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In his native Sudan, Siddiq studied agriculture and used an irrigation method based on rain cycles to improve his harvests.

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Siddiq Ismail's

Salata Aswad

Siddiq and his wife Layla love cooking with eggplant. This Sudanese salad, which blends the flavors of eggplant and peanut, is similar to one of Siddiq's favorite traditional Darfuri dishes. Serves six.


  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs. each)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 large green chili, such as jalapeno, finely chopped (or more to taste)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the eggplants with a knife in several places and place on a pan lined with foil. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, until they are very soft when pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool. Halve the eggplants and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin.

Put peanut butter, lemon juice and eggplant in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add vinegar and remaining ingredients and continue pulsing until desired consistency. You can also mash with a fork for a chunkier texture.

Serve at room temperature or chilled with your favorite flat bread or as a dip with pita chips.

More About Siddiq Ismail


Home Country

After war claimed his family members and farm, Siddiq escaped to Cairo, Egypt, where he applied for refugee status. Learn more about the IRC’s response to the Darfur crisis »

Salt Lake City

New Roots City

Today, Siddiq is studying water-efficient drip irrigation and growing eggplant, Egyptian spinach and other vegetables at a New Roots farm.

"I plant because it's important. Farming is my life."

As one of the most advanced microproducers at the IRC's Salt Lake City New Roots garden, Siddiq has sold his produce locally at an IRC-run farm stand and plans to expand to a farmers market and large Asian grocery store. One day, he hopes to sell to local restaurants as well. Explore New Roots Near You »