Creamy Mushroom and Chickpea curry.

Here is a another simple but flavourful recipe that’s colourful, tasty and filling.

It’s decadently creamy. Looks, tastes and smells so good.

Ingredients.

• 1/2 cup of whole cashew nuts, soaked in 1 cup water for a couple of hours.

• 2 -3 tbsp coconut oil.

• Whole spices:1 tsp whole cumin seeds, one bay leaf, one cinnamon stick, 5 cardamom pods and 4 whole cloves.

• I large onion, chopped.

• 1 tbsp paste of crushed ginger, garlic and turmeric.

• 1 tbsp tomato paste.

• 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.

• 1 tsp Garam Masala.

• 1 tsp paprika.

• 1 tsp ground mixed spices blend.

• 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped.

• Mixed vegetables: chopped bell pepper, one small eggplant, one courgette.

• I small pack oyster mushrooms.

• 1 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

• Salt and pepper to taste.

Method.

• Heat your sauce pan and add the coconut oil, followed by the whole spices. Let them release aroma and once the cumin seeds start sputtering, add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and let it cook till soft and translucent.

• Add the ginger garlic paste next and mix well so it doesn’t burn. Then add the tomato paste and the ground spices. Lower heat and let the spices release their oils and flavour, then in go the tomatoes.

• This will be followed by the mixed vegetables. Mix well then cover and let them cook down in their own liquid.

• As the vegetables cook, drain and rinse your chickpeas if you had not done so already. And also blend the soaked cashews in your food processor or blender to a smooth paste.

• Once the veggies are cooked a bit and reduced, mix in the chickpeas. Remember to check seasoning as you go.

• Add the cashew cream, cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

• It will thicken the sauce and give it a creamy texture.

• Once ready, garnish with coriander and let sit a while before serving.

This curry goes well on its own, you can add some broth or water as it simmers and have it with a dinner roll.

It also goes well with rice, naan and even chapati.

Enjoy the colour, aroma and taste as it all comes together.

This is a restaurant quality curry when it comes to flavour, it packs a punch but not too spicy. Take your time to let the spices cook well and the vegetables cook down to release all their delicious flavor. It doesn’t take long to cook, but do not rush it.

Try it and let me know how yours came out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Sautéed Cabbage and Amaranth leaves.

One of the things that’s easy to take for granted in this part of the world, is having access to fresh green vegetables all year round.

If one has space to grow their own, even better. If you do not and have to buy, it is ok as they are not only inexpensive, but come in many different varieties to please different palates.

Amaranth leaves are more commonly known in Uganda as “Dodo” and in Kenya as “terere” or “mchicha.” It is on rotation in our meals a lot. It is rich in vitamins, easy to digest, low in calories and is a great immunity booster.

In this simple recipe, I used red amaranth leaves which are also rich in antioxidants, and gave the veggie mix a bright red color. Green amaranth leaves can work just as well too, minus the red colour obviously.

Let us get started:-

Ingredients.

⁃ Half a head of cabbage, chopped.

⁃ I small bunch of amaranth leaves. I used red but green can work well too.

⁃ 2tbsp ghee.

⁃ 1 tsp mustard seeds.

⁃ 1 large onion, sliced.

⁃ 1 tsp of crushed ginger and garlic.

⁃ 2 tomatoes, chopped.

⁃ 1 tsp dhania jeera powder.

⁃ 1/4 tsp ground turmeric.

⁃ Sliced bell pepper (optional).

⁃ Salt and pepper to taste.

Our spice mix for this dish.

⁃ A pinch of garam masala.

⁃ 1 small lemon halved.

Method.

⁃ Clean and chop all vegetables.

⁃ Heat pan, add ghee and mustard seeds. Once they sizzle a bit, add the onion and let cook till it is soft and translucent.

⁃ Add the ginger garlic paste and mix in well.

Once it’s cooked a bit add the tomatoes and cumin / coriander powder as well as some salt and pepper.

⁃ Let the tomatoes cook down then add the veggies.

Mix well and let cook for not more than ten minutes. You don’t want to overcook them. Leave uncovered.

They will shrink and wilt a bit. Don’t over cook them though. The cabbage is great when it still has a bit of crunch.

⁃ Check your seasoning and add the garam and squeeze half a lemon over the veggies.

The red amaranth leaves’ colour will give the dish a nice reddish, pinkish hue.

Serve hot with rice, ugali or chapati. It’s a perfect side dish but also yummy and healthy enough on its own.

Definitely worth a try don’t you think?

Try and let me know how yours turned out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Simple Vegetable Curry.

This is a simple vegetable curry that is full of flavour, filled with lots of healthy vegetables and comes together quite easily.

You can use any vegetables you have on hand. So feel free to mix and match as per your favourites.

I like this curry powder and this is the mixd spice blend I used this time round.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 2-3 tbsp of coconut oil. You can use ghee too if you wish.
  • 1 large chopped onion.
  • 1 tsp cumin and mustard seeds, and 1 bay leaf.
  • 2 tsps garlic ginger paste.
  • 1 tsp grated whole turmeric.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 juicy tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 1tsp mixed spice blend.
  • 2 heaped tsps Kenyan curry powder.
  • 1 tsp garam masala.
  • 1 cup already boiled chana dal.
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 eggplant and I courgette, chopped and soaked in salty water.
  • 1 cup chopped green /French beans.
  • 1 small bunch coriander, separate the stems and leaves.
  • 1 cup, bell pepper, You can use any colour or all colours.
  • 1 can of coconut milk.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Tips:

*Boil your chana dal in a pinch of turmeric, 1 bayleaf, 3-4 cloves, and a cinnamon stick. It adds flavour and extra colour to the lentils.

Remember to skim off the foam as the lentils boil. Do not forget to discard the whole spices once boiled, drained and cooled.

Tip 2. *Soaking the eggplant and courgette (zucchini) in salted water lets them retain their shape and flavour once you cook them. Remember to drain and rinse before adding to the pan so the meal is not too salty.

Method.

Heat oil in your saucepan and add the cumin and mustard seeds.

Add onion, let cook till soft then follow with the turmeric and ginger garlic paste.

Add in the mixed spice and curry powder and let cook down a bit but make sure it doesn’t burn…

…then add the tomatoes, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Cover and let cook down till tomatoes are mushy and oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Drain the soaked vegetables and add to the pan. Mix well and let cook a bit covered on low heat.The veggies will all release their liquid and absorb the spices’ flavour.

Once the vegetables are cooked a bit, add the coconut milk and garam masala as well as a small pinch of sugar. A teeny weeny pinch.

Cover and continue cooking on low for about 20 minutes.

Once done, give a final stir and check seasoning and if the veggies are cooked to your liking.

Garnish with the chopped dhania leaves then serve.

This dish goes well with some steamed rice or chapati.

We had ours with some butter naan and ndengu rice.

The curry is colourful, flavourful, filling and healthy. Definitely worth a try.

A great family meal to add to one’s repertoire.

Love,

Wanjoro.

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?

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.