Chickpea pilaf.

This is a delicious and flavour full one pot meal that’s tasty, healthy and easy to make.

Chickpeas are rich in nutrients; a great source of protein which is perfect if you don’t want to use meat in the dish. The greens used here (amaranth and spinach) are also great sources of vitamins and protein too.

Colourful and tasty.

I like one pot rice meals such as this as they come together so fast and one can put in what’s available to make a tasty meal.

You will need:-

  • 1 cup of rinsed and drained chickpeas.
  • One large onion, chopped.
  • Two tbsp coconut oil. Or ghee.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds and one bay leaf.
  • One cup soaked basmati rice.
  • Ginger garlic paste. A tbsp will do.
  • 2tsp ground good quality pilau masala.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Greens of choice ( I bunch will do, chopped).
  • Chopped coriander.
  • 2 cups water or stock.

Method.

  • Heat your pan and add your coconut oil as well as cumin seeds and bay leaf.
  • Once they start sputtering, add onions, cook until starting to brown then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well. Before adding the pilau masala.
  • Next go in the coriander stalks and the chickpeas, as well as salt and pepper, followed by the chopped greens. I used a mix of amaranth leaves and spinach I had leftover from a previous meal.
  • Add the rice and mix well. Then in goes your stock. Cover and simmer till all the water is drained and rice is cooked through.

Serve with a salad of your choice.

I had mine with a simple tomato cucumber and onion salad.

Perfect for a light dinner, quick lunch and a hit with the kids.

What’s not to love about this beautiful meal?

Eggplant Thursday: Brinjal and Potato Fry.

This is a very simple meal with two of my favorite vegetables; Eggplant, also known as aubergine or brinjal, and Irish potatoes.

It is a flavorful vegetarian side dish that goes well with chapati or rice.

Let’s get started.

Take one large purple eggplant. Chop and sprinkle salt and set it aside for a while. The salt helps draw out the bitterness you may find in some eggplants. Just brush off the salt and squeeze out and discard the liquid collected before cooking.
Other ingredients are one sliced onion, one grated tomato, one large potato, peeled and chopped, one grated green pepper, one tbsp of tomato paste, one tbsp of curry powder, one tsp of black mustard seeds and salt and pepper. You will also need some cooking oil and some coriander for garnishing the dish.

Method.

Heat 2tbsp of vegetable oil in a pan. Once really hot, add the eggplant and sauté a bit.

Once eggplant is browned, set aside. Do the same with the potatoes.

If the oil is too much, remove and remain with a tbsp or so in the pan. Add your mustard seeds and once they start popping, add your sliced onion.

Sauté the onions till soft. Then add the grated capsicum.
Once the capsicum is a bit soft, add your curry power and reduce heat. Mix well to let the spice mix release its aroma and oils. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, as well as salt and pepper. Mix well and let simmer a while for the tomatoes to cook down into a thick sauce.
Add the potatoes.
Then add the eggplant. Mix all well.
Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes till the vegetables are cooked through. If too dry add a bit of water and mix well.
Once ready, check seasoning, add a squeeze of half a lemon and garnish with some coriander leaves.
The aroma and colors are lovely.
This is a really tasty dish that goes well with rice or chapati.

It is hearty, filling, quick to put together and full of flavour. The eggplant is not at all bitter and gives a meaty bite to the dish, the kids love it too and so will you.

Definitely worth a try!

Meatless Monday: One pot Lentils and Rice.

This dish is a basic easy to make but oh so tasty lentil pilau. It is also known as mujadara in some parts of the world.

It is a vegetarian and gluten free meal that works well for an quick evening meal and kid’s lunch box the next day. It is so simple to put together, tasty and inexpensive, perfect for a weeknight meal and since it is one pot, not much cleaning up after. Yay!

Ingredients are:-

  1. 3 large onions, sliced.
  2. 2 tbsp of birista. These are fried onions like the ones we use for biriani. I usually make a lot then freeze and use in various dishes or as a snack.
  3. 1 cup basmati rice.
  4. 2 cups parboiled brown lentils (masoor dal).
  5. salt and pepper to taste.
  6. 1 tbsp cooking oil.
  7. 1 small bunch of coriander.

Method.

Sort then boil your lentils until ready but still firm.

Next, slice your onions and heat your oil in a large saucepan that will be big enough for your dish.

Fry the onions until soft and caramelised then stir in the coriander stalks too.
Add the rice and mix well till all the grains are covered with the oil mixture, then add the lentils and your seasoning.
Add two cups of water, let the dish simmer till ready.

