Baked Rice Balls.

Rice balls are a fave way to use up leftover rice in our house, and they make a perfect snack for the kids’ lunchboxes too.

Lunch box ready with tuna and cheese rice balls with a salad on the side.

Add in finely chopped vegetables, spices, herbs and cheese, they are quite versatile in terms of how you can flavour them up.

I like using short grained rice for the rice balls. It sticks together better than my beloved basmati, and the brand I use has a lovely aroma too. (I use Numa, which is a local Ugandan brand). I also prefer baking them rather than frying as its less to clean up and healthier too.

For the ingredients, I usually use:-

1. 2 cups of already cooked and chilled short grain rice.

2. 1 tsp dried mixed herbs.

3. 1/4tsp ground tumeric

4. 1 tsp paprika

5. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. 1 cup grated cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella or a mix of both).

7. 1 tbsp mayonnaise.

8. 1 egg.

9. 2 tbsp breadcrumbs.

10. 1/2 cup of drained and shredded tuna, or chopped sandwich ham or chicken.

11. 1/2 cup mixed finely chopped veggies. ( I like adding onion, garlic, and bell peppers)

(Tip: if you opt to fry the balls instead of baking, you can roll them in some all purpose / besan flour/ rice flour then fry to get a crispy layer on top).

See the crispy cheese crust?

Method.

The rice balls are so easy to make.

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

2. Line a baking tray with some baking paper.

3. In a large bowl, combine all your preferred ingredients well. Roll them into balls and place them on the baking tray. I usually get about 18- 20 balls at a go.

These batch contained cheddar cheese with finely chopped vegetables, ready for the oven.

4. Spray lightly with some olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve them with a salad of choice and ketchup. They are so yummy.

My daughter loves hers with ketchup.

Easy to make, colourful, healthy, fuss free, filling and so tasty.

Definitely worth a try!

Porridge. A perfect comfort food.

Can I start today’s blog post with a riddle?

Question: What do you call couture porridge?

Yummy fancied up oats porridge.

Answer: Haute- meal.

I knew you’d get it, LOL!

Porridge is a popular breakfast option in many cultures around the world. It is also a good meal for weaning babies, convalescing adults and anyone struggling with a solid food diet.

Amaranth flour porridge with crunchy peanut butter, honey and garnished with unflavored yoghurt and moringa powder.

There are many ways and options for making porridge. In our culture, we like it fresh but also fermented . We call it “ucuru wa mukio. You can read more about it here.

I love fermented porridge, it is full of good bacteria, as well as nutrients. It is usually served on festive occasions and also to breastfeeding mothers, as it is believed to boost milk production. I remember when I got my first born, my grandmothers as well as my mother in law made me some. At one time I had three full jerrycans of fermented porridge. That’s almost 100 litres! I loved it.

I am yet to try making some fermented porridge for myself from scratch, but it is definitely on my to do list.

Porridge is a great breakfast option. It is usually rich in carbohydrates, making you fuller for longer, regulating your appetite as a result. It is rich in fibre, boosts immunity, and abundant in various minerals and vitamins too. For example, did you know finger millet is one of the richest plant sources of calcium, as compared to other cereals? Porridge is a great way to indulge in our whole grains and get all the amazing benefits in one go.

I prefer this local brand of porridge flour. They have amaranth, millet, and even bean options available.

My usual porridge options range from amaranth flour porridge, oatmeal, millet, rice, flour, pumpkin flour porridge and even green banana porridge which I have already shared here.

I have attached a video below of how I make my oatmeal sometimes.

This was a decadent, delicious bowl. Yum!

If using porridge flour, I usually boil 3 cups of water on the stove top. In a small bowl, I mix 6 tbsp of the porridge flour with another cup of cold water to get a thick, smooth paste. I then add the paste to the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon till it thickens to my liking. I let it simmer on low for about 10 or so minutes then add some milk or peanut butter, if using. This makes enough porridge for 3-4 people.

Finger millet porridge, garnished with unflavored yoghurt, moringa, black seed powder, chia and sesame seeds.

I sweeten my porridge with honey though sugar also works well, but when using sugar I add it in while still on the stovetop so it can dissolve completely.

You can use ripe mashed banana to sweeten your porridge too, and some yogurt works well with oatmeal, in addition to your favorite toppings.

Porridge bowls are quite versatile so you can play around with your preferred flavours and toppings.

Other add ons once I pour some porridge into my bowl are chia seeds, baobab powder, black seed powder, desiccated coconut, chocolate flakes, moringa powder. Nuts and seeds work well too, as do chopped fresh fruit or dried fruit. Banana, raisins, passion pulp, mango cubes add yummy flavours, interesting texture and added colour and nutrients to your porridge bowl. Work with what you like and have on hand. 🤗

Creamy cardamom flavored oatmeal porridge. Garnished with sliced banana and chia seeds, sweetened with honey.

Porridge is a perfect comfort food to me, especially on cold, dull mornings, during the rainy season and anytime I feel I am missing home. A bowl of thick porridge works wonders in lifting my mood.

Millet porridge is another fave, topped with cream, peanut butter and some moringa powder.

Here are other delicious breakfast ideas worth checking out.

Do you like porridge, how do you make yours?

Beetroot Buns.

Where are my colourful food lovers at?

This one is for you.

My kids and I love the bright pink colour of these beetroot rolls or bun. They are delicious and easy to make. They are good enough on their own or with a soup or as a sandwich.

They are so colourful and tasty!

For this recipe, I used 3 cups of all purpose flour. Added about Half a cup of atta (whole wheat ) flour. One tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, one cup of warm water, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tsp yeast, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, one tsp of ground mixed spice (I like the savory flavour) and one grated beetroot.

