Eggplant Thursday: Chana Dal and Aubergine recipe.

This is a tasty dish that works well for a weeknight dinner or lunchbox meal for the kids.

You will need;

  • Chana dal (already boiled with whole spices, I used cloves, cinnamon, turmeric and bay leaf).
  • 1 onion, sliced.
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds.
  • Some garlic ginger paste, and some crushed coriander seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder.
  • 2 grated tomatoes.
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped.
  • I egg plant, chopped.
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 tsp garam masala.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coriander leaves and some fresh squeezed lemon for garnish.

Method.

Boil your chana dal with the whole spices until cooked but not mushy, set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan, add your mustard seeds, let pop then add the onions.

Once onions are soft, add the ginger garlic paste.

Add the eggplant then a bit of ground turmeric and the dhania jeera powder and mix well.

After cooking a few minutes add the grated tomatoes plus some salt. Let cook a while before adding the potatoes.

Once tomatoes are fully cooked, add some water about two cups and let simmer till potatoes are done.

Lastly, add the already boiled chana dal and the garam masala. Mix well and let the legumes heat through and get the flavour.

Check seasoning, add garnish and remove from heat.

Serve with chapati or rice.

I had mine with some tasty carrot and dhania chapati.

For the chapati, I kneaded the flour with the usual hot water and salt, as well as one grated carrot and 2 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves and a pinch of ground cumin that added a unique flavour to the flat bread.

They are so delicious and flaky you can have them on their own too or use them for a Ugandan Rolex, who’s recipe I have already shared here.

Try this stew and let me know what you think.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Red Cabbage Slaw.

Here is another simple side side recipe that goes well with grilled meats, wraps, plantain, roast potatoes and many more dishes.

I love red cabbage because of its colour, obviously, given my love for colourful food. But also because of its numerous health benefits. It has vitamins C, K, A, B6. Minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, zinc among others. It is colourful hence heavy on antioxidants that help protect our cells, helps fight inflammations and contains fibre too. Cabbage often gets a bad rap but once you know how to prepare it and the health benefits, it will make a worthy addition to your meals.

Red aka purple cabbage is great for your gut health.

The best thing about red cabbage is you can have it cooked as I did here as a stir fry, you can include it in your vegetable manchurian or raw like in this salad.

To get started, you will need:-

  • Half a red cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly.
  • 2 grated carrots.
  • 1 sliced onion.
  • Dressing is 1 tablespoon low fat mayo, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tsp mixed herbs and some lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

To begin, slice your onion and soak in warm salted water to reduce bitterness.

Red cabbage “bleeds” a lot and it may colour all the other vegetables. I read that sprinkling some vinegar helps so decided to try it in this recipe and it kinda worked.
In a bowl, mix the salad dressing ingredients and taste to ensure it is seasoned well and to your liking.
Add the carrot to the shredded cabbage.
Rinse and squeeze the onions dry and add to the bowl, then add the dressing and mix well.
Colourful, refreshing and tasty!
Had mine with some grilled plantain and baked chicken.

I like the crunch of the cabbage against the tang of the mustard and lemon coupled with the sweetness of the carrots and honey in the dressing. The dressing is just enough to coat the vegetables well without overpowering it. The sweetness of the plantains and the lemon marinade in the chicken match the salad well, a perfect burst of flavour in each bite. The kids love it and so do I.

How do you prepare your red cabbage? Please share any red cabbage recipes I can try out.

Love,

Wanjoro.

Instant Pot Kala Chana Curry.

One of the best things about having the instant pot is being able to boil dry cereals and legumes in a short period of time. No more setting aside a day to boil various legumes and pack them in the freezer for weeks or months, and woe unto you if you have no power for a day or so, and have to throw them out.

I have been trying out various recipes in the instant pot and I am happy with it. No instant pot? No worries. This simple chickpea curry can be made on the stovetop too.

Black chickpeas also known as “kala chana” are darker in colour and more meatier than the light coloured chickpeas, which makes them perfect for a filling vegetarian meal. They are rich in fibre, hence make you feel full for longer, and help prevent constipation. They are full of antioxidants, as well as folate and magnesium, low in fat and rich in iron among other benefits.

This simple dish can be had as a side or a main meal with rice or chapati along with a salad and other vegetables. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:-

  1. 1 1/2 cups soaked brown chickpeas
  2. I chopped onion
  3. 1 tbsp cooking oil
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  5. 1 chopped tomato and some tomato paste
  6. Spices: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1 tsp dhana jeera powder and garam masala
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. Chopped coriander leaves and freshly squeezed lemon juice to garnish.

Method.

