Tasty French Beans Recipe.

French beans aka green beans aka haricot vert are usually had as side dishes, steamed or sautéed. Here is a simple recipe that enables them shine as a main vegetable dish.

Green beans are known as ‘miciri’ or ‘mishiri’ in my mother tongue and are usually chopped and added to a stew with meat (beef) carrot and potatoes.

I however prefer them a bit bigger in size and crunchy too, cooked through but with some bite to them.

They are rich in various vitamins, such as Vitamins K and C, also rich in folate, fiber, and calcium among other nutritional benefits.

They are also easily available and affordable in Kenya and Uganda. And are one of Kenya’s main horticultural export crops.

My son loves them. Whether as a saucy curry, sautéed with some butter, steamed or even roasted with some carrots there is no shortage of ways to get your family to have and love this vegetable.

Let’s get started.

Our ingredients are:-

1. French beans. (About 2 large fistfuls). Cleaned and sliced diagonally.

2. One large onion. Chopped.

3. Two large cloves of garlic. (Use local, it has better flavour).

4. 2 tablespoons cooking oil.

5. Salt and pepper to taste.

6. Spices used are 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds, a bit of turmeric, and 1 teaspoon of Kenyan curry powder.

7. Three tomatoes, chopped.

Method.

Heat your pan and add the oil and mustard seeds, then the onion.

Let the onion cook till a bit brown and add your minced garlic.

Add the ground spices and mix well till they release their flavours then add the tomatoes, and some salt.

Lower heat and cover. Let the tomatoes cook down into a mushy sauce.

Add your green beans and mix well.

Cover and cook on low for ten minutes. If you want them more tender cook for longer but not too long as they get chewy. Ten to twelve minutes are just right for me.

Check seasoning and serve hot. You can have it as a side or as a main vegetable dish. I had mine with some aromatic rice.

Easy peasy. Simple, tasty, colorful and filling.

Give it a try and have your French beans in a different way. You will not regret it.

Tasty Chicken Liver.

This recipe was inspired by my SIL, Pesh who is not only a darling but one of the best cooks I know.

I love chicken liver, and now that I know where to get it in this town, I will be posting a few recipes featuring it in coming months.

Chicken liver is inexpensive and not liked by many, but for those who consume it, we know that it is rich in essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin B that is great for our cellular health.

It may not be visually appealing, but it is tasty and cooks fast, which is good when you want a quick healthy meal option. It is actually healthier than chicken breast, or so I’ve read.

Let us get started.

  • 500g chicken liver.
  • One bay leaf.
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce.
  • 2 onions, sliced.
  • Coriander, one small bunch, stalks and leaves separated.
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon.
  • A teaspoon of minced garlic.
  • A teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.
  • One green pepper, chopped.
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
  • One tablespoon of butter, and a tsp of olive oil.

Method.

Clean your livers and chop the bigger pieces into half, pat dry. Put in a bowl with the lemon juice, one bay leaf and the soy sauce. Set aside for 15 minutes as you prepare the other ingredients.

Heat your wide pan, and add the butter and olive oil. The oil is to prevent the butter from burning.

Add the onions and let cook with a pinch of salt till caramelised.

Add the liver (with the marinade) layered around the pan, ensuring each piece is touching the pan, cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Add your green pepper, coriander stalks and mixed herbs. Mix gently and check seasoning especially salt because of the soy sauce which tends to be quite salty.

Let cook for about 6-8 more minutes. Chicken liver cooks very fast and is mushy and gross when over cooked, so keep a close eye.

Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve hot once ready.

This is delicious!

We had ours with roasted potatoes and stir fried Chinese cabbage.

Tasty, filling and easy to make…what’s not to love about this recipe?

If you have never had chicken liver before, try this, it is finger licking good.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Instant Pot Kala Chana Curry.

One of the best things about having the instant pot is being able to boil dry cereals and legumes in a short period of time. No more setting aside a day to boil various legumes and pack them in the freezer for weeks or months, and woe unto you if you have no power for a day or so, and have to throw them out.

I have been trying out various recipes in the instant pot and I am happy with it. No instant pot? No worries. This simple chickpea curry can be made on the stovetop too.

