On October 12th, families in Senegal gathered to celebrate the holiday of Tamkharit. Also called Achoura, Tamkharit is the Islamic New Year. Food is an important part of the festivities. Women prepare a traditional meal of thiéré, couscous with spicy lamb stew, that families eat communally. Everyone eats until they are very full!
Later in the evening, children travel from house to house to ask for candy, money, and other treats. Costumes are part of the fun – boys and girls often swap clothes. They sing a traditional song that asks for good wishes in the year to come. Many adults also dress in clothes of the opposite gender and visit with friends.
CREATE! cooperative members prepare all of their meals, including thiéré for Tamkharit, using vegetables that they grow in their garden sites. You can make a variation of thiéré using this recipe:
Senegalese Couscous with Beef and Vegetable Sauce
Preparation Time: 1 ½ hours
¾ cup millet couscous
¾ cup corn couscous
¾ cup fonio (or quinoa)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. 10 oz. beef, cut into chunks
½ cup tomato puree
½ cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup onions, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup turnips, chopped
½ cup sweet potatoes, chopped
½ leek, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
- Place the millet couscous, corn couscous, and fonio (or quinoa) into three separate bowls and cover with water. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain. If you are using quinoa, you will need to par-boil the grain for 10 minutes and drain thoroughly before steaming.
- Place the grains together in a steamer and steam for 20 minutes, adding water and cooking until the grains are thoroughly cooked through. Add the butter and remove from heat.
- Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the meat until browned all over. You may need to do this in batches. Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, a little water, and salt and pepper to taste to the pan with the beef. After about ten minutes, add the chopped vegetables and the crushed garlic.
- Cook for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but firm and the sauce has thickened.
- Serve the couscous with the meat and vegetable sauce.