…. or Onion Sauce, which we served for the fundraiser meal last Sunday, April 30:

For one large pot of « Djaaba-djii » :  (serves 10-12 when poured over rice; multiply proportions equally for larger group):

Oil, just enough for stir-frying

1 small can Tomato paste

1 can Rotel chopped tomatoes

1 large onion chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed

1/2 medium cabbage chopped

1 lb. stew beef

Another vegetable, e.g., squash, eggplant, carrots, etc., cubed or chopped

6 beef bouillon cubes

16 cups water

1-2 tsp. each of parsley, cilantro, salt, cumin, chili powder; ½ tsp. black pepper, maybe just enough cayenne pepper to “heat” it up

2 tsp. Chipotle sauce (the attempt of all the spices is to mimic West African “soumbala” which is very hard to find in the USA)


  • Stir fry beef cubes and onion pieces together until onion pieces are translucent
  • Add chopped garlic and sauté just enough to mellow it a bit, then….
  • ….add 16 cups of water, 6 beef bouillon cubes, small can of tomato paste, Ro-tel chopped tomatoes, and stir until all dissolve together
  • Add spices & chipotle sauce
  • Add other vegetables, cut up, like squash, or cubed & peeled eggplant, carrots chunks (unless they are pre-cooked; in which case, add toward very end of cooking)
  • Allow to simmer on low for at least an hour

Serve over rice; add salt, pepper, or hot sauce as desired

For a vegetarian option: reserve all chopped ingredients, liquids and spices except beef and beef bouillon. Saute onion and garlic, add water, canned sauces, vegetables and spices, and comparable amount of vegetable bouillon and simmer for at least an hour.

For West African Peanut Sauce, mix some of the hot djaaba-djii broth into a bowl with 1.5 cups of peanut butter, and mix until you have a thin gruel. Pour that mix back into the “djaaba-djii” , stir until thoroughly mixed (no lumps left), and simmer on low heat until some of the oil separates out to the top. Stir occasionally to keep any peanut sauce from burning at the bottom.

For a real West African effect, while cooking, listen to Neba Solo a Malian musician (a “griot” or “djeli-tche” in Dioula). He has recordings posted online.