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“Recipes are such important archives in telling us where we come from and how we’ve evolved.” Vally’s design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2021 is based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across several London neighbourhoods. These locations include cafes, bookshops, bars, community centres, hair salons – and of course, restaurants. Inspired by Vally’s long-term interest in recipes as maps for human evolution, the Serpentine asked three chefs to also share a recipe that reminds them of their community.

Angela Dimayuga is a Filipino-American chef and author based in New York City. As Executive Chef at Mission Chinese Food, Dimayuga made a name for herself through her experimental dishes and collaborations with artists. Following her departure in 2017, she joined The Standard as Creative Director for Food & Culture where she worked on a range of multidisciplinary projects fusing the worlds of food, art and nightlife. Her first cookbook Filipinx: Heritages Recipes from the Diaspora comes out this month.

Can recipes hold memory? When is your earliest food memory and how has this memory informed your practice?

Recipes absolutely hold memory. Working on my cookbook inspired by my Filipino heritage, recipes were one of the deepest dives into my own history I’ve experienced to date. When making dishes to honor my grandmother’s recipes, I needed to access taste and sense memories of her seasoning, and the textures I loved about her dishes. I also made dishes I loved as a kid, some I had not had in over 25 years. This was an extremely emotional process, and it ensured that these memories of flavor, fragrance, texture, and experience are central to who you are, and where you came from.

Some of my early food memories relate to being naughty about what I liked, and what made sense to my child palate. I remember probably being 3-4 and scooping strawberry Smuckers jam straight into my mouth, or hiding behind my bed and sneaking extra Flintstones vitamins because they were basically candy. I also remember getting in lots of trouble and pretending to fall asleep at the table in protest of having to finish my dinner. I would only want to eat the chicken skin from my fried chicken drumstick. These memories in particular hold the truth that food is pleasure!

How does your community influence your practice, and how can food act as a catalyst for self-exploration and community building?

Making food is an act of love. I love learning about people’s dietary restrictions and making a brand new dish that I’m proud of because I creatively wouldn’t have put those ingredients together otherwise. This type of care and troubleshooting is exciting and mind-expanding to me. Making these dishes becomes a bridge to accessing my own skillset and catalog of flavours and texture combinations, and then it’s a gift to bringing those people together in a shared space at the table.

I know you travel a lot. Does the architectural design of cities influence your work? If so, how?

Architectural design is often based on when the city or town had an influx of money, prosperity or trade, or lack of this! The spaces that are made because of this influence the dining culture. Be it at an old fishing village in Milos, Greece, or Stykkishólmur peninsula, Iceland these towns can be frozen in time, and offer traditional food offerings at these small ports or old fishing homes. In Oaxaca City, food is often enjoyed in a little plaza to take in airflow, with dishes made from the recipes of generations of local abuelas (Spanish for grandmothers). These unique dining experiences influence me simply in wanting to access delicious produce, or fresh fish for example, and letting those flavors shine. Or in metropolitan cities, tasting and accessing global food and drink like natural wine through contact with specialists passionate about sharing a specific product like hard-to-access ingredients and getting to homogenise them in dish creation is also exciting to me. Another takeaway from large metropolitan places is the access to migrants that serve their home cuisine because of their pride and willingness to share and connect with others.

Your work collaborating with artists to create nightlife and culinary experiences fosters novel connections within the queer community but how can we build bridges of cross-cultural understanding and respect that last beyond the dinner table?

I think that the dialogue, memories, and connections made in these spaces begin a curiosity of cross-cultural understanding and respect. We seek to learn as humans, and when we make meaningful human connections in these ephemeral spaces, it allows for growth and change and willingness to continue conversation and exploration with these new bonds. Magic begets magic!

How do you begin to unpack the complicated and incomplete Filipino histories through recipes?

