Tasty Kenyan Beef Stew

Beef stew is a classic Kenyan dish. Cubes of beef cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and various spices are combined to create a tasty and hearty stew that goes well with chapati, ugali or rice.

Every household has its own way of making it. Where I come from, potatoes, peas and carrots are a must. And the dish is served hot with some steamed cabbage on the side.

This here is my version of a dish that I love and is also on my list of top comfort foods that remind me of my childhood.

Ingredients: 500g Beef cut in chunks, 3 large potatoes cubed, 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 sliced carrots, 1/2 tbsp tomato paste, I tbsp ginger garlic paste, I large chopped onion, 1.5 tsp Kenyan curry powder, coriander to garnish, salt and pepper to taste.
Add your chopped onions to the same pan and cook till soft and a bit brown.

Add your garlic ginger paste, stir well then add the curry powder. Mix well to avoid burning then add the tomatoes. Cover and let the tomatoes cook through before adding the meat you had set aside.

Add the meat …

Now, there are many memes and jokes made about how much my fellow Kenyans from the Mt. Kenya region like our stews soupy. This is my PSA; Please do not, I repeat DO NOT add too much water. In fact add half a cup and if it’s too little just a bit more.

Below are some images from the internet that folks like making fun of us cooking with.

Back to our stew, let it come to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40-60 minutes.

When the meat is cooked and soft, and the sauce thick to your liking. Switch off, stir in the coriander and serve hot with rice, chapati or ugali.

It is perfect with some steamed Kenyan Mwea Pishori rice which is medium grained but very aromatic. However, I didn’t have some when I made this so just served it with some basmati rice and steamed cabbage on the side. Still delicious!

As always a reminder, this is how I make my beef stew, everyone has their own version. A lot of people add bouillon cubes, I didn’t as I don’t use them at all. You can personalise it your way and add green peppers, courgettes or peas to this and it will still be tasty. Try it and Enjoy!


Minced beef always features one way or another on our weekly menu here. The kids love mince meat so the challenge for me is to just get different ways of making it.

Someone on twitter shared this meatloaf recipe a few weeks ago, and I though it was worth a try. It was my first time making meatloaf and I think I will make it again given the happy and sated responses from my gang. Let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients: A kilo of minced beef (not lean), Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, onion, garlic, an egg, breadcrumbs, olive oil, dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper, honey and dhania jeera
In a bowl, mix your ketchup and honey, about 2 tbsp each and mix well, set aside. ( I put in a lil bit of mustard too.

Grease your loaf pan and preheat your oven to 180°C.

In a large bowl, add your meat and add one finely diced onion, minced garlic, a tsp each of black pepper, dried mixed herbs, ground dhania jeera, Worcestershire sauce, salt, one egg, one cup of breadcrumbs and salt. Mix well then add to the greased loaf pan.

I really need to learn how to dice my onions into teeny weeny pieces.
Pour the honey, ketchup glaze but leave a bit aside and bake for 60-75 minutes.
The loaf kinda shrunk, I covered it with foil for about 20 minutes to let it rest before serving and also got time to make the salad.
Served it with a courgette mint salad. Slice one carrot, one courgette and one small onion and one tbsp of fresh mint leaves, chopped.
For the dressing, Juice of one lemon, tsp of minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper will suffice.
I loved how the meatloaf turned out and will definitely make it again.
The salad was light and refreshing enough to match the meatloaf’s flavours.

I think it came out quite well for a first try right?

Ain’t that a pretty plate?

All Pumpkin Pasta!

Pumpkins are very common in Uganda. I prefer it to butternut as I find it much sweeter and a little does go a long way. Peel it. Chop it up, pack in ziplock and freeze in your preferred portions. You can roast the seeds, dry and grind the peel and flesh to make flour, use it to make porridge, soups or cook it in curries, stews, breads, and its leaves can be sautéed as a side to ugali, mashed potatoes or used in mashing food like mūkimo, which I already shared here. The green pumpkin is what we get here and its bright orange flesh lends beautiful colour and taste to chapatis and fried cabbage too.

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Pumpkins have lots of antioxidants, are a great source of fibre, and best of all; one of the best sources of beta carotene that supports eye health, is converted to Vitamin A in the body and has been touted by some to slow down cognitive decline.

You may find however that your kids do not like it. So here is an easy peasy way to consume it without having to see it. The reason I call this ‘all pumpkin pasta’ is we use both the pumpkin flesh and the leaves to create this creamy sauce that surprisingly goes well with pasta. If you have some toasted pumpkin seeds, go ahead and garnish with them to make a ‘completely pumpkin’ pasta sauce!

Let’s get started shall we? First preheat your oven to 200°C , chop your pumpkin and gather your spices of choice. I used a blend of mixed spices I have shared previously on my ossobuco recipe here. It matches really well with the pumpkin.

Toss your whole head of garlic with chopped pumpkin (about 4 cups) with olive oil, salt, some coriander seeds and 1 tbsp of the mixed spices blend. Mix well and bake for about 30 minutes, let cool a bit.
Meanwhile, sauté about a cup of your chopped pumpkin leaves with some butter until cooked through. Set aside.

You can also be making your pasta at this time. You can use any pasta, I used spaghetti then reserved a ladle or so of the pasta water.

Peel your roasted garlic, and puree together with the roasted pumpkin and the pumpkin leaves. Return to a sauce pan and heat through.

