Irio is a staple in my motherland, and is more or less the same as mukimo, which I have shared here and here. Irio means food in my mother tongue, and is used to refer to the mashed mix of maize, beans, potatoes and fig gourd leaves, which we call ‘kahūrūra. This is not to be confused with pumpkin leaves, though they are very similar. However you can replace them with pumpkin leaves if you can’t get the fig gourd leaves and they will work just as well.
This is a nutritious and filling meal to make, and you can have it on its own, or with an accompaniment of your choice. I like traditional food because you get to taste the authentic flavour of the different ingredients and benefit from the nutrients and it tastes just as our forefathers or rather mothers made it.
For the stir fried vegetables, I first caramelized the onions low and slow till they released their sugars, then increased heat and added the veggies to just let them cook a bit, before adding a splash of balsamic vinegar, then garnished with sesame seeds. Yum!!!
This is such a great veggie full meal that’s also perfect for #meatlessmondays too don’t you think?
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:-
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?
This is another mashed dish also known as ‘Irio’ in my mother tongue. ‘Minji’ is what we call green peas. Mūkimo is a central Kenyan traditional dish that’s a mash of boiled potatoes, pumpkin leaves, maize, and either beans or peas. It is a delicious, filling and comforting meal that just reminds me of my childhood. I have tried to be as authentic as possible making it; hope I make my Mother proud.
Let’s get started.
Peel and clean your potatoes. Set aside. Now prepare the pumpkin leaves by removing the stalks and ‘webbing’ on the leaves. Clean them well, chop roughly and boil for 5 -7minutes. Drain and set aside.
You can blend or use a food processor to puree the pumpkin leaves if you want.
Now mash them all together until it’s a soft mash.
Cover the mash and keep hot as you sauté your vegetable accompaniments.
Increase the heat and add all the veggies. Mix well.
Let them cook on high heat till they soften a bit but don’t overcook. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and switch off the heat.
The best thing about this dish is you can have it with any accompaniment you choose. It kicks well with a nice beef stew, chicken stew or stir fried vegetables if you don’t want any meat.
It’s also quite healthy. Pumpkin leaves are very nutritious; they are rich in essential vitamins, iron and fiber. Just don’t over cook them. The sautéed vegetables are all rich in antioxidants and vitamins too. This is a great vegetarian meal too when you omit the bacon.
This is basically mashed pigeon peas. We call pigeon peas ‘mbaazi’ and can eat them as fresh peas or dried, but you have to soak overnight. I like the dried ones better. Pigeon peas are a great source of protein and rich in minerals too.
You can have this dish with a hearty stew, a vegetable side or plain. It is quite filling and is on my list of comfort foods that bring back fond memories of home.
Let’s get started.
Let us get started on our stew. We had this with an easy beef stew with roasted garden vegetables.
Add your tomatoes, lower heat and cover and let cook till tomatoes are soft.
Heat your oven to 200degrees C, toss your chopped eggplant and courgette in some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.