The WEYANOKE Association: telling our own story



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Valena Dismukes

Evaristo Gaitán


Revised 08/12/2013

© The Weyanoke Association
P.O. Box 121
Charles City VA 23030


Here are recipes for some of the traditional foods that have been served at our events. Let us know what you think.

AKARA (Shrimp & Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from Nigeria, West Africa)

3/4 lb. cooked black-eyed peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 or 2 scotch bonnet or jalapeño peppers, seeded & minced, to taste
1 Tablespoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons dried shrimp powder or blend 1/2 cup cooked shrimp with other ingredients
Oil for deep frying

In small batches, purée in blender with salt, shrimp, onion and peppers, adding only enough water to make a smooth paste. With a spatula, remove each batch to a mixing bowl until all ingredients except eggs and oil have been puréed. Adjust seasoning.

Add eggs, mixing thoroughly either by hand or with electric mixer on low setting, to get as much air into mixture as possible. 

Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Deep fry by the spoonful until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.

Makes about 20 akara.


6 very ripe bananas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mash bananas with fork or use blender to make pulp. Add flour and mix.

Mix water & sugar to make syrup. Add syrup & nutmeg to banana-flour mixture. Mix well. Add more water if needed to achieve consistency of pancake batter.

Fry like pancakes in oiled frying pan until golden brown.

Makes 24 small akara.


2 - boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 - 14.5 oz. cans seasoned diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz. can great northern beans
1 - 24 oz. jar mild salsa
1 box frozen corn
2 Tablespoons dried (or 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh) cilantro

Place rinsed chicken breasts in bottom of 3½-quart crock pot. Place remaining ingredients on top and stir briefly. Simmer on low 8 - 10 hours. Remove chicken to shallow bowl, pull apart with two forks, and return to pot. Mix thoroughly, adjust seasoning and serve.

CORN MEAL COOKIES (Cherokee style)

Blend together until creamy:
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter

1 ½ cup Flour
½ cup Corn Meal
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 egg
½ cup Raisins or Sweetened Dried Cranberries, soaked in water

Drop on ungreased cookie sheet using tablespoon. Bake at 350 degrees until brown around the edges.


2 raw apples, cored
juice of 1 lemon
1 - 4 oz. can mandarin oranges (drain & reserve juice)
1/3 cup salted peanuts
2 Tablespoons sliced green onion (scallion)
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage, (regular or napa)
1/3 cup salad dressing (optional)

Slice unpeeled apples into thin wedges & sprinkle with lemon juice. Place in salad bowl with oranges, onion, cabbage and peanuts. Mix well. Add juice and/or salad dressing just before serving.

Serves 4.


1-844 g. jar nopalitos* (strips of tender prickly pear cactus - with prickles removed)
1-52 oz. can red kidney beans
3-411 g. cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. dried cilantro*
Salt to taste
Red pepper powder to taste (optional)

Simmer 1 hour on low heat or until flavors have melded. Stir occasionally so beans do not stick to bottom of pan. Serve over rice or with cornbread.

* Look for nopalitos and cilantro where Mexican foods are sold. Cilantro is the crushed leaves of the same plant that produces the seeds called coriander.


1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup toasted Benne (sesame) Seeds
Oil to coat cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 325º. Oil cookie sheet. Cream together brown sugar & butter. Stir in egg, vanilla & lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet, 2" apart. Bake 15 minutes or until edges are brown.

* The word benne is said to have come to the Americas from Nigeria, along with the seeds.


2 16-oz. cans black-eyed peas, well drained
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, or 3/4 tsp. dried
2 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Drain black-eyed peas. In small bowl, whisk together next six ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil until basil vinaigrette is smooth. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

FRYBREAD (Mohawk style)

3 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup warm Water
Oil for frying

Combine flour and salt in medium bowl. Add warm water in small amounts, kneading dough until soft but not sticky. Adjust flour or water as needed. Cover bowl and let stand about 15 minutes.

Pull off egg-sized balls of dough. Roll or pat into fairly thin rounds. Fry rounds in hot oil until bubbles appear on dough, then turn and fry on other side until golden. Serve hot, plain or sprinkled with powdered sugar or honey.


1 loaf white bread
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 stick butter
1 cup raisins or per preference
Milk - enough to make slightly battered mix

Preheat oven to 300º. Layer bread slices in 9" baking pan. Mix together remaining ingredients & pour over bread. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.


6 chicken thighs, skinned & boned
Olive oil
2 small (15-16 oz.) cans red kidney beans, drained
1 small can small lima or white northern beans, drained
2 - 28 oz. cans tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1 small can whole kernel corn, drained
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ jar green salsa
3 Tbsp. each of thyme, oregano, cumin, & chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Cut chicken into small pieces with kitchen shears. In large pot, brown in olive oil with onion & garlic. Add remaining ingredients. Lower heat & simmer 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Adjust seasoning. Even better the second day. Feeds a small army, especially if served with cornbread or over rice.