Stewed Mung beans with Eggplant.

Mung bean, green gram, moong, pojo or as we call it in Swahili, ‘Ndengu’, is a legume that is rich in nutrients, easy to cook and versatile as it blends in well with many flavour bases. In an onion, tomato gravy, sautéed with greens, in coconut milk, as a filling for savory pancakes or vegetarian samosas, it holds its own quite well. They are mostly sold as dry cereals, but one can sprout them too for added health benefits.

I like it uncomplicated, just simmered in an onion, tomato sauce with a bit of curry powder; I will definitely have a second helping. Ndengu also goes well with starchy sides such as chapati, rice and even ugali.

This time round I opted to add in roasted then mashed eggplant, it thickens the sauce and also adds a hint of smokiness in the dish.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 cups of already boiled legumes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes and 1 green pepper (capsicum) grated
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp dhania jeera powder
  • 1 heaped tsp Kenyan curry powder
  • 1 large eggplant, roasted over open flame then mashed. You can also broil it for 20-30 minutes in the oven then peel and mash.
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric, or if you have whole, cut a small piece and crush with the ginger and garlic.

Method.

Heat your pan, add oil and the cumin seeds, once they release their aroma and begin sizzling in the oil, add your finely chopped onion. Mix well and let cook till it is soft and translucent.

Add the crushed ginger, garlic and turmeric paste and let cook off the raw smell, before adding in the spices.

Lower the heat and let the ground spices cook well for them to release their oil, aroma and flavour. You can add a tablespoon of water so they do not burn, then add the tomato paste.

This will be followed by your grated tomato and capsicum mix.

Cover and let them cook down till it’s a bit dry and the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Add in your mashed eggplant and some seasoning.

Once the eggplant in mixed in well, add the boiled ndengu / mung beans. Mix well before adding in the water or stock.

Simmer for 20-25 minutes on low till the stew is well flavoured, thick and cooked well enough.

Check your seasoning, garnish then serve.

I used the green part of some leftover spring onion to garnish.

A bowl of this is quite filling for a light lunch, for a heartier meal, you can have it with rice, ugali or chapati on the side.

We had it with some soft and delicious carrot and spring onion chapati.

Colourful, healthy, filling, easy to make and oh so tasty! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it.

Love,

Wanjoro.

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?

Delicious Vegetable Stew.

My daughter calls this Pesh’s red stew, after her Aunty who introduced this lovely dish to me. I had it when back home and craved it when we got back to Kampala, had to text her to send me the recipe. I had to use what I had on hand, but it was delicious all the same.

It is tasty, colorful, healthy, filling, meat free, gluten free and easy to make. What’s not to love about it?

It is full of colorful and healthy garden vegetables. Beetroot, carrot, zucchini, eggplant and chickpeas simmered together in a tomato and onion sauce. It’s finger licking good!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients are:-

  • 1 tsp cooking oil.
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 1 carrot, chopped.
  • 1 beetroot, peeled and chopped.
  • I green, I yellow and 1 red capsicum, chopped.
  • I bunch of coriander. Stalks and leaves separated and chopped.
  • 2 tomatoes.
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste.
  • 1 tsp, grated fresh turmeric.
  • Spices are a tsp of paprika, Kenyan curry powder salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 cup water or stock.
  • 1 medium eggplant and 1 medium courgette, both chopped and soaked in salty water. (This helps remove the bitterness in the eggplant and helps them maintain their shape and natural flavour when cooked, just remember to rinse and drain before adding to the saucepan).

Method.

Heat your sauce pan of choice, add the oil, once hot add the onion and coriander stalks, cook till soft.

Next add your garlic and ginger paste as well as the fresh turmeric. Mix well and let cook till they stop smelling raw, then add your spices. Ensure the spices cook well and do not burn, the tomatoes go on and cook till soft.

The carrot and beetroot go next, followed by the eggplant and courgette. You can cover and let them cook for a while after adding some salt and pepper.

Once they are cooked for about 7 minutes, add the bell pepper then the drained chickpeas, with your vegetable stock or water.

Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

When ready, garnish with coriander and serve hot with your starch of choice, though as with most meals, you can just have a bowl on its own.

We had ours with some roasted plantain and avocado slices, Yum!

Colourful, tasty, easy to make, healthy and doesn’t take too much time to cook; what’s not to love about this dish?

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?

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.