Black chickpeas also known as “kala chana” are darker in colour and more meatier than the light coloured chickpeas, which makes them perfect for a filling vegetarian meal. They are rich in fibre, hence make you feel full for longer, and help prevent constipation. They are full of antioxidants, as well as folate and magnesium, low in fat and rich in iron among other benefits.

This simple dish can be had as a side or a main meal with rice or chapati along with a salad and other vegetables. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:-

  1. 1 1/2 cups soaked brown chickpeas
  2. I chopped onion
  3. 1 tbsp cooking oil
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  5. 1 chopped tomato and some tomato paste
  6. Spices: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1 tsp dhana jeera powder and garam masala
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Chopped coriander leaves and freshly squeezed lemon juice to garnish.

Method.

Switch on your instant pot and select the Sauté function.
Once hot, add a tbsp of cooking oil, followed by the bay leaf and a teaspoon of cumin seeds, then add onion when the seeds begin to sputter.
Let the onion cook then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well and let cook a bit before adding the ground spices. Mix again and add a splash of water to deglaze the pot.
Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Let cook a while.
Add the drained chickpeas and mix well into the masala.
Check seasoning then add 2 cups of water. The chickpeas do not absorb that much water, so too much water will not do. Cover the pot and cancel sauté function.
Select the bean/ chilli program on the instant pot. I left the keep warm option on too. Let it cook and let the pressure release naturally when done. Do not rush it with a quick pressure release.

Once done, uncover the cooker and add your chopped coriander leaves, squeeze a half lemon over it and an additional little sprinkle of garam masala will not hurt. Let sit a bit then serve.

I had mine with rice and a slice of avocado on the side.
You can also have it with chapati.

This curry is perfect for weeknights when you do not want to spend too much time cooking. It is healthy, tasty and filling and you can serve with a salad or avocado slice for added nutrition and colour.

If making it on the stovetop just soak your chickpeas overnight, rinse, drain and boil them before making the curry.

Definitely worth a try, isn’t it?

Meatless Monday: Easy Vegetable Pilau.

Pilau is a very common dish in East Africa, and once again like biriani, everyone has their own way of doing it. In Kenya pilau is darker in colour and has meat, but once you move to the coast, it is lighter in colour and has no meat, maybe potatoes but that is it.

Whatever way you make it, it is sure to be delicious. Vegetable pilau is my go to for the kids’ school lunch or a meatless Monday meal. It is an easy one pot meal full of incredible flavour. Let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients: ground pilau masala, ginger garlic paste, chopped onions, whole pilau masala (bayleaf, cumin seeds, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom), chopped tomato, rice and my vegetables of choice. I used potatoes, green beans, green pepper, carrot and beetroot. All chopped in small pieces.

Rinse and soak your basmati rice for about 30 minutes. You can use the whole pilau spices as is, or grind them, which I did as we do not like biting into cloves or cardamoms when eating.

Very fragrant freshly ground pilau masala, it has a very strong aroma.
Heat oil in a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of cumin seeds and the bay leaf, cook for a while and add the onion. Let the onion brown a bit but do not let it burn. Remember, the darker the onions cook, the darker the pilau. Then add one tablespoon of ground ginger garlic paste and mix well.
Add your freshly ground pilau masala and mix well, do not let it burn. If using tomatoes, add them at this time and let them cook down completely, then add the store brand already ground pilau masala if you didn’t have the whole one.
Add your vegetables and some salt and pepper. Let the veggies cook a bit, the potatoes can be about halfway done.
Add the drained rice and mix well to let it be coated with the spices.
Add your veggie broth or water and bring to the boil. I use two cups of liquid for one cup of rice.
once the rice starts boiling, cover and reduce the heat to let it simmer slowly until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. I added fried onions, raisins and roasted cashew nuts but it is not a must.

Your vegetable pilau is now ready to serve. You can serve with it a nice kachumbari salad, some raita or even have it on it’s own.

Looks delicious right?

This is an easy meal to make and a great way to use what you have on hand to make a delicious meal for your family. Give it a try!