Celebrating Kwanzaa with Healthy Recipes

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday which began in 1966 by its Founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga.  It is celebrated by over 5 million African Americans from December 26th through January 1st, and climaxes with a glorious feast.   There are seven principles of Kwanzaa, including:  Umoja (Unity) Kujichagulia (Self-determination),Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose),  Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).  To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the official website at:www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/

On December 31, the second to last day of Kwanzaa, families prepare a lavish feast.  Drawing on the theme of black culture and unity, cuisines that originate from countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and South America are prepared.

You can enjoy a variety of the wonderfully diverse flavors of cuisine from the African Diaspora and still have a healthy feast.

Main Dishes:

Curry is a blend of Indian spices and typically contains turmeric, coriander, chillies, cumin, mustard, ginger, fenugreek, garlic, cloves, salt, and any number of other spices depending upon whether it is yellow or red curry.  In the Caribbean, yellow curry is used in dishes most prevalently.  This Caribbean Pork Curry recipe uses lean pork tenderloin: Click Here for Recipe

This Moroccan inspired steak with sweet potatoes is not your ordinary steak and potato meal. Filled with flavorful spices such as allspice, cumin, ginger, salt, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne, this recipe is sure to have your taste buds humming. . Click Here for Recipe

A traditional Kwanzaa feast is not complete without a dish that contains black-eyed peas.  Try this southern pasta salad with black-eyed peas recipe as a main course.  Its healthy and very tasty. Click Here for Recipe

Sides:

Rice and peas—or is it peas and rice? Depending on which West Indian country you are from, this popular side dish is a very typical fare that’s served with some sort of meat or fish. Although it’s called rice and peas, there aren’t actually any peas in the dish.  Bean are cooked with the rice such as red kidney or black eyed peas depending on your taste. Click Here for Recipe  

Stewed okra and tomatoes is a dish that leads back to Creole heritage.  West African slaves introduced okra to the Caribbean and U.S. around the 1700’s and then the Creoles in Louisiana learned to thicken soups with okra in gumbo.

Click Here for Recipe

Another delicious side dish is sweet potato casserole.  This recipe uses honey and freshly grated orange zest instead of your traditional stick of butter that is loaded in fat and calories. Click Here for Recipe

Desserts:

Bananas in Brown Sugar-Rum Sauce is a simple yet delicious recipe that surprisingly contains only 3 grams of fat.  Click Here for Recipe

If you’re looking for a no-bake dessert recipe to complement your Kwanzaa meal, this tropical fruits with pistachios & coconut will do the trick.  Click Here for Recipe 

Kwanzaa Unity Cup

The Karamu Feast is an important part of Kwanzaa and is celebrated on December 31. During this special day the Kwanzaa Unity cup takes center stage. Usually filled with grape juice, water, or wine, the Unity cup symbolizes the unity of African nations and is used by Kwanzaa observers to perform ancestor-praising libations. READ MORE

Kwanzaa: Remembering Who Paved the Way

Kwanzaa is celebrated among many African Americans.  Please check our Food history section at http://multiculturalcooking.net to learn more about the celebration.  The video from the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Event covered by http://Looktothestars.org is an excellent piece featuring numerous celebs recognizing the achievements of Diane Carroll, Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson.  Others speak to the issue of accepting the responsibility of being a role model.  Look To The Stars talks to Tatyana Ali, Bill Duke, Tyrese Gibson, Tichina Arnold, Laila Ali, Taraji P. Henson, Audra McDonald and Quincy Jones about inspirational black women in Hollywood.  Enjoy this video which celebrates African American culture and achievement.

The event was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  See the delicious foods which the Beverly Hills has to offer(YWCA Ball):

http://www.multiculturalcooking.net/en2/news/galasevents

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America