Maleewa: Ugandan smoked bamboo shoots native to the Bugisu region in Uganda. A detailed video showing you how to prepare this delicacy as stew.
Maleewa. This lesser known but essential food is a staple in eastern Uganda among the Bugisu region. The bamboo trees that grow around Mountain Elgon are harvested when still tender. They are then smoked and dried for preservation. Maleewa is believed to aid in longevity and people who eat it live longer because of its nutritious value. Because of this belief, it is served to every special visitor as a sign of respect and love and on special occasion such as weddings. Maleewa is usually cooked with either groundnut paste or simsim (sesame) paste. Preparing maleewa is not hard although the process is detailed. In order to make it easier to understand the process of preparing maleewa for cooking, I made this video below.
What you will need:
Maleewa shoots (about 2-3)
Groundnut paste (about half a cup)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda/ Rock salt
1 Tsp. Curry powder
1/2 Tsp. Black pepper (optional)
- Washing the maleewa till the water is clear removes the extra smokiness that may cause it to become bitter.
- Do not discard the hard parts/nodes of the bamboo. Instead use them alongside other vegetables to make vegetable stock. They add a unique smoky flavor.
- Depending on the size of the maleewa, one shoot can yield about a cup of chopped maleewa to cook with.
- Since groundnut stew is sensitive, it is minimally flavored. I only used curry powder, salt and pepper. You can flavor it however you want.
- Add water in a large bowl/ pot. Add the baking soda/ rock salt. submerge your dried smoked maleewa and let it soak for about 3 hours. It can soak over night as well.
- After 3 hours, remove the maleewa from the soda water. Wash the maleewa gently until the water is clear. This can take up to 4 washes. Once the water is clear, drain the maleewa.
- Cut the soft parts of the maleewa while skipping the hard nodes. Slice the maleewa however you want to and set a side.
- Prepare your groundnut paste for cooking. Watch this video to see how it is made.
- Once the groundnut stew starts to simmer, add the maleewa, curry powder, salt and black pepper and stir well. Let the stew simmer until it has reduced down to a thick richness.
- Remove from fire and serve with your favorite starch.
Have you ever had maleewa before? If yes, what was your experience. Leave a comment below.
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