Celebrating #ImmigrantHeritageMonth through food, history, and belonging.

This month, we’re celebrating #ImmigrantHeritageMonth through the stories of food, history, and belonging from our Taste Of Belonging cookbook featuring members from the Welcoming Network. 

Through the month of June, we will celebrate immigrants by highlighting five stories and recipes from the cookbook.

Dauda Sesay immigrated to the US after fleeing his war torn country of Sierra Leone at the age of 16. Dauda is the Vice-Chair of the Refugee Congress Board of Directors and an Honorary Delegate.

Cassava is one of Africa’s most versatile foods and is widely consumed in North, East, South, and Western Africa. Its root can be pounded to make fufu (a soft and doughy staple made from boiled cassava) or eaten raw, boiled, or baked. The leaves of cassava roots are an essential ingredient in cassava leaf sauce and stew.

According to Dauda: “Cassava leaf stew is best described as a favorite staple food for Sierra Leoneans. It is such an essential contribution to the diet of my home country and the culture. Every Sierra Leonean, at home and abroad, rich or poor, eats cassava leaf sauce almost every day.”

Dauda’s cassava leaf stew recipe -

2 16-ounce packs of ground cassava leaves 

Palm oil or groundnut oil 

Coconut oil for more elegant flavor and taste 

Natural peanut butter (sugar-free) 

Ogiri (ground and blended sesame seeds) 

Your choice of meat (beef, turkey, goat, chicken, shrimp, etc.)

Smoked or fried fish

Seasoning (Doli Maggi, star Maggi, Jumbo Maggi, and salt)

Red or white chopped onions

Habanero peppers

Get the rest of Dauda's recipe and others, plus stories of immigrant heritage by diving deeper into the cookbook here.

Born in Chungju, South Korea, Bomi Park first came to the U.S. in 2008 while in high school through a foreign exchange program. She now lives in St. Louis, MO and is a Program Manager at the St. Louis Mosaic Project, a nonprofit organization in the Welcoming Network.

Bomi’s recipe in Taste of Belonging is a Korean dish. Traditionally, bulgogi is made with beef marinated in a soy sauce-based dressing, though there are versions of bulgogi that can be made with different proteins such as pork or tofu. Sometimes, it’s made with additional sauce (gochujang) for a spicy taste.

It’s a common dish in South Korea and typically present at celebrations and gatherings. Some Koreans might even say its familiar salty/sweetness is a comfort food.

As Bomi reflects, “Bulgogi is everyone’s favorite or go-to Korean dish. It’s such a good dish to introduce to anyone who’s trying Korean food for the first time. I have many fond memories of eating bulgogi with my friends and family back home in Korea.”

Bomi's bulgogi recipe - 

INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR 2–3 SERVINGS:

1 pound thinly sliced beef (or your choice of protein) 

1/3 cup soy sauce 

½ tablespoon honey 

1 tablespoon garlic 

1 teaspoon ginger 

4 tablespoons green onion/scallion — the white part 

½ cup onion 

½ cup carrots 

¼ cup chopped green onion — the green part 

Optional: your favorite veggies/mushroom or noodles 

DETAILED COOKING STEPS: 

1. Make the marinade with soy sauce, honey, finely chopped garlic, ginger, and green onion (only the white part!) 

2. Pour the marinade into a bowl and combine with the protein (if you are using tofu: pan-fry the tofu first until it’s crispy on the outside, then marinate). 

3. Slice carrots and onions; chop the green parts of green onion and keep separate. 

4. Stir fry with vegetable oil. Cook ingredients in the order of hard to soft (carrots > onions > protein). Cook the veggies with just a pinch of salt before adding the marinaded protein. 

5. Turn the heat off when carrots are cooked. Put the green parts of green onion in the pan to cook with the remaining heat. 

6. Plate the bulgogi with cooked rice and enjoy! 

Tip: The water that you used to rinse the rice can be used to adjust the saltiness or liquidity of the bulgogi. If you want to add noodles to your bulgogi, adding rice rinse water is a good way to help them get incorporated. 

Get more recipes and stories of immigrant heritage by diving deeper into the cookbook here.