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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Matoke and Groundnut Sauce.

This is a Ugandan staple. Green bananas grow in abundance here and are well loved by the populace. Matooke or matoke as it’s called by Ugandans is the traditional staple for the Buganda kingdom. You can search for videos on YouTube to see how they make perfectly steamed matoke and use the whole banana while at it. I find it so amazing.

If you visit someone from Baganda, you will definitely be served matooke and groundnut sauce alongside other dishes, but the steamed bananas and the purplish tasty sauce made of ground up peanuts HAS to feature.

This is one filling and healthy meal that brings out the real authentic flavour of the green bananas and the groundnuts. It has no added oil or spices, though you may add some if you so wish.

Side note: I’ve noticed peanuts are called groundnuts here. And ground nut sauce (gnut) is not the same as peanut butter/ sauce. Peanut butter is made from already roasted groundnuts, but the gnut sauce is from raw unpeeled groundnuts.

You can choose to grind the nuts yourself or buy the paste then cook it. The cooked sauce is then referred to as ‘Binyebwa’.

Ingredients: I bunch of matoke, two eggplants, one onion, garlic and two tomatoes.

Tip: To avoid the sticky sap that comes from peeling green bananas, peeling them under running water really helps. No blackened hands and knife. 🤗

Peel and clean your matoke and steam. If you don’t have a steamer you can boil, drain, and let the steam evaporate a bit before mashing. I only added salt and pinch of white pepper.
Once ready. Mash your green bananas to a smooth mash and keep hot till ready to serve.

For the binyebwa aka groundnut sauce, I only added salt as I like it as it is with no added spices.

Ground groundnuts. For one cup of the powder/ paste I used about 3 cups of water.
In a non stick sauce pan, add your paste and the water. Let it boil then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes
The sauce will begin thicken and darken as it cooks. Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn /stick at the bottom and also to avoid it getting lumpy.

If it’s too thick for your liking, you can add hot water. Also remember to season it. And let it cook completely. You will know it’s cooked when oil forms on top and it really darkens in color.

The sauce gets a brighter / deeper colour if the peanuts are unpeeled. If peeled. It’s lighter.

Once ready, serve the matoke with the sauce as it is or with any preferred accompaniment.

Steamed matoke and gnut sauce.

I served with baked garden vegetables, (courgette, eggplant, tomato, onions and garlic).

I drizzled the vegetables with some olive oil. Seasoned with salt and pepper and baked for 30 -40 minutes in a 200°C oven.
Final plate: Ugandan style matoke, gnut sauce and garden vegetables.

A tasty and filling veggie laden meal that’s perfect for meatless Monday don’t you think?

I have loads more recipes coming up using this versatile green banana. Subscribe to the blog so you do not miss out, and also check out this other tasty matoke recipes already up, such as my bake n fry matoke, my perfectly stewed matoke and my MIL’s Mix and Mash.

Thank you for your continued support, I really appreciate it!

Tea time Snack- Besan Chilla

Besan chilla is a savory Indian pancake that’s also a lovely tea time snack that’s kid friendly and easy to make.

Besan is also known as Chickpea flour. I use it when making maru bhajia, pancakes, as a thickener and even as a face scrub. I’ll post on that another time. ☺️

Let’s get started.

Assemble about a 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion,tomato, coriander and a small piece of ginger.
In a bowl, add two cups of gram flour, salt and black pepper, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder, 1tsp of cumin seeds and 1/4 tsp of red chili powder.

Add the chopped vegetables and some water till it becomes a smooth lump free batter.

Heat a pan on medium low heat and a little bit of vegetable oil. Ladle the batter and spread carefully once the pan is heated well and let cook till it looks like this below.

You can put a tsp or so of oil around the edges then flip carefully to cook the other side.

It’s now ready. Remove from heat and keep in a hotpot as it should be served warm or hot.

Doesn’t it look lovely? I like the golden color of the flour which is intensified by the turmeric.
You can serve with your chutney of choice.
I had mine with a tomato coriander chutney and some masala chai. Delicious!!

This made ten savoury pancakes (about 5 inch diameter) and they did not last thirty minutes in my household; everybody loved them. If you want a different kind of snack to keep you and the kids sated for a while, try this out.