I use basmati rice and use a 1:2 ratio at all times; 1 cup of rice will require 2 cups of water, cover and let simmer till all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender but not mushy.

The onions give the dish a lovely flavour, colour and aroma.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and 1 tbsp of the birista and fold carefully before serving.

You can now serve it as it is on its own, or with a yogurt sauce on the side, or with a salad or any other accompaniment you wish.

However you serve it, do not forget to garnish with the rest of the fried onions. The crunch goes so well with the sweetness of the caramelised onions and the lentils and rice will have absorbed the flavours too.

We had it here with some beef balls in mushroom sauce.
Personally, I like it best like this, with the birista as a topping on the rice.

I love the differences in flavour of the onions that are nothing you would expect. The caramelized onions are sweet having released their sugars, and soft. And the fried ones are crispy with a deeper flavour, nothing like the tanginess we associate with red onion.

This is a simple but very tasty meal that is filling and healthy too. It is one of my favorite rice dishes to make and the kids love it too.

Try it and enjoy!

Delicious Green Banana Porridge.

I’ve been on a roll with green banana (matoke) recipes in recent days.

We grow green bananas back home too but they don’t taste as good as the ones here in Uganda. Wait, have I become biased? Just maybe.

Are they not beautiful?

I already have several green banana aka matoke recipes here on the blog so this is another tasty addition you can add to your breakfast recipe line up. This porridge is easy to make, delicious, healthy and filling.

Tip: Please ensure your bananas are still green and firm. We’re making porridge, not a smoothie 🤪

I’m really bad with quantities when it comes to porridge but this was enough for 4 hearty bowls.

Peel 3 large green bananas. Chop / slice them and put them in your blender.

Blend them with a cup of water…
They blend pretty easily. Then add to your sauce pan with some more water, but not too much.
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat. It thickens as it simmers so keep stirring so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom.

Add a cup of coconut milk/ cream as well as a cinnamon stick to enhance flavour. Let it simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Add water if it’s too thick and remember to keep a close eye and stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

When it’s ready, ladle into your bowl and garnish.

I garnished with chia, honey and a small dollop of peanut butter. It was so tasty the kids asked for seconds.

Try it and let me know how it turns out!

Spicy Pumpkin and Carrot Soup.

This is a hearty veggie laden and nutrient rich soup that’s bound to be a favorite once you try it.

It’s also very colorful which is right up my alley. What’s not to love about bright vitamin A rich pumpkin with its earthy flavors, carrots with their sweetness and colour, celery for its depth of flavor and onion and garlic for the culture? It’s filling enough for dinner, and delicious enough for second helpings.

My daughter loves pumpkin soup a bit too much, so I always have to think of different ways to spice it up a bit instead of the same ol’ way.

Ingredients are:- One pumpkin wedge (about three cups chopped).That is the one with green skin and orange flesh, NOT butternut. Nope. One big stalk of celery chopped, I chopped onion, four garlic cloves, one tsp coriander seeds, salt to taste, two chopped carrots, one large chopped potato, 1tablespoon sunflower oil and two teaspoons of good quality curry powder. Let’s get started:-

Heat your pan, add oil and toast the coriander seeds a bit before adding your onion.
Once onions have softened, add the garlic, cook a bit the add the carrots and celery.
As they continue cooking, add your curry powder and mix well. You can reduce heat so it doesn’t burn but let it cook well.
Add your pumpkin and potatoes, mix well and let cook a while before adding two cups of water. Bring to the boil and then let it all simmer till cooked through.

I didn’t use flavoured stock as I didn’t want to overpower the curried flavour, and the sweetness of the pumpkin and the carrots. As always, low and slow does it. If you can make this ahead and let it sit a while to deepen the flavours go ahead; the taste is worth it!

Once the veggies are done, blend to your preferred soup consistency. And serve.
Look at that velvety smooth goodness!!
I garnished with some roasted chickpeas, a dollop of coconut cream and coriander leaves. Yum!

Chick peas are a great addition to this nutrient rich soup as it adds it more vitamins, minerals, fibre and a crispy yummy flavour to the soup. I pan roasted them with some olive oil, paprika and garlic powder, till they were crunchy. So delicious and I may have just snacked on half the pan while still roasting them. Shhhh… don’t tell the kids. LOL.

This soup went down well with a delicious loaf whose recipe is coming soon, you better keep it locked right here.

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