If too thick, add some more of the pasta water. Grate a cup of cheddar cheese, add half to the sauce and reserve the rest to garnish when serving.

Toss your pasta in the creamy sauce, garnish and serve immediately.

Tasty, Healthy and Beautiful to look at! This dish will have your kids trying to guess what is in it and how the pasta has turned green. LOL.

Another easy peasy spaghetti dish that will satisfy your family’s taste buds, doesn’t take long to make and loads them up with healthy benefits too. Try it!

Back to School!

The kids are back to school; albeit virtually. This pandemic has really forced all of us to scramble and look for ways to adapt to the situation. Governments have been caught flatfooted, which has meant many kids missing out on the completion of the school year.

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With community transmissions on the rise here, most probably  public schools will be opening in Jan/ Feb when the new school year is set to begin. 

Private schools have been engaging the government on reopening but one interesting thing to note is that even if the private schools were able to implement all possible Covid- 19 precautionary measures, the government will be reluctant to give them approval for the following reasons; it will be unfair to those in public schools, and there will also be immense pressure on the education ministry to reopen the public schools which are not ready. Keep in mind, some public schools are in such dilapidated states, one wonders where they till start. Some schools do not have running water, roofs, are dilapidated, classes are overcrowded, sanitation is pathetic, and receive little to nothing in terms of  government support, how then will coronavirus transmission be contained? 

As much as education is a basic right, the right to life is more important and our children’s lives must be protected by all means. 

How we educate our children is changing. Even with the emergence of (allegedly) successful vaccines, things will not go back to normal fast. It could mean we have to homeschool our young ones for the first few years before they join face to face classes, as how will they learn effectively via Zoom/ Google classroom? 

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What does this also mean for the working parents or those with none or only one device between them and have more than one child?

My last born is joining Grade 1 and I am very excited but anxious too. This ‘new normal’ means his experience will be completely different from the norm as he has to meet his classmates online. Lucky for us kids adapt easily and I find they might cope with this better than we the adults. 

I am appreciative of the schools’ efforts to maintain learning through this period too through online activities. It is not easy for the teachers too; and we need to remember the hard work they are putting in to transfer the teaching material online, record the instructional videos or teach live. That is no mean feat!

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I have been following some conversations online and as much as some parents are feeling an extra burden, we should not forget the strain on the educators as well. 

I also acknowledge that it is a privilege for those of us whose kids are able to continue learning. We should not take this for granted. Luckily the school is nearby so for the young ones we are getting weekly printed school work packets that are great, as it means less screen time for the kids, which is another worry for many parents. 

For those having the kids home and not in class is also a great opportunity to impart knowledge without the confines of a classroom and rigid curriculum. Life skills; star gazing, learning through play or about nature, cooking, sewing, woodwork etc. There are so many ways we can still educate our children without the usual ‘schooling’. Let them plant flowers or trees, help in cleaning, baking, fixing the car or home repairs, they are still learning invaluable lessons.

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Another important thing we need to do as parents is to mind our language and energy around our children too. Quit complaining about them being home or in class within earshot of your children. Watch the energy we give out too. Children learn more by what we do, NOT what we say. We are anxious but let us try to be optimistic with all that is happening. 

Safety is also paramount. Let us know where our kids are and who they are with. Also online safety, what precautions are we taking during the online classes? Do we sit with the kids or leave them to their own devices? Do we check what they are doing online? Do we talk to them about online dangers? 

Gone are the days when kids were instructed and expected to toe the line without question. These days we have to explain and discuss with them (at their level of understanding obviously) on what is safe, permissible and in line with our values. We are our children’s first educators, whether they are in school or not,  and this time we have with them is best to instil family values that they will never forget. 

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We are living in interesting times indeed.

Meatless Monday: Split Black gram and Beans Curry.

Split Black gram (urad dal) and yellow kidney beans come together in a creamy coconut sauce that will definitely remind you of dal makhani; That creamy buttery bowl of lentil goodness we love eating with naan bread or jeera rice. The difference though is the absence of butter and fresh cream, replaced with coconut cream but the method is more or less the same.

Ingredients: 2 cups split black gram, 2 cups yellow beans already boiled, one onion chopped, 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, 1 tbs coriander seeds, 1 tbsp ghee, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 teaspoon each curry powder and garam masala and chopped coriander leaves for garnish. Not in pic: 1small can coconut cream, and 1 tsp Dried fenugreek leaves.
Heat your pan, add ghee let it melt then add your 1 tsp of cumin seeds and bay leaf. Let them start to sputter then add the onion and cool till it’s soft.
After onions are soft, add your ginger garlic, ground coriander seeds mix well then add the turmeric and curry powder. Don’t let them burn. Add the tomatoes and some salt. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes till tomatoes are soft and mushy.
Let the tomatoes cook completely.
Add the beans, mix well and add the coconut cream. You can also use thick coconut milky mix and cover. Let simmer on very low heat for about 30- 45 minutes. Keep checking it doesn’t burn.
Once ready and thick, add the garam masala, fenugreek leaves, dhania leaves and a squeeze of lemon. Check seasoning and turn off heat. Let sit a little while before serving.
Garnish with some cream and serve with chapati.

I hope you enjoy making this for your family. You can add chili if no kids are eating it. Try it!