The Proven Platter
1117 Sahar RECIPE Blackeyed Peas

Proven Platter – The Gambia November 2017

Hello Diners!  

This month we are traveling to a place we haven’t visited yet, The Gambia. You might wonder, why I’ve referred to it as The Gambia, instead of just Gambia. Well, the official name is the Republic of The Gambia, and it is referred to as The Gambia for short. It is just a tiny slip of a country, completely surrounded by Senegal, except for the coastline on the Atlantic Ocean at the western end.   Details

1017 Sahar RECIPE Lamb

The Proven Platter, Afghanistan, October 2017

Hello Diners!

Afghanistan is the faraway land calling to us to come visit this month!

I’m really excited about the menu I’ve prepared and tested for you. We’ll start with Afghan “Nachos,” for a quick and easy appetizer, followed by the most delicious lamb dish ever, Lamb Kebab with Cinnamon, accompanied by Afghan Flat Bread. Ridiculously easy Afghan Butter Cookies round out the meal.

But let’s talk about that lamb! It is very easy to make and serve. Lamb, yogurt, and onions marinate overnight and then braise in the oven. Done! I am already greedily thinking about the leftovers in my fridge and enjoying them for lunch.

I was delighted to discover the blog “Afghan Culture Unveiled,” the source for the recipes this month. Humaira Ghilzai is the founder and author of the site. Her recipes are authentic Afghan dishes created for the modern cook. The recipes are inspired by her mom Jeja, and sisters Nabila and Zohra. Please visit her website,, for more information, delicious recipes and beautiful photography.

Humaira also co-founded Afghan Friends Network, and instituted a Sister City relationship between Hayward, California and Ghazni, Afghanistan. Dining for Women was proud to support Afghan Friends Network several years ago. Humaira continues to spearhead critical programs that improve education for women, girls and boys, particularly in the province of Ghazni.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the recipes J

Tender Lamb Kebab with Cinnamon (Kebab Daygee) (Tested)

Serves 4 to 6

In our Western culture, we automatically assume that anything referred to as a “kebab” comes on a stick! But in Afghanistan it seems, kebabs can be virtually anything: meat or chicken, skewered or not, barbecued or oven baked or pan fried, cut into chunks, ground, or eaten as a chop. Perhaps we can assume that any type of meat that is cut into chunks qualifies as a kebab?

Whatever unorthodox form it takes, this delicious combination of lamb, onions and cinnamon is meant to be devoured and scooped up with slabs of fresh steaming naan. This dish is incredibly easy to make – marinate, then bake. Take note that it marinates overnight, but marinating in the morning to bake in the evening works well, too. I purchased a piece of lamb shoulder and cut my meat into chunks. Lamb shoulder has nice marbling and makes for a very tender cut. You could use lamb stew meat as well, which is a combination of different cuts of lamb.

I will be making this dish again and again, it ranks as one of the best lamb dishes I’ve ever had. And DON’T forget the cinnamon. Sprinkle liberally with plain ground cinnamon once you’ve put the lamb into the serving dish. Serve with a platter of crunchy cucumbers, a green salad, or see this recipe previously posted for tomato salad.


¾ cup Greek yogurt, or whole-milk yogurt

3 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. ground coriander

½ tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. Kosher salt

2 ½ lbs. lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks (I used lamb shoulder cut up)

2 large onions, peeled, sliced thin

Ground cinnamon


In a large bowl mix together the yogurt, oil, garlic, coriander, pepper and salt and stir well. Add the lamb and onions and coat evenly with the yogurt mixture. Cover and marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pull the lamb out a half hour before you a ready to cook. Put the lamb into large pot or Dutch oven and cover with a lid. Put it into the oven and cook until the lamb is very tender (about 1¼ to 1½ hours). Remove the lid, give it a stir, and continue to cook another 20 to 30 minutes until some of the liquid has reduced and you have a thick, oniony sauce.

Turn the meat onto a platter and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Serve with warm naan bread and plain yogurt. You can season the yogurt with a little salt and stir in some grated cucumbers or chopped mint if you like.

Recipe submitted by Linda McElroy, created by Humaira Ghilzai, used with permission.

Photo credit: Afghan Culture Unveiled Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.


The Proven Platter, Mali – May 2017

Hello Diners!

We are traveling to Mali this month. I think we were just there! For this month’s Proven Platter recipe, I decided to see what was already on the site, and choose a recipe to put through my testing process. The result is that I’ve revamped and replaced the recipe for West African Peanut Soup (Tigua Dege Ne). Details

RECIPES-1216 - Daraba

The Proven Platter – Chad

Hello Diners!

The Republic of Chad, located in northern Central Africa, is the subject of our focus and our dining destination this month.

Okra is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables there. It is used both to thicken sauces and as a vegetable used in preparation of soups and stews. I suppose you either love okra or hate it, but as it happens, I love it! And since I’ve yet to post a recipe calling for okra, I think okra’s time in the spotlight has come. Details


The Proven Platter — Holiday Appetizer Party

Hello Diners!

I’ve got lots of good recipes coming your way this month. I thought I’d share with you a tradition that we have started with my group. Every year in either November or December, depending on what month we are meeting, we plan what we call our “holiday appetizer party.” Initially the idea was to bring a favorite appetizer, or bring an appetizer that you were thinking of trying out for the holidays. There is no better audience for feedback than our enthusiastic DFW members!

It has proved to be really successful and fun. There’s less emphasis on planning a meal and the meeting is a little more casual. We pretty much snack and talk and discuss the whole evening.

Of course, you can bring any type of appetizer you like. But I thought it would be fun, and in keeping with our world mission to plan an “Around the World Appetizer Party!” Details


The Proven Platter – Mali

Hello Diners!

We are off to Mali this month, located in West Africa, in support of the Tandana Foundation. Their Women LEAP program provides literacy and numeracy training, as well as democratic governance and leadership skills.

Often, the program we are supporting will send us recipes that are rooted in their culture. This month we received a very detailed recipe called “Recipe for Toh, (Oro Dja), Traditional Food of the Dogon People,” by Jemima Tembiné. She started learning to cook when she was about 10 years old and has been preparing Toh since she was 15 years old. Near as I can tell, Toh is a dish of millet dough that has been pounded, and served along with different sauces made out of various leaves, dried fish and dried vegetables. Details