That wonder and research is really compelling to me. When I look at a Filipino recipe now, I can see or learn about the cultural moment access to these ingredients came about via foodways, diaspora and colonization. For example, learning from an Indigenous tattoo practitioner, Lane Wilcken, that one of our most popular dishes, adobo, is actually an Indigenous dish that utilized vinegar to preserve in stewed dishes. It was given the name adobo by early Spanish colonizers. Learning of early trading via the Manila galleon trade route meant that Filipinos brought coconut to Mexico, and Mexico brought mangoes to the Philippines – both prominent ingredients in our cuisines. Halo-Halo likely our most popular dessert made of crushed ice, milk, and syrup preserved fruits and jellies originates from Japanese kakigori, during their occupation resulting in the Philippines first ice plant in the early 1900s. These bits of research become a historical map to knowing where ingredients came from and when!

How does the recipe you have chosen act as an archive for your own cultural experience?

This drink brings together my love for generously used coconut milk in my home cuisine but extends it to a time where I picked up my stride in working with artists on concept dinners. The drink is not traditional at all, but Filipino because I made it, and references my cultural upbringing in what I think is a reverential way. It’s delicious on its own and would pair well with many tropical cuisines. It is a signifier of my place as a member of the Filipino-American diaspora in the communities I am a part of.

Recipe: Angela’s Coconut Milk Spritz “Reverse Aging Cocktail”

I developed this cocktail in 2018, for a project in collaboration with Meriem Bennani for the Biennale de I’Image en Mouvement. One of my favorite artists, Meriem was working on a sci-fi film called On the Caps which was loosely based on an idea that in the future teleportation devices replace airports, and those that get caught “illegally teleporting” would get sent to a fictional prison island between New York and Morocco. I cooked a dinner that might come from this dystopian future and served this drink with the idea that spirulina or chlorella (which comes from the sea), salt, and coconut might be available on a desolate island. I originally called this a “reverse aging” cocktail to play with some themes depicted in her sci-fi. In Filipino cuisine, all parts of the coconut are used from the shell to making coconut shell charcoal for grilling, husks for rope, coconut water for hydration, and coconut meat to make desserts and coconut milk.

I liked using coconut milk in this drink as a little splash you would add milk to tea, but the reaction to the foaming club soda creates this light “soda float” effect and foams more to create an amazing mouthfeel. The large amount of lime zest helps with the balancing of flavors offering a limey bitter tone. I like serving this drink both as is or alcoholic. It can be made in small batches for intimate gatherings as an extremely thoughtful and refreshing or offering for large groups. The dashes of salt give it this refreshing and hydrating flavor profile that reminds me of getting quenched by a sports drink like Gatorade!


1 lime

Flake salt to taste

Optional: 2 pinches spirulina

1.5 oz vodka

1 oz coconut milk

1 oz simple syrup

Splash club soda or to taste


  • Using a microplane, zest half of a lime, and set aside. Using pressure, use the palm of your hand to roll the lime on a clean kitchen service. This helps prepare the citrus for juicing. Cut the lime in half.
  • On a small plate, mix salt, one pinch of lime zest, and a pinch of chlorella, mix with a spoon to combine.
  • In a collins glass, rocks glass or your favorite glass, moisten the edge of the glass with a half of lime juice and dip half of the rim into the green salt, and set aside.
  • Transfer the remaining lime zest to a cocktail shaker, and the vodka, 1 oz lime juice (or the juice of 1 lime), coconut milk, simple syrup and another small pinch of salt and spirulina. Fill the shaker with cubed ice, and use the other end of the cocktail shaker to seal the shaker shut.
  • Shake vigorously for about 1 minute. Fill the cocktail glass with cubed ice, and using a cocktail strainer, strain the cocktail onto the ice in your glass. Add a splash of club soda to the top, and serve.

