I first learned of Kwanzaa after graduating from college, when a Nigerian-American friend invited me over to her family’s dinner to celebrate the occasion. Years later, I would celebrate Kwanzaa in my home and use it as an opportunity to explore cuisines from the African diaspora: Caribbean, South American and Southeast Asian while contemplating on one of the daily principles. This year, our Kwanzaa could be influenced by Senegal because of the beauty of Pierre Thiam’s cookbook, From Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl.
Morning Glory, also known as Water Spinach or Swamp Cabbage, is a beautiful green that also blooms bright flowers. Don’t become too excited and start picking leaves from vines, unless horticulture is a profession. Besides, the plant of familiarity that wraps around building and fences is of another family, and it’s poisonous to eat. The Morning Glory for this recipe is different, for it’s a semi-aquatic plant, in which it is also known as a leaf vegetable–such as kale, cabbage, and collards. It easily grows around waterways and in tropical regions, thus it’s known primarily as a Southeast Asian ingredient, especially in Thai dishes. Read more