Sautéed Cabbage and Amaranth leaves.

One of the things that’s easy to take for granted in this part of the world, is having access to fresh green vegetables all year round.

If one has space to grow their own, even better. If you do not and have to buy, it is ok as they are not only inexpensive, but come in many different varieties to please different palates.

Amaranth leaves are more commonly known in Uganda as “Dodo” and in Kenya as “terere” or “mchicha.” It is on rotation in our meals a lot. It is rich in vitamins, easy to digest, low in calories and is a great immunity booster.

In this simple recipe, I used red amaranth leaves which are also rich in antioxidants, and gave the veggie mix a bright red color. Green amaranth leaves can work just as well too, minus the red colour obviously.

Let us get started:-

Ingredients.

⁃ Half a head of cabbage, chopped.

⁃ I small bunch of amaranth leaves. I used red but green can work well too.

⁃ 2tbsp ghee.

⁃ 1 tsp mustard seeds.

⁃ 1 large onion, sliced.

⁃ 1 tsp of crushed ginger and garlic.

⁃ 2 tomatoes, chopped.

⁃ 1 tsp dhania jeera powder.

⁃ 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.

⁃ Sliced bell pepper (optional).

⁃ Salt and pepper to taste.

Our spice mix for this dish.

⁃ A pinch of garam masala.

⁃ 1 small lemon halved.

Method.

⁃ Clean and chop all vegetables.

⁃ Heat pan, add ghee and mustard seeds. Once they sizzle a bit, add the onion and let cook till it is soft and translucent.

⁃ Add the ginger garlic paste and mix in well.

Once it’s cooked a bit add the tomatoes and cumin / coriander powder as well as some salt and pepper.

⁃ Let the tomatoes cook down then add the veggies.

Mix well and let cook for not more than ten minutes. You don’t want to overcook them. Leave uncovered.

They will shrink and wilt a bit. Don’t over cook them though. The cabbage is great when it still has a bit of crunch.

⁃ Check your seasoning and add the garam and squeeze half a lemon over the veggies.

The red amaranth leaves’ colour will give the dish a nice reddish, pinkish hue.

Serve hot with rice, ugali or chapati. It’s a perfect side dish but also yummy and healthy enough on its own.

Definitely worth a try don’t you think?

Try and let me know how yours turned out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Recipe coming soon… Savory crepes.

Terere in Peanut Sauce.

Terere is what we call amaranth leaves in my mothertongue. So this dish is amaranth leaves in peanut sauce.

This dish makes me nostalgic of my uni days when I’d scour through cookbooks filled with recipes, copy some and try them out at home over the weekend. Clearly I didn’t have an active social life back then. 😆

The first recipe I ever saw that called for peanut sauce in greens was from Southern Africa, using pumpkin leaves, which I just had to try out. Thankfully pumpkin leaves were available in our garden and I’ve never forgotten the creamy deliciousness I enjoyed when I attempted the dish.

I like making this as a side dish for ugali. But it can work with other mains as well.

I like amaranth as it’s one of those plants you can consume the grains and the leaves, the grains are ground into flour to make porridge, or puffed to make breakfast cereal, or pressed with honey into cereal bars that make a great snack for kids and adults too. It is easily available and affordable, there is no excuse to not include it in your diet.

Amaranth is not hard to grow and back home grows wild in the farm. They come in green and red varieties.

Terere aka “dodo” as it is known here in Kampala is a nutrient powerhouse, despite being viewed as a lowly vegetable by many. It is high in fiber and iron, rich in vitamin A, protein, calcium, lysine (which enables the body to absorb calcium among other benefits), as well as rich in various vitamins and minerals.

In this recipe, I used two bunches of green amaranth leaves and one bunch of Swiss chard. One onion, three cloves garlic minced, one sliced tomato, and 1and a half heaped tbsp peanut sauce mixed with a bit of water to make a paste, salt and pepper to taste. Spices used were a pinch of paprika but this is optional.

Clean your greens, remove the thick stalks and chop them roughly. Set aside in a colander.

Mix the peanut butter and half a cup of water in a bowl. Till it’s like a smooth porridge.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan. Fry the onion and garlic till soft.

Add the tomatoes and spice and mix well with a pinch of salt.

Once tomatoes are soft, add the greens and mix well.

Once wilted, add the sauce.

Simmer for about 10 minutes. The vegetables will release their water and mix with the peanut sauce into a thick sauce and be tender.

Note: The younger the veggies, the shorter the cooking time as you do not want to overcook them. I like them with some bit of bite left.

Use good quality peanut butter preferably with no added sugar. I like using a local brand that mixes in sesame seeds to them that makes it darker in colour but also adds more flavour.

Serve your vegetables hot with your main of choice. I like having them with ugali and avocado slices on the side. Yum!