Angela Dimayuga

Angela Dimayuga is a New York City-based chef, creative, and cultural tastemaker. She has been recognized as a Zagat 30 under 30 recipient, awarded Best Chef by New York Magazine, and a James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist. Uniquely crafted for her, she recently held a global executive position as Creative Director of Food & Culture for The Standard Hotels, and before that, executive chef of Mission Chinese Food NY. She is currently a New York Times, Food & Cooking contributor and writer, associate artist and culinary curator at Performance Space New York, culinary advisor for the Lower East Side Girls Club, and advocate for marginalized voices. Her debut cookbook, releasing October 26th, 2021, Filipinx: Heritages Recipes from the Diaspora includes 100 recipes, narrative-driven personal stories, and a celebration of her ancestral cuisine from her point of view as a professional chef.

Marie Mitchell is a writer, chef and co-founder of Island Social Club – a “soul-lifting” space that aims to fill the void left by the erosion of London’s once thriving Caribbean social scene. Mitchell makes a considered effort to create space in which she can explore Caribbean culture and food with authority and without limits. Developing dishes by focusing on history, geography, and contemporary ingredients found in her locale and home, London. Mitchell is conscious of driving the conversation about British Caribbean cuisine, and thus culture, forward.

When is your earliest culinary memory? How has this memory informed your practice?

If I’m honest, I don’t have one. I have memories that are scattered and they all centre around the maternal parts of my family, namely my mum and nan. My mum was never someone who cooked for pleasure, yet she instilled a curiosity in us by always making sure we were involved. My nan was a cook and still is, but with her, I would bake. Notably, a sponge cake as I was a fussy eater but she knew I loved it and would always make one for me for my birthday specifically, with lemon icing. The rest of the family had and still get fruit cakes for their birthdays of which I now partake.

This connection to mothering becomes more poignant as I lost my mum during the pandemic weeks before becoming a mum myself. I find myself looking and longing for connection and more often than not it takes me back to a time or place where it was centred around food. Whether that be eating it, preparing it, or simply sitting in the kitchen in my parents’ home. There’s something so sacred about that space.

Island Social Club, Photo: Chiron Cole Photography

Can recipes hold memory? Do they have the potential to heal ancestral trauma?

I think anything creative has the capacity to heal. Ancestral trauma is complex, painful and personal. Many share the experience, in that there is trauma that has been passed on generationally, though how that has affected you and your own family differs. Food is history, and thus intrinsically holds memory – the process of showing one’s recipes rather than documenting them through writing, often seen in diasporic communities means we have to commit it to memory. We then secure that memory through practice and repetition. That in itself is healing. It’s a chance to hold on to and maintain ancestral practices. In many ways that can be, and is painful, but it’s also incredibly powerful to maintain who you are, and what came before. Specifically in Caribbean culture, being viciously torn from your homes or tricked based on promises left undelivered, crossing seas and being forced into servitude, our ancestors were able to maintain ownership, of a part of their legacy. That is the fabric of our food, our past, our being.

How can food act as a catalyst for self-exploration and community building?

On a basic level community is about sharing, commonality leads to bonding and from there you build to create stronger bonds. Food is something we all have in common, yes the kinds of food differ but the need for sustenance is universal. Food is outwardly, but when you search to understand its origins, you invariably go within yourself, especially when it comes to the food of your heritage. The same can be said when exploring food from other cultures, particularly when there are parallels. The Caribbean is incredibly diverse, it’s the amalgamation of multiple cultures and so you can see threads of those cultures. Being able to see and explore those naturally allows for you to explore oneself. To then know you share elements of that with others is a way to forge such strong connections and communities. It’s powerful and incredibly special.

How has the British Caribbean social scene shifted throughout the years?

It’s diminished. The erosion of once existing social spaces created specifically for those who were excluded from other places, to have spaces where you could easily identify and belong. What does still exist has evolved into umbrella spaces of the African diaspora, becoming Black British cultural spaces more often. That’s not to say that more defined spaces don’t exist but there are definite crossovers with elements of the cultures that you’re seeing more seamlessly. That unity is beautiful to see and we need to see more of them.

Island Social Club, Photo: Chiron Cole Photography

Island Social club fosters a connection to British Caribbean culture but how can we build bridges of cross-cultural understanding and respect that last beyond the dinner table?

