Sick of your foodie friends telling you about their latest venture to an obscure Ethiopian restaurant or where to get some curry you've probably never heard about?

Why don't you one-up them with a foray into the Gullah cuisine.

The food and recipes of the Gullah are older than most parts of the U.S. And with the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration around the corner, here's a primer for what to expect and what to sample.

[caption id="attachment_392" align="alignright" width="300"]Cream Da Crab Soup Cream Da Crab is a rich & creamy crab soup with the perfect blend of spices.[/caption]

Brrr. It's cold outside. Have some soup!

Gullah Gourmet is offering its Cream Da Crab Soup. For $10.95, you'll be able to enjoy a blend of crab and spices in a creamy mix in the comfort of your own home.

Hopping into 'Hoppin’ John'

 (Photo: She Wears Many Hats)

Today, the Gullah diet is still based largely on rice, which is a throwback to the Rice Coast origins of their ancestors.

A Hoppin’ John is a pilaf made with beans and rice. The Hoppin' John recipe is said to have come directly to America from West Africa.

This dish incorporates ham, rice, beans and onions, with the added kick of bacon and cayenne pepper.

Want to try it yourself? Here's a recipe from


  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings

  • 2 cans (about 16 ounces each) black-eyed peas, slightly drained, or about 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas

  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 3 cups hot cooked rice

  • salt to taste

  • sliced sweet onion, optional


In a large saucepan sauté chopped onion in bacon drippings until tender. Stir in black-eyed peas, ham, and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes; stir in hot cooked rice and salt. Serve Hoppin' John hot with sliced onion and cornbread.

Jolly Jollies with Jollof Rice

(Photo: Chef In You)

Much of the Gullah cuisine is rice-based and traditionally cooked in a single pot. Jollof rice is also referred to as 'Benachin', translating into "one pot" in the Wolof language. The recipe is very popular in West Africa.

Give this Chef In You recipe a try:

  • 1 cup rice (long grained or medium variety)

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp curry powder

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

  • 1 onion

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (as per taste)

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1-2 green chillies ( or as per taste)

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 large tomatoes,chopped finely

  • 1 carrot,cubed

  • 1 pkt Seitan, cut into small chunks ( about 2 cups - Skip it make this recipe gluten free

  • 1/2 cup each of chopped beans and peas (I used frozen hence added last. If using fresh cook it along with the rice)

  • Salt to taste

  • Cilantro or parsley to garnish


Add 1/4 tsp groundnut oil, add the cumin seeds and when they splutter add onions along with ginger,garlic and chillies

Add the chopped carrots next and saute for a minute with little salt.

Add the tomato paste, tomatoes along with curry powder. Cook until tomatoes get slightly soft. Add the rice next. Saute for another 2 minutes or so.

Add 3 cups of vegetable stock/water, required salt,close the lid and cook until 90% cooked

Add the frozen peas and beans along with Seitan. Since I used to precooked variety, it just needed warming up and not cooking per se. Hence added them last along with frozen vegetables. If using fresh add it along with rice.

Stir it until well combined, add nutmeg and cook for another 5-6 minutes or so for the flavors to get together. Add lots of garnish and serve hot.