Cuisine Of Kwanzaa

Food

Kwanzaa dinners usually feature African-American dishes along with Caribbean, African and South American specialties. Save your biggest showstoppers for the feast of Karamu, celebrated on the sixth night of Kwanzaa, December 31.

Start your meal with okra gumbo or an African stew. Roast beef, lamb kabobs or jerk chicken or pork make a delicious centerpiece for your Kwanzaa feast.

Accompany your main dish with hearty sides like corn casserole, red beans and rice, sweet potato soufflé and fried okra. Round out the meal with zucchini bread, sweet potato pie and benne cakes (West African sesame cookies).

Drinks

Ginger Beer (serves 6 to 8)

Despite its name, this West African drink is non-alcoholic. You can spice it up by adding a shot of rum to each glass. Note: In this recipe the ginger must steep for 24 hours before serving.

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar or white sugar
  • 1 lime, cut into 6-8 wedges, for garnish

Bring 6 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Finely chop ginger in processor. Transfer chopped ginger to large glass or ceramic bowl; add boiling water and stir to blend. Cover loosely with foil; let ginger mixture stand at cool room temperature 24 hours.

Strain ginger liquid into large pitcher; discard solids in strainer. Add sugar to liquid and stir until sugar dissolves. Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour ginger beer over ice. Serve each glass of ginger beer with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

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