Tasty Githeri.

Gītheri is one dish that is synonymous with where I come from, and a trademark of Kenyan cuisine. It is also found in other communities by different names, and with some slight differences. Whereas we Central Kenya folks make it with maize and beans most of the time, some communities add groundnuts to the mix, or just have maize and another cereal or legume such as peas, pigeon peas and hyacinth bean which we call ‘njahī’ in my mothertongue.

I have already shared another githeri recipe here using fresh green peas but here I will share with butterbeans, with a tasty twist. Let’s get started:-

Ingredients: Already boiled butterbeans and green maize, 1 tsp mustard seeds, some curry leaves, 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, 1 large chopped onion, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped green pepper, chopped carrot and courgette and coriander leaves to garnish.
Heat your pan and add one tbsp vegetable oil, once the oil is really hot. Add the black mustard seeds and curry leaves, they will sputter immediately then add the onions before they burn, mix well.
Once your onions have softened, add the coriander stalks, green pepper and ginger garlic paste, mix well and cook for a whole then add your spices of choice here; I just added some Kenyan curry powder.
Add the chopped vegetables, and let cook a bit. Then add the beans and maize.
Add some salt and pepper, and a little water if too dry, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the flavours are blended well.
When ready, garnish with your coriander leaves and serve hot.
Avocado goes perfectly well with gītheri, so add some chunky guacamole and chilli on top, then enjoy!

Gītheri actually means ‘plain’ as it was usually eaten as is with just some salt. And it is tasty that way, fresh off the pot when boiled together then drained and served hot sprinkled with salt is one way. You can also mash it with potatoes and it becomes ‘mūkimo’ which I have already shared here, or fry it with some onions and spices and array of vegetables for a different taste like in this post.

That is the beauty of cooking, using what you have on hand to experiment with a different way of eating your food, isn’t it?

Githeri ya Minji.

Gītheri is a central Kenyan traditional meal of maize and beans, mixed and boiled together; similar to what is known as ‘succotash’. It can be had plain with some salt, you add some potatoes to make a mash which we call ‘mūkimo, or fry and have other spices and vegetables or even meat added to it, or add some groundnuts, the varieties are endless.

This time round I made mine with fresh green peas, which we call ‘minji’, and had it with some cabbage to make a delicious vegetarian meal.

Let’s get started:-

  1. I cup blanched peas
  2. I cup boiled green maize; you can use sweet corn too.
  3. 1 large potato, chopped
  4. 1large chopped onion
  5. 1 chopped courgette
  6. 1 tbsp tomato paste
  7. 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.
  8. 1 tsp dhana jeera
  9. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  10. coriander leaves for garnish
Heat oil in a pan, fry your onions till soft.
Add the ground spices, mix well then add the tomatoes and some salt, cover and let cook a bit.
Add your courgette and potatoes and let cook over medium heat, you can add a little water so they do not burn.
Then add the peas and maize and mix well
If you want your gather dry, just cover and cook on low till potatoes are cooked through. If you want it to have a thickish sauce, add enough water (about a cup) to just cover the mix, then cover and let cook through till it reduces to your liking and the potatoes are cooked through.
Once ready to your liking, check the seasoning and add the coriander leaves and a tbsp of lemon juice to garnish. You can have it on it’s own like this, or with rice or other vegetables.

For the vegetable side dish, our ingredients are:-

Half a head of white cabbage, 1 carrot, sliced bell peppers, onion, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and 1 tsp curry powder.
Heat your pan, add the oil and mustard seeds and let them release their aroma and start popping..
Add your onion, I mixed red and spring onion.
Add your curry powder, some salt and add the green pepper and carrots. Mix all well on high heat.
Add your cabbage, mix well, then add the other bell peppers, and cook your vegetables to your liking.
I like them cooked just in the middle, a bit soft, a bit crunchy. One of my grandmothers would NEVER eat cabbage I had cooked as she would always complain it’s undercooked. LOL. So I would serve mine then let the rest cook to her liking.
This is such a beautiful dish, the colours are so inviting you just want to dig in.
An avocado if available adds more oomph to the popping colours and flavours! And in Uganda and Kenya, how can a meal be complete without avocado on the side?

The best thing about gītheri is there are no iron clad rules. As always, it is up to you to use what you have and flavour it your way. This makes a perfect meatless Monday or quick midweek meal as it is easy to whip up and one of the easiest way to load up on some veggies.

Give it a try!