American-born Satou Sabally moved to Gambia when she was 2, and Germany when she was 7. The daughter of a German mother and a Gambian father, it was a basketball scholarship at the University of Oregon that brought her back to the country of her birth.
And now, with a year of NCAA play under her belt and the confidence and experience that comes with it, last year's four-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week is ready to fight for a national title. On Sunday, Sabally had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks, as Oregon beat Indiana 91-68 to move into the Sweet 16.
When Sabally wants to de-stress, she grounds herself in the kitchen. One of her favorite recipes: Benachin, a Gambian rice and chicken dish that reminds her of her childhood.
Day and time: Dinner the week before the NCAA tournament begins
Place: At home in Eugene, Oregon
What I'm eating: Benachin and salad (also called Jollof Rice)
Why I'm eating it: It always reminds me of home and eating together as a whole family, since Gambians have really strong family values and ties, and food is a time to connect and spend time together.
Whose recipe: Mine. Since I am from The Gambia, I cook it this way, but there are multiple ways of cooking it.
1 pound chicken breast
1-2 onions, quartered
1/4 cup cooking oil (peanut is traditional)
1 potato, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cups water
"Jumbo cubes" or other bouillon cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasonings of choice -- I use paprika, mustard and the garlic
2 cups white rice
Heat a heavy pan on the stove and add your choice of cooking oil. Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and mustard, then sear on high heat until dark brown on the outside. Remove and place on a baking pan with onions. Bake chicken and onions in the oven while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Clean and chop your choice of veggies (I used carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes) and add to the pan to fry starting with the slowest-cooking ones (in this case, sweet potatoes, then potatoes and then carrots). Add onions to the pan, then tomato paste and stir it around for a minute to get a little roasted.
When tomato paste is darker (but not burnt), add two cups of water, chopped tomatoes and seasoning such as salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and, if available, Jumbo cubes. Bring to a boil.
Add rice and lower heat. Cover with a lid and simmer until rice is cooked and water is evaporated. Add more water or lift the lid to let more water steam out if you need to adjust.
When rice is done, add the chicken and serve. I ate it with a salad of lettuce, arugula, avocados, tomatoes, carrots and homemade dressing (olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon, a little bit of honey and mustard).