Leo’s Banana Bread.

My son loves bananas. If there is one fruit that this household can never get enough of, it is this.

He likes helping me out a lot in the kitchen too and has a keen interest in how food comes together. I was therefore not too surprised when he asked to be taught how to bake banana bread.

He can fry up a mean egg. Helps in shopping (safely), stirring and cleaning up; he is my little sous chef and I am always happy to have the extra help.

So here is his banana bread Version. We used self raising flour, grated chocolate, coconut oil and love. Lots of love to make this heavenly coconut scented banana and chocolate loaf.

It is moist, fluffy, aromatic and so delish!

To make it you will need:-

  • 11/2 cups self raising flour.
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil.
  • 1-1/2 cups of really ripe mashed banana.
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured yoghurt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate.

Method.

1.Mix the bananas, oil, egg, sugar and yoghurt together. Add in the vanilla and ground cinammon, then the flour. Fold in the chocolate last.

2. Pour into a greased or parchment lined loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes.

3. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove onto a rack to cool, and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.

The cake is moist, aromatic and so delicious, but not too sweet.

Perfect on its own, with some tea or hot chocolate, with some custard or vanilla ice cream.

It keeps well in a covered dish for a couple of days on the countertop, that is if you still have some leftover, which I doubt will happen.

Mmmh! looking at this image makes me crave it!

Homemade Potato Bhajia.

Potato Bhajia are a favorite snack in Kenya. Thinly sliced potatoes dipped in a spicy gram flour batter then deep fried till a bit crispy and golden ; Total potato perfection!

If you’ve lived in Nairobi, visiting the food court at Diamond Plaza is a must to sample the world famous “Maru Bhajia” from the stall by the same name. That is the only place whose bhajia I have faith in.

I am sure many of us who love their bhajias have tried to replicate it at home but can never quite get the exact taste. 😂

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try though right?

Let us get started.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 1 kg white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Oil to deep fry them in.
  • 1/4 tsp ground tumeric.
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 cup of besan (chickpea aka gram or garam flour).
  • 1 heaped tablespoon rice flour
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped coriander.
  • A pinch of fenugreek leaves – optional.
  • small pinch of baking soda.

Method.

Peel, clean and slice your potatoes into thin rounds.

Soak them in salty waters for 15 minutes then drain.

In a a large bowl, add the potato slices, all the ground spices and herbs except the baking soda.

Add the flours and mix well.

Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes, please do not add any water.

The potatoes will release their own water and the slices will get enough batter all round.

Heat your oil.

Add the baking soda just before frying. I got this tip from Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun blog.

Deep fry the potato slices on medium heat until cooked through, and turn golden.

To avoid them clumping together, add the slices to the oil individually.

Once ready, drain on kitchen towel to remove extra grease then serve with ketchup, chutney or chilli sauce.

They are a great snack to make as well as a fun weekend dinner with some roasted chicken or grilled meat and salads on the side.

They are crispy but fluffy inside, well cooked, well seasoned, delicious and you cannot get enough of them!

How do you like your potato bhajia?

Sautéed Sukuma Wiki with Bacon.

Sukuma wiki aka collard greens are quite popular in East Africa. It is mostly had with ugali (steamed cornmeal) and fried with onions, tomatoes and spices of choice. It is also a great side dish for meat dishes.

As it is easily available and cheap, it can get boring fast, so one has to look for ways to spice it up. Like we did here with bacon.

You can also mix it up with Swiss chard, cowpea leaves or amaranth greens.

This is quick side dish that is easy to make and so delicious. If one can get younger, tender sukuma greens it is even better as they cook fast and are tastier than the big leafed mature ones.

For this recipe we will need:-

  • 3-4 strips of bacon. I used collar bacon, it is very flavourful, not too fatty and does not dry out when cooked. Making it perfect for this dish.
  • 1 chopped onion.
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped.
  • 1 large tomato and 1 green bell pepper (grated).
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil.
  • A small pinch of sugar (optional).
  • 1/2 tsp paprika.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 bunch of tender sukuma wiki (collard greens).
  • Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon.

Let’s get started.

Chop your bacon up and add to a heated pan for it to render its fat.