Through respect, understanding and appreciation. Some think appropriation is an appropriate response but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. With true appreciation, there is an acknowledgment of the culture or influence, while also understanding how to engage in that section of the culture while being sympathetic to those who belong to it. We often see that when something is expressed by the culture it’s from, it’s not seen in the same way until it’s been repackaged, (or on occasion, a blatant copy) and whitewashed. To build bridges, we have to be respectful of one another and listen to the voices of those from that particular community, especially marginalised ones.

How can we begin to unpack the complicated and incomplete histories of the diaspora through collaboration in cooking?

Through honest, raw, conversation. Use cooking as the catalyst for that conversation. To open your mind, to listen and learn! The beauty of collaboration is perspective, we’re able to see things from someone else’s position. The combination of that alongside cooking can be harnessed to teach others, and in my own experience, myself.

How does the recipe you have chosen act as an archive for your own cultural experience?

It’s gently sweet, a little warm and layered with depth. The Caribbean is more than a little warm but it feels like a genuine nod to both my upbringing and my culture. I hate being cold, hate it, and I think that’s where my obsession with not eating cold food came from. It’s something I’ve gotten over in recent years but if someone tried to serve me food cold that had been warm when first cooked, I refused to eat it. Soups are warm in a bowl and they’re often served at the start of any cultural event, in a cup, still my preferred way of eating it. Funeral, wedding, christening – soup. These events are where I first learnt about my heritage, my community and so it felt fitting to create something with that in mind.

Recipe: Marie Mitchell’s Sunday Soup, serves 4

The beauty of this soup is that you can interchange the vegetables based on seasonality. When fresh corn is no longer available you can use frozen corn or swap it out for squash. Plantain can be swapped with yellow yam or sweet potato. Simply adjust your seasonings to make sure you’re still achieving the balance of flavours.


20g ginger, half minced, half finely chopped

20g garlic, minced

2 small onions, minced

½ scotch bonnet, deseeded and minced

1 celery stick, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 red pepper, seeds and pith removed then diced

200g new potato, peeled and diced

1 ear of fresh corn, shucked or use 100g frozen corn

1 plantain, peeled and cut into 1cm coins

Approximately 12 dumplings* (*see note below)

1 tsp mild curry powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2tbsp olive oil

1 vegetable stock cube

3 tbsp coconut cream

Lime, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 bay leaves


100g plain flour

½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt

80ml water


  • Blend garlic, onions, scotch bonnet, celery and half of the ginger in a food processor until minced.
  • Finely chop the remaining ginger.
  • Wash, prep and dice the carrots, pepper and potatoes, you want them to be even in size, around 1cm diced is ideal. Then peel, wash and shuck your corn if using fresh.
  • Heat the oil in a wide saucepan over a medium heat and once warm add your minced mix, fry for a minute or two to release aromas and then add your curry powder of choice and ground coriander. Fry for a minute before adding the coconut cream – you want the thick cream, not the watery part. Add a little more oil if anything starts to stick.
  • Add the carrots, potatoes and red pepper and remaining ginger and fry for a few minutes.
  • Add your vegetable stock and bay leaves. You’ll be using one cube for 1 litre, not the usual recommended amount of 500ml.
  • Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer with the lid on, for 10 minutes.
  • Peel and chop the plantain into coins and prepare the dumplings.
  • For the dumplings – place the flour in a small mixing bowl and add the salt, mix. Make a well in the centre and add your water, mix until formed and then knead to a soft dough. This doesn’t take long, maybe a minute or two.
  • Split the dough into 12 pieces, if you want your dumplings larger divide into less pieces. Roll each piece in between the palm of your hands until you form a ball, then roll your top hand over the bottom one to form a sausage-like shape. Repeat until finished.
  • Add your dumplings, corn and plantain after 10 minutes of simmering, season to taste and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add a squeeze of lime and serve.

