince the garlic in the food processor (I used a blender because it’s all I have). Add all the other ingredients except flour and blend until smooth. In a bowl, add the flour to thicken the bean mix. Your final mix will still be quite loose, but you will be able to form patties with it. Heat up a pan with oil. When the oil is hot, form patties from the bean mixture and fry. Fry the patties until they are almost starting to burn (aka make these burgers ‘well done’). Serve slathered in sautéed carrots, bell peppers, and onions with a cucumber tomato side salad. Or, you know, ketchup and fries.

Note: I found the mixture to be very liquid and thus difficult to form patties. However once these patties were fried they formed together great. If you want the mixture to be easier to work with you can put it in the fridge. I left some of the bean mix in the fridge overnight and the next day it was thicker and easier to work with, but still fried up nicely. The picture below is the patties I could make with the mixture after it sat in the fridge overnight.

If you are making this in Senegal and do not have all-purpose gluten free flour try to use a blend of whatever flours you have available (millet, sorghum, corn, chickpea). Or if you are not gluten sensitive, use some wheat flour from the boutique.

Mung Noodle Stir Fry

1 11 2012

Of course, anytime I make the 12 hour car ride to Dakar the first thing I want to do is to stock up on groceries from the Hypermarche Exclusif. This time, browsing through the shelves I found two very exciting items: mung bean noodles and tomato sweet chili Chinese cooking sauce (that is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan)! Remembering the Thai stir fry my mom used to make me in high school, I decided to give it a try with this new sauce and loved the results. The first taste is a simple and sweet veggie noodle stir fry, but it finishes off with a pleasant kick.

serves 4



1 onion

1 tblspn vegetable oil

2 carrots

2 small/medium zucchini

3 small bell peppers (yellow, green, and red)

4 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup Tomato Sweet Chili Chinese Cooking Sauce, or to taste

1 (250g) package of mung bean noodles

salt and pepper to taste


Julienne the vegetables. Sautee the carrots and onions in oil. It is best to do this in a wok if you have one, but if not, a large, deep pan would work as well. Add the remaining vegetables and the Tomato Sweet Chili Chinese Cooking Sauce. Stir and cover, stirring occasionally until vegetables are fully cooked. In the meantime, add the mung noodles to boiling water (it may seem like you have a lot but these noodles don’t puff up the way pasta does so there will actually seem like less once they are cooked). The noodles only have to be in the water for maybe two minutes before they are soft, as soon as they are soft drain them and rinse with cold water. Then throw these noodles into your stir fried vegetables, mix and serve.

This is also great cold – I had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Three Bean Chili

29 10 2012

During my last trip to Matam to help out with the Eye Clinic and visit my homestay family, Meredith Hickson taught me how to make this simple but tasty chili. Now visiting Sarah Keyes in Dakar we decided to whip some up and serve it with cornbread — such great comfort food! I do not have exact measurements to offer you today because I was using whatever spices were on hand, and most of them were mixes that you probably wouldn’t see in the US. Instead, I will list approximately what we used and expect you to play a little with the amounts until it tastes good (-:

serves 6


2 medium carrots, chopped

vegetable oil (I used sunflower)

1 medium green pepper, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 small head of garlic, diced

1.5 large cans of diced tomatoes

1 small can of butter beans, drained

1 small can of black-eyed peas, drained

1 small can of red kidney beans, drained

3/4 large can of corn (this would probably also work well with just a small can of corn)

1 tblspn? creole seasoning (garlic, chili powder, cayenne, sugar, paprika, pepper, and onion)

3 tsp? cumin

2 shakes of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg mix

1 or 2 tsp sugar

1 tsp vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the carrots in a small amount of oil. Add the green pepper, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Let simmer for a while, allowing the tomatoes to break down. Remember to stir occasionally to ensure the stew doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and begin to add some of the spices. Once the tomatoes have sufficiently broken down (or you are tired of waiting), add the beans and corn. Finish spicing and serve hot with cornbread.

Kothimbir Vadi

23 10 2012

I found this recipe on, and am so glad I stumbled across it because it is a gem! This is kind of like a frittata or fried polenta made from chickpea flour and cilantro. When I made it I didn’t use garlic pods or chilis (because I didn’t have them), although I threw in a little cayenne pepper. I think it came out good, a bit mild, but I don’t like spicy food.

The next day I served it with some black lentils I had cooked up and they went great together for a protein heavy lunch. It also makes a great alternate “tea cake” to serve with chai (-:

To make this in Senegal ask for “Persi Sinioux” at the local market: that is cilantro. It is also called coriander (to clarify, what we call cilantro is really just the leaves of the coriander plant). Chickpea flour can be found at Hypermarche, it is unmarked but found in the Indian Foods aisle. They have been out of stock lately, but promise it is coming soon. Ask for “Ble de Pois Chiches”. Most of the spices you can find in Dakar, but feel free to substitute if you don’t want to spend the money. I found ginger and garlic in the market, and then just used curry powder instead of the correct spices. It is not as good, but still very tasty.

Chickpea Tangine wth Cinnamon, Cumin, and Carrots

15 11 2008

I love this recipe – quick, easy, tasty, and cheap – what could be better? I adapted it from Vegetarian Times, October 2008.

serves 4

30min, or less


2Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 med. carrots, sliced into thin rounds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp agave nectar
3 Tbs. finely chopped parsley

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute 2-3 minutes, or until onion slices are soft. Stir in chickpeas, carrots, spices, agave nectar, and 2 cups of water. cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

serve with parsley as a garnish. I like to serve this over rice just to make it last a bit longer.

Rice and Beans ala Jack

26 08 2008

Having planned poorly (more like not planned) for the NEFFA dance festival this year, I was kicking myself at the lack of gluten-free, soy-free, vegan food available. Luckily, Jack Kling was able to throw this meal together with ingredients he found. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was and continue to make it. I know, it’s just rice and beans, but the flavor/texture here is great.

your favorite cooked rice
1 can black beans
4 or 5 small sliced tomatoes
sliced sweet onion
1 T olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lime

Roast corn with cayenne and cilantro.

Drain black beans. Heat in pot with a dash of oregano and two dashes of cinnamon. In a separate bowl combine tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and lime juice (you can substitute this for apple cider vinegar). chop cilantro for topping. Layer rice, black beens, onions, corn, and top with cilantro. enjoy.

Lemon Ginger Tea

4 05 2008

1 slice lemon
1 small piece of ginger (or some grated ginger to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon (or 1/2 a cinnamon stick)

to make the flavors stronger grate the ginger and break up the cinnamon stick.

add hot water.

recipe from: Danielle El Hayek

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