It is not very fatty and doesn’t get too crispy. Cook for about 4-6 minutes on medium heat then set aside.

Add oil to the same pan, followed by the onion and garlic.

Once softened, add the grated tomato and bell pepper mix, as well as the paprika, and sugar, if using. Cover and let cook down till its a thick sauce.

Do not forget your seasoning.

Once tomatoes have cooked down, add the greens and increase heat. Let them cook for about 8 minutes till tender. They will shrink down fast, so keep that in mind when seasoning.

Once greens are cooked, add in the bacon you had set aside and mix it in well.

Last goes the squeeze of lemon and turn off the heat.

Let it rest a short while before serving, so the flavours can meld in well.

(You can add in cayenne or hot pepper if no kids will eat it).

This is a great side dish for ugali, mashed potatoes or chapati.

We had ours with these green banana cutlets whose recipe I shared last week here.

It is tasty, easy to make, colourful and smells so good!

Please try it and let me know how it turned out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Chai Masala Pancakes.

Pancakes are one of my family’s favourites. For breakfast, for brunch, as a snack for school or for tea, I cannot stay too long without making them in our home. I usually flavour them depending on mood, what the kids want and what I have on hand.

These are simple pancakes to make, this time I used chai masala to flavour them. Just a little bit goes a long way.

They are so tasty and smell so good. OMG.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self raising flour.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 1 heaped tsp of good quality tea masala. You can use store bought or make your own.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp icing sugar. (you can use regular sugar too, or honey).
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp almond essence, (you can use vanilla too).

Method.

Sift your flour into a bowl, add the tea masala, sugar and mix well.

Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and some water to make into a smooth batter.

Add the oil and almond essence next and after mixing let the batter sit a while.

Make your pancakes the regular way.

When you see the bubbles, it is time to flip.

They smell so good at this point, it is tempting to taste one. Go ahead, cut a piece. 🙂

Behold my leaning tower of pancakes. LOL.

Serve hot with a drizzle of honey and a pat of butter on top. Yum!

PS: I do not add oil when cooking as the batter already has oil mixed in.

Dig in and enjoy.

Tasty, filling and easy to make. Pancakes are never boring.

Curried Black Beans in Coconut Cream.

The title is a mouthful I know, but the title had to convey what the meal is about. Curried, rich, colourful and each spoonful is flavour filled and creamy and decadent and oh so tasty.

Black beans are a wonderful source of fibre, antioxidants and are said to be great in lowering blood sugar, among other numerous benefits.

To add to the meal’s colour, taste and flavor, I added bell peppers, grated carrots and celery.

Let’s get started. You shall need:-

  • I large onion, diced.
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped.
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, crushed with some grated turmeric and a few coriander seeds.
  • 1 large grated carrot.
  • Chopped assorted bell pepper (green, red and yellow)
  • I bunch of fresh coriander, separate the stalks, leaves and chop all finely.
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped.
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil.
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • 2 tsp ground garam masala.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • 1-1/2 cups of coconut cream
  • 2 cups already boiled black beans
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method.

Heat your pan and add the coconut oil, then the cumin seeds and let them sputter.

Add the onion, chopped coriander stalks and celery.

Let cook till onion is translucent, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric mix.

Next go in your tomato paste and let cook for a while before adding the tomatoes, some salt as well as the spices.

Cover and let cook till the tomatoes are soft, spices well incorporated, then add the carrots and bell peppers. Mix well.

Once the vegetables are cooked for a short while, add the black beans and mix well till they are well coated with the spicy vegetable mix. If too dry you can add just a splash or two of water. Check your seasoning too.

Lower heat then add the coconut cream. Cover and let it simmer through for about 10-15 minutes, then add the crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi).

Let it cook on low for a few more minutes. Switch off heat and add the chopped coriander leaves for garnish.

This meal is hearty enough on it’s own, but if you want to you can have it with some avocado on the side, or with some tasty pumpkin and coconut chapati whose recipe I shared recently.

Dig in and enjoy.

PS: As with all curries, it will taste much better the next day. That is, if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.

Colourful, tasty, healthy and easy to make. What’s not to like about this dish?