Switch on your instant pot and select the Sauté function.
Once hot, add a tbsp of cooking oil, followed by the bay leaf and a teaspoon of cumin seeds, then add onion when the seeds begin to sputter.
Let the onion cook then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well and let cook a bit before adding the ground spices. Mix again and add a splash of water to deglaze the pot.
Add tomato paste and tomatoes. Let cook a while.
Add the drained chickpeas and mix well into the masala.
Check seasoning then add 2 cups of water. The chickpeas do not absorb that much water, so too much water will not do. Cover the pot and cancel sauté function.
Select the bean/ chilli program on the instant pot. I left the keep warm option on too. Let it cook and let the pressure release naturally when done. Do not rush it with a quick pressure release.

Once done, uncover the cooker and add your chopped coriander leaves, squeeze a half lemon over it and an additional little sprinkle of garam masala will not hurt. Let sit a bit then serve.

I had mine with rice and a slice of avocado on the side.
You can also have it with chapati.

This curry is perfect for weeknights when you do not want to spend too much time cooking. It is healthy, tasty and filling and you can serve with a salad or avocado slice for added nutrition and colour.

If making it on the stovetop just soak your chickpeas overnight, rinse, drain and boil them before making the curry.

Definitely worth a try, isn’t it?

Tasty Ugandan Rolex.

This Ugandan dish is the country’s most famous street food. A simple omelette wrapped in a chapati; it is tasty, filling and can be had any time of the day. This wildly popular food is not named after the “Rolex” watch, but a funny play of the phrase “rolled eggs”.

It is not hard to make, and the best part of making it for yourself is you can choose the vegetables and spices just the way you like them.

Disclaimer: The street vendors make it slightly differently, this is my abridged version.

Ingredients : Salt and pepper, eggs, shredded vegetables ( I used onion, coriander, tomato, green capsicum, carrot and cabbage), and some already cooked chapati.
Beat your eggs in a bowl together with the vegetables and pinch of salt and pepper.
Add oil in a pan, fry the egg mixture, let cook on one side and flip.
Place a warm chapati on top and press as the egg cooks on the other side.
Once cooked, flip them on a plate.
Roll them up, and voila, you have your rolled eggs, aka Rolex.
You can serve immediately, or wrap them up then put in a hotpot for later.
Yum!
You can serve them hot on their own with your drink of choice, or with some sweet potato fries like I did here.

This is a basic rolex recipe that one can switch up as per your preferences.

It is so delicious and filling, half a roll is more than enough for me.

Definitely worth a try!

Meatless Monday: Chapati Madondo.

This is a vegetarian dish that is very popular in East Africa. It is basically chapati and beans stewed in different ways. ‘Madondo’ is Kenyan slang for beans. Here in Uganda, a lot of people use ghee to prepare their beans. In Kenya, we like adding coconut milk or cream. Others like beans in a curry, or just an ordinary stew with added vegetables such as carrot, courgettes, capsicum and coriander.

It is cheap, tasty, healthy and filling, which makes it a favorite meal to make at home and a great lunch option at the food kiosks for the working class folks too.

I like beans as they are an inexpensive way to get in your protein, fibre, iron and anitoxidants just to name a few. They are versatile, you can cook them in so many ways and flavour as per your preference. My daughter loves baked beans in tomato sauce, I like them in a curry and my son likes them as a stew with chapati. This time round I added some peanut butter and I loved the added creaminess and nutty flavours.

Tip: If you find beans too gassy for you, try adding a small but whole piece of ginger the next time you boil them. Discard the ginger once you have boiled them. The ginger removes that gassy effect and also adds a lovely flavour to the beans.

Let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients: Already boiled beans, Chopped green capsicum, courgette, chopped onion, and chopped tomatoes as well as ginger garlic paste. Spices used were turmeric, paprika, curry powder and coriander powder.
Heat your sauce pan and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. I added some cumin seeds then onion. Once onion is softened, add the ginger garlic paste and coriander stalks, I threw in some leftover celery too.
Add your spices and mix well. Please let the spices cook so they can release their lovely flavours. You can always add a splash of water so they do not burn. Once the spices are done, add the tomatoes, lower heat and cover. Let the tomatoes cook down till oil leaves the sides of the saucepan.
Add your already boiled beans and mix them well. Also check on the salt at this point. Cover and let them cook on low for a while.

For the peanut sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter with a cup of water till it’s dissolved and add to the beans…

Mix well and cover. Let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

…Please keep the heat low as the sauce will thicken as it cooks and you don’t want it to burn.

Our beans in peanut sauce are ready! Look at how creamy and luscious it is. You can garnish this with dhania leaves and for extra decadence some fresh cream.

This dish is not complete without chapati as an accompaniment. I made these specific chapati even healthier by mixing in some pureed pumpkin leaves in the dough. They give a lovely tinge to the colour as well as added nutrients.

Yummy!

This was a different way to make the beans. I liked the outcome and the kids did too so I will definitely try it again.