To do: Listen to drum music from West Africa, read the story of Wangari Maathai from Kenya, or make Lentil Sambusas from Ethiopia!
Time: Prep: 15 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes
Materials: See list below!
We have three options for you to experience the vast and varied lands of Africa. Choose one you have time for or are most interested in, and enjoy with your family!
- From the western side of the African continent, enjoy some music to clap or drum along to at home. What sounds do you hear? How do you move your body to it? Here’s music from an Ewe village in Ghana, West Africa.
- From the other side of Africa on the East coast, read this inspiring story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. She returned to Kenya after attending college in America and found that deforestation had devastated the country side. She started planting trees, and here’s the story of what happened next: “Planting the Tress of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai“
- Make Sambusas! Sambusas (or Sambuus or Samosas) are triangular shaped pockets of goodness like beans, potatoes, onions or nuts that are eaten in many places around the world. Today let’s look specifically at the Sambusas from the Horn of Africa, or the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Children will love this process because they get to A) work with a pastry brush, a.k.a painting on food and B) eat little pockets that fit perfectly in their hands.
Lentils are also very mild, so feel free to add as much or as little spice as your family enjoys. Involve your child each step of the way so they know exactly what they’re eating. Here we go!
Lentil Sambusas – to make 4 samosas
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 and 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 of one yellow onion, chopped
- 4 gloves garlic, minced
Other spices, add to your preference:
- 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
For the pockets:
- 6 sheets of phyllo dough (found in the freezer section)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- a pastry brush (or clean painting brush)
1. Defrost the phyllo dough the day ahead of making the sambusas.
2. Prepare filling: In a saucepan, add rinsed lentils and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is all absorbed.
3. While the lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat and sauce onions until tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add the cooked lentils to the pan and stir. Finally, add whatever other spices from the list that you’d like your family to try. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Time to make the Sambusas!
1. You’ll need 3 sheets of phyllo dough total. Take the first one and invite your child to brush oil on one side. Fold the dough in half horizontally, and brush the back side as well.
2. Lay another piece of dough on top of the first, oiling the entire length, then folding in the same way as the first. Now you have two pieces of dough folding in half, one on top of the other. Do this one more time with your last piece of dough! You’ll have 6 layers total.
3. Cut vertically into 4 strips of dough of equal width. Take a scoop of your filling and place it on the bottom of one strip. Your child can help with this part too! Start by folding the bottom left corner over the filling, until it lines up with the right hand side of the strip. Keep folding in triangles up the length of the dough. You’ll end up with a tight little triangle with several layers of dough around the outside, like this.
4. Place the samosas on a lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake them. When ready, place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 15-25 minutes, or until browned on the outside! Enjoy.
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