I can’t think of a better time than Thanksgiving to introduce you all to Hawa Hassan and her incredible Somali chutneys. Like so many of our producers, Hawa gives thanks by paying it forward. She has partnered with Hawa Abdi to help raise funds for her Human Rights Foundation. And how is Hawa Hassan spending her upcoming 30th birthday? She’s flying to Kenya to donate and distribute kits to at-risk girls in Kenya through Huru International.
Hawa Hassan’s own story is an inspiring one. She fled Mogadishu at the age of 5 with her mother and siblings to a UN refugee camp in Kenya. At the age of 10 her mother sent her to America for a better life and a few years later she was discovered by a modeling scout and spent years traveling the world. She was finally reunited with her mother who now lives in Norway and runs a business as well as caring for Hawa’s nine siblings! Inspired by her mother, her Somali heritage and a passion for cooking, Hawa returned to New York and started a line of chutneys that are truly spectacular.
“When people think of Somalia, they only think of refugees and pirates and I would like to help change that perception,” Hawa told me last week. Due to years of unrest, Somalia’s rich cultural heritage has been largely ignored. Thanks to centuries of trade and commerce, it is a country whose culture is steeped in literature, music, art, architecture as well as an exotic cuisine of diverse influences. A staple of Somali feasts is Basbaas; boldly flavored sweet and tangy chutneys that Hawa now produces and describes as “truly global but entirely local”.
I’ve already eeked out every last drop from my jars and am desperate for more. The Coconut Cilantro Chutney is packed with fresh and bright flavors while the Tamarind Date Sauce is smoky with just the right amount of sweet. I paired the former with scallops and a fresh relish and the latter with roasted pork tenderloin and root vegetables as a Thanksgiving alternative. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Date and Tamarind Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin
1 jar of Tamarind Date Sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2" x 1/2" slices
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 2" x 1/2" slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Heat oven to 400°F.
2. Bring the pork tenderloin to room temperature, season well with salt and coat with 3 tablespoons of Tamarind Date Sauce.
3. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper and toss the carrots and parsnips in the olive oil and a teaspoon of salt. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large skillet big enough to hold the pork. When the oil is hot, sear the pork for 2 minutes on all sides until nicely browned.
5. Remove the carrots and parsnips from the oven, stir well and make space for the pork in the middle of the cookie tray. Return to the oven for a further 15 - 20 minutes. If the vegetables are ready before the meat, remove them to a platter and tent with foil.
6. Lay the meat on top of the vegetables and brush with Tamarind Date Sauce before serving.
Get the recipe for Scallops with Mango, Avocado Relish and Basbaas