Always activate your yeast with the sugar and warm water.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mix and stir well with a wooden spoon till it comes together into a shaggy dough. Then place onto a floured countertop and knead with your hands till smooth and soft.

Oil the dough, cover and let rest till doubled in size. It takes one hour in a warm area. Or a switched off oven with the light on.

Punch air out of the dough once risen then shape into 12 rolls.

Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Cover and let the shaped buns rest for about 30- 45 minutes before baking for about 18 minutes in a 180°c oven.

I brushed them with a honey butter mix before putting in the oven and after taking them out.

For honey butter, melt 2 tbsp of unsalted butter then add in 1 tbsp honey and mix well. It makes rolls soft, gives a nice sheen, aroma and a bit of yummy stickiness.

You can top the buns with sesame seeds too if you want.

They have a wonderful aroma and look so pretty too.

So delicious!

Had ours with some pumpkin soup. And the rest were great for breakfast too.

Definitely worth a try.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Green Banana (Matoke) Fritters.

Green bananas, aka matooke or green fig are popular in the region, and inexpensive as they are available all year round. They are mostly served stewed or steamed and mashed, but can also be fried or baked.

I have shared several green banana recipes here on the blog already, from the usual stew, to a curry, baked or fried as French fries or cutlets, and even as porridge.

I love fritters. They are a great way to use up various vegetables you have on hand and are easy to whip up, need just a few pantry staples, and do not take too much time to make. In this recipe, green bananas are the star of this vegan friendly and gluten free meal, that is inspired by Indian pakoda aka fritters.

They work well as an appetizer or snack (tea time or after school), though they can be quite filling if you are unable to have just a few, like my household and I. 😋

For this recipe you will need:-

1. A small bunch of medium sized green bananas. If they are big, 2-3 fingers will do for a family of 4-5. (As a snack).

2. 1 small onion.

3. 3 large cloves of garlic.

4. 1 cup chickpea flour; also known here as besan/ gram / bhajia flour.

5. 1/2 cup cornflour. Can be substituted with rice flour.

6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Spices -a small pinch each of turmeric, paprika, ground coriander.

8. Herbs- I use parsley or mixed herbs.

9. 1 tsp baking soda.

10. Cooking oil to fry in. Half a litre will do.

Method.

1. Wash the green bananas, peel them and soak them in a bowl of water to avoid them blackening. (Tip: Peeling bananas under running water will ensure your hands and knife do not get the sticky stains that usually bother one when peeling them).

2. Heat your oil on medium.

3. In a large bowl, add the flours, salt, pepper and spices and whisk till well combined.

4. Grate your onion and garlic directly into the flour, and add in the parsley.

5. Grate the bananas into the mixture too, and using your hands, mix gently to combine everything.

6. You do not need to add water to the mixture as the vegetables will release their water as you mix.

7. Add the baking soda last and give it one last mix. Remember to be gentle.

8. Use a spoon to scoop the mixture into the hot oil, and fry for about five minutes or until golden brown.

9. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.

10. Serve hot with your condiment of choice. They are tasty enough on their own or with a hot cup of spiced tea. Yum!

Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, they are so flavourful both in and out.

How do you like your green bananas?

Savory Oat Pancakes.

These pancakes are a wonderful option to our usual sweet pancake options.

They make a great breakfast, brunch or tea time snack and are filling, colourful and oh so tasty, which are my non negotiables when it comes to good food.

They are both vegan and vegetarian friendly as they are dairy free and egg free. They are also gluten free, and guilt free.

Best of all, they make great use of those little vegetables that are usually left in the fridge looking all forlorn and neglected at the end of the week.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:-
• 2 cups oats. Quick cooking ones work well.
• I heaped cup of assorted vegetables. ( I used some finely chopped onion, tomato, capsicum and grated carrot).
• 1 tsp grated ginger, and one grated garlic clove.
• 1 tsp mixed spice blend (this enhances the savory flavour).
• 1 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.
• 1 1/2 cups chickpea (besan) flour, also called gram flour locally.
• 2 cups water and more if needed.
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
• Cooking oil.

Method.
1. In a dry, preferably non stick pan, toast the oats on a low flame till they become a bit darker in colour. Don’t burn them . Toasting them releases a subtle nutty aroma and flavour. Put them on a wide plate or tray to cool down completely.


2. As the oats cool, chop or grate your veggies of choice. I like removing the seeds from the tomato. This can go into the salsa mix you will serve on the side.

These pancakes are also a great way to load up on your fresh veggie intake. 🤗


3. In a large bowl, add the gram flour, paprika, salt pepper and mixed spices. Mix well to combine.


4. Add the cooled oats and the water gradually till you get a thickish batter. Start with one cup of water and add gradually.
5. Next go in the chopped vegetables. Mix well and remember to season well. Taste a little bit to confirm.


6. Heat the pan on medium low and add a tablespoon of oil. Swirl the pan to ensure it is well coated, before adding a ladle or scoopful of batter. You can use a measuring cup for this.


7. Let the pancake cook until it looks dryish on the surface, then flip carefully to cook the other side. It will turn a lovely golden colour and firm up. They will however not puff up like our usual fluffy pancakes as they have no rising agent or gluten. So flip carefully, don’t make them to thick and keep the heat medium low to low, so they can cook completely on the inside. I like mine with a few crispy edges, which is fine.


8. Once ready, put them on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Look at that lovely golden colour!


9. Serve immediately with salsa or chutney and some avocado. The colours, flavours and textures blend in so beautifully.

This is a perfect colourful and filling meal that is not hard to make, makes use of what you have on hand and is healthy too. Win Win Right?

Definitely worth a try!