Marie Mitchell

Marie Mitchell is due to publish her first book in spring 2023, Kin: Caribbean Recipes for the Modern Kitchen, (Particular Books, Penguin), which will feature a collection of recipes from the Caribbean and its diaspora, celebrating the powerful connection food gives us to our families, culture, and to places and people around the world.

Follow Marie on Instagram: @mariemitchellchef / @islandsoclub

Sanza Sandile, Sumayya Vally and friends at Yeoville Dinner Club. Image courtesy of Mikhael Subotzky (Subotzky Studio)Article

Recipes as Archive: Sanza Sandile

We spoke to three chefs based in London, Johannesburg and New York City for whom cooking and communion are closely linked. Here, Sanza Sandile reflects on 20 years spent cooking for a diverse and vibrant community of migrants in Johannesburg’s Yeoville.

Food, like spaces, can hold significant memories. In an interview with dezeen earlier this summer, Sumayya Vally, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion architect said, “Recipes are such important archives in telling us where we come from and how we’ve evolved.” Vally’s design for the pavilion is based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across several London neighbourhoods. These locations include cafes, bookshops, community centres, hair salons – and of course, restaurants. Inspired by Vally’s long-term interest in recipes as maps for human evolution, we asked the three chefs to also share a recipe that reminds them of their community.

Chef Sanza Sandile is the founder of Johannesburg’s Yeoville Dinner Club, a space for tasting Pan-Afrikan futures while sharing a dinner table. The suburb of Yeoville is known as one of the most diverse districts in Africa and is home to many South Asian and Muslim migrants. The area holds particular significance for Vally’s research on communities and gatherings in relation to food.

When is your earliest culinary memory? How has this memory informed your practice?

Oh yes! I carry so many fond ‘food and fooding’ memories from growing up in the turbulent Soweto of the 1980s. Memories of street-forced foods, a history of kitchen segregation and also, memories of food to come home to, food that makes you feel home. From our Soweto kitchens, we made the jungle a home. Not alone, but with our defiant gogos, our matriarchs in full heat-control over their coal stoves. They were cooking straight from the heart, making ends meet, keeping the home fires burning.

But Sundays were best home-cooked, well-done and well-dressed in seven colors. For once in that long week, we cooked and mixed the colours. We ate the world in living colour. In full colour. We created, innovated and celebrated. We mixed and matched our remaining ‘Black’ food with the available ‘white’ food and gave to the world our ‘Seven Colour Sundays’ family lunch tradition.

I am a proud product of the spirit of this township, taught from my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen tables to break bread in colourful style. I recall that on a random weekday, maybe on her favourite, Thursday, my gogo would whip up a mean cottage pie from leftover meat, chicken stew, or simple tinned pilchards in tomato sauce, baked from her classic coal oven – the wonder was still in the creamy potato mash browning on top. I learned my trade from her dignity. She did things her way and created experiences. This is where we come from, and who we are as the Yeoville Dinner Club.

We are honouring our Pan-African food cultures and we are cooking our unique story with and from our memories. We make an open table of Pan-African delights with dishes and stories, eating the colours of the world and sipping concoctions from ancient wells – or just red wine. That kind of home, the memories in action, is where our heart cooks towards”.

Can recipes hold memory? Do they have the potential to heal ancestral trauma?

My recipes are like pieces of a dream. They hold powerful memories. Like all powerful stories, recipes are shared, mixed, cooked, plated, table and shared around the world. The diaspora is still learning and taking from the African way and from the African recipe of life. There’s a growing collection of ancestral secrets that is celebrated in recipes and cookbooks. I can remember Yemisi Aribisala’s Longthroat Memoirs: Soups Sex & Nigerian Taste Buds, a powerful memoir of African food stories and recipes. Her recipes carry such heavy memories and beautifully cooked and brewed stories of her ancestral heritage finding form in her culinary style. She remembers and shares intimate details and uses memory to serve us well. Memory is a weapon against forgetting where we have been eating from.

