This easy African classic, Sukuma Wiki, is made with braised greens, tomatoes, ground beef and spices. We added Millet to make this a meal in a bowl! This recipe developed in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill.
Let’s get right to the elephant in the room…
What is Sukuma Wiki?
Sukuma Wiki is an East African dish (most often seen in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania) built around collard greens, also known as “colewart” or “sukuma” in Swahili.
The literal translation of Sukuma Wiki is to “stretch the week” or to “push the week”.
Since collard greens are an affordable and commonly available ingredient (often grown in home gardens), they are used in abundance to “stretch” the other ingredients, which can be scarce or very costly.
My version of Sukuma Wiki is based on the classic African dish but I wouldn’t go as far to say that it is authentic.
From the research that I’ve done, it’s my understanding that this simple dish can vary greatly from region to region and based on what is available to cook with.
While Millet is an important agricultural crop in Africa, it is not commonly added as a whole grain to Sukuma Wiki.
If anything, you might find Ugali, a polenta like side dish or porridge that is often made from millet, sorghum or cassava.
So, how did I come up with this and why should you make it?
My older sons school has been preparing a traditional African dance performance for the past two months. They have been working on the dance moves, making the costumes and learning important facts about African culture.
About a month ago, I learned that there would be a potluck after their performance to celebrate African food and we would be responsible for bringing a dish to share.
I immediately started testing some recipes and playing with millet, sorghum and cassava – as these grains are all very important to East Africa cuisine.
I figured that nearly everyone would bring some version of African Peanut Soup. I wanted to push the boundaries and bring something totally different but *still accessible* in terms of ingredients.
This dish is EASY, truly on the table in 30 minutes or less, loaded with flavor and has tons of healthy greens.
It reheats beautifully, freezes well and is very flexible.
Don’t want to use ground beef?
Use ground chicken or turkey or skip the meat and make this Vegetarian with just the veggies and millet.
Collards or Kale?
While this dish is traditionally based on collard greens, I have read many versions that use half kale or even all kale so again, there is flexibility here. Use what you have or can easily get your hands on.
TIP: buy already cut collards or kale to save even more time.
My family doesn’t like spicy food?!
No worries – omit the habanero and just use a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for balance. No, that is not the way that this is traditionally made but you need to make it in a way that the family will actually eat.
This is such a good weeknight dinner. I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it!
Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
This easy African classic, Sukuma Wiki, is made with braised greens, tomatoes, ground beef and spices. We added Millet to make this a meal in a bowl!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 T avocado oil or other mild high heat oil
- 1 large white onion diced
- 1 small habanero chile finely chopped
- 1 T kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 pound roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 pound curly kale with ribs chopped into 1" pieces
- 1 pound collard greens with ribs chopped into 1" pieces
- 1 large lemon squeezed, remove seeds
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Millet
- 2 cups filtered water
- pinch salt
Peel onion, dice and set aside.
I recommend wearing disposable kitchen gloves when chopping hot peppers.
Finely chop chile, taking care not to let the seeds fly around your kitchen.
Rinse and roughly chop tomatoes, including seeds and juice.
Wash collards and kale and chop (including ribs) into 1" pieces.
Squeeze lemon and remove seeds.
Bring 2 cups of filtered water in a small saucepan to a boil.
Add Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Millet and pinch of salt. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 18 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Once done cooking, remove from heat and set aside.
NOTE: This makes a bit more cooked Millet than the recipe calls for. Once cool, store in a glass container in the fridge or freezer for use in other meals.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Once hot, add ground beef.
Cook, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until most pink is gone..
Add avocado oil, diced white onion and finely chopped habanero pepper, continue cooking 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and fragrant.
Add spices and roughly chopped tomatoes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until spices are fragrant.
Add chopped greens, toss to coat with spice and onion mixture. Continue cooking 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are just tender (not overcooked!).
Finish with fresh lemon juice and adjust seasoning if necessary. Toss 1 cup of cooked millet, Serve immediately and Enjoy!
DISCLOSURE: This post is part of a series of posts sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Bob’s Red Mill has compensated me for my time to develop this recipe and share about my experiences with their products. Thank you for supporting the brands that make EverydayMaven possible. All opinions are my own.