Pan-African dishes prepared by Sanza Sandile. Image courtesy of Mikhael Subotzky (Subotzky Studio)

How can food act as a catalyst for self-exploration and community building?

In food we trust! And, with food we celebrate. Living and learning to cook in African migrant-centric, sensuous Yeoville for the past 20+ years has been a great part of my self-exploration, both personal and communal. Food can develop one’s good taste for life; it’s a refinery, a philosophical school. No big words, but big taste. A taste for new flavours to test new futures. A natural gift that keeps on giving. Food is a cultural force and the fibre of society. Food is the song we continue to sing. Food is a lesson in sharing and building strong collectives: We can start by not only smelling but maybe also taste the good coffee, and build food banks, start co-ops, write cookbooks and preserve recipes. Food is a community builder and community is everything. From these old playgrounds of political upheavals, cultural boycotts and social segregation, Yeoville has answered the natural hunger for social cohesion, and the hunger for Jollof rice has grown even stronger. It’s not about identity, but about creativity, the bliss of mixing, of curiosity. Yeoville has become the Matonge square with its diverse food cultures and history and is fast becoming the African ‘China-town” of Johannesburg.

What does Pan-African cooking mean to you?

Pan-African cooking to me is being a part of the African songbook. It’s perhaps like being a drummer, juggling a number of delicate melodic pots, stirring the sharp hot sauce here, keeping time and beating the porridge drum, collectively and harmoniously dishing nourishing rhythms of life to society. A loud rumble and a bang here and there, but it’s all in good taste and tune, taking you elsewhere while strictly being present. My lessons and memories of Pan-African cooking are like what musos call “playing”, even while working hard. Pan-African cooking has sharpened my talents to always improvise on the themes that flavours and dishes give me, and develop new tastes. That’s not like what we know of French cooking, it’s taking off from the theme. Pan-African cooking food is jazz, it’s enjoying the sweat of a night well played; it is colourful, loud, with a penchant whiff and most definitely best enjoyed by hand.

Sanza Sandile, Yeoville Dinner Club. Image courtesy of Mikhael Subotzky (Subotzky Studio)

Does the architectural design of the Joburg/Yeoville influence your work? How?

Yeoville is a buzzing, crowded African migrant enclave with a vibrant high street of aging buildings patched with a fast-growing number of converted retail shops. Rockey Street lines up as a long stretch of mid-century architecture that doesn’t speak of us. Yet now it has become a big ship sailing the most colourful mix of Africans from almost every part of the continent from Cape Town to Cairo. This iconic neighbourhood, the first northern Johannesburg suburb to “integrate”, even before the official whatever “new” South Africa, boasts a rich history of diverse migrant stories; of Eastern Europeans arriving in the 1930s, the communists of the 1950s, and the Hippies of the 1970s, as well as now, the ‘noir wave’. Though Yeoville has been abandoned and politically neglected, we still make the jungle home, and slowly preserve these Havana ruins by the beauty of our lives.

What prompted you to start the Yeoville Dinner Club?

The Yeoville Dinner Club concept has been cooking and bubbling from ashrams that taught us not to count rice grains to the soup kitchens that have nourished the lost and the found likewise. It started as a home supper club during my student days. Passing the test of time and pot, and jumping between pop-ups and tasteful cook-outs, Yeoville Dinner Club now dishes for whoever is ready for the bold stories of the Yeoville market culture-vultures. Yeoville is still a buzzing, crowded cultural enclave with almost every corner of the African continent and diaspora represented mostly by the young and travel savvy. The Yeoville Dinner Club concept celebrates that spirit as a special contribution to our beloved Johannesburg culinary scene.

How can we build bridges of cross-cultural understanding and respect through collaborative cooking that lasts beyond the dinner table?

Yeoville is the centre space of African migrationology. We commune. We co-op. We collaborate. And we co-exist. As poet Joy Harjo says in one of her poems: The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live“. The social cohesion tools that exist in Yeoville, as much as it is in the old Sophiatown, come from pleasure, food and music. It can always be sharpened. Yeoville mirrors all things beautiful about the continent. Rockey Street remains the Pan-African silk route, running its delicate threads right through Johannesburg into the continent, and beyond. And much like silk is built from the delicate taste of a little creature; we feast on beauty. Yeoville is a place of food for thought and for sharing experiences that build lasting bridges with all those who come through and come again and again-academics, visiting artists, tourists groups, and mostly the cream of young South Africans. From our dinner table, we rise. We become Yeovillites and keep coming back to further feasts and dreams.

Sanza Sandile and Sumayya Vally. Image courtesy of Mikhael Subotzky (Subotzky Studio)

How does the recipe you have chosen act as an archive for your own cultural experience?

The Okra & Tomato dish I share here is layered with the same culinary signature I have been developing as a slow-cook, traveler and culinary storyteller. It’s essentially simple, yet stuffed with top tips and stories of cooking the various chosen ingredients really slowly to achieve the truest taste. One of the well-kept secrets of building a thick and jammy tomato base is from the old River Café cookbook. The sauce holds memories reminiscent of Ghana’s ‘Shito’ and Ethiopian ‘Shiro’ with a sprinkle of naughty and vinegary capers to masquerade as a Neapolitan Puttanesca sauce. And finally, the nutty and rounder chickpeas (the North African pearls of Nefertiti) are also slow-cooked to a perfect soft crunch in a salty cumin broth. Okra fingers, either cut in half if they are long to be mistaken for string beans, but normally kept long and thin like, so they own their “granny’s finger” nick-name. Slow fried with thinly sliced red onions and cracked black pepper to avoid the slime, the mighty okra is slightly stirred into the tomato, chickpea and capers sauce. The signature scent here is sweet basil leaf. A true Pan-African and diasporic vegan delight that’s revered by those who feast as we do.

Recipe: Sanza’s (Really) Simple Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce with Fried Okra, Red Onions, Chickpeas and Capers


4 jam tomatoes or two cans of tomatoes



Salt & pepper




Red onion

Black mustard seeds

Okra fingers

Fresh basil

Serve with bread of your choice


  • Cook four chopped jam tomatoes or two cans of tomatoes and begin to fry in a bit of oil. Add garlic and chili, salt and pepper, and a little paprika, a teaspoon of sugar and leave the mixture to slowly fry/cook until it sticks nice and thick to the pan.
  • Soak a can of chickpeas (if soaking is needed) and set the tomato-based mixture aside. In another pan, fry one small red onion, throw in some black mustard seeds and a handful of okra fingers, until everything gets a little crispy then add some capers before stirring it together with the tomato sauce.
  • Add fresh basil leaves for extra perfume and flavour. Serve with bread (ciabatta/roti/magwinya/injera or whatever you prefer)

Sanza Sandile

Chef Sanza Sandile is the founder of the famed Johannesburg Yeoville Dinner Club, a space for tasting Pan-Afrikan futures while sharing a dinner table. Each night, he opens a carefully curated table in his spot on ever-buzzing Rockey Street that serves as the temporary home for the stories his guests bring to it: Safe, savoury and clever. Dubbed a culinary smuggler and the “El Bulli of Yeovillle”, Sanza Sandile affirms the dignity of encounters by his unique twist to otherwise well-known African dishes, such as vegan Egusi or Okra-stews. His mixology of flavours, tastes and stories speak to his early career as a radio DJ and selector at YFM and other radio stations of crucial importance in the sonic history of South Africa. His home, inspiration and utopia is Yeoville, the famed Johannesburg suburb called the “most diverse hood in Africa” in a recent feature in the Economist (2019). It is here in Yeoville that he gathers ideas for dishes based on stories of migration and belonging, and taps into the wealth of knowledge of the local, abundant food market and its protagonists. All comes together at the table of the Yeoville Dinner Club, which is both an archive of routes and stories, soon to be turned into a book.

Follow Yeoville Dinner Club on Instagram: @yeovilledinnerclub