Bulgur Porridge

It is still mango season so expect mangoes in every possible form! While in Uganda, I struggled to find bulgur (cracked whole wheat grains) and whole wheat itself. I would get it once in a year from generous family friends in my home village who grow it small-scale for home consumption. I have always wondered why we don’t produce more wheat as a nation especially since we rely on wheat flour for most of our daily meals. Take mandazi, chapati and daddies for instance. These are foods we eat on a daily basis! Because it isn’t ‘chai mukalu’ with an equally flaky and chewy chindazi! So you can imagine my excitement when I found out Bulgar is sold in most food stores here in Jamaica at a relatively low-cost (a little over a US Dollar). And because I am still in bulguar heaven, I am sharing with you another dish that you can make with it. This dish is actually popular and it is how bulguar is mostly eaten in Jamaica. This is my simplified take on the porridge but you can definitely play with your spices (like cinnamon, cloves, etc) and variations of milk to get your desired porridge.  When soaked and boiled to perfection with some milk, it brings back memories of oatmeal. And to make it a tad more colorful, I added sliced mangoes, Otaheite apple jam ( Which is a blog post for another day), raisins and crunchy nuts. This porridge doesn’t need sugar since all the toppings are generously sweetened.

What you will need:

1 C. Bulgur

2 C. Warm water

1 C. Warm water

3 Tbsp. Coconut milk powder

1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg

Toppings:

3 Mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 C. Nuts

1/2 C. Raisins

Otaheite apple jam

Here is a short video to give you an idea on how the porridge is made

Method

  1. Add the bulgur in a clean pan. Add the two cups of water and let it soak for an hour.
  2. After soaking, add the remaining water and nutmeg and cook the porridge on medium fire. Let it cook for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the milk powder 5 minutes before removing the porridge. Remove from fire.

Toppings

  1. Dish the porridge in three bowls and top with the mango, nuts raisins and a tablespoon of the jam. Enjoy!

How do you like your bulgur?

Find the previous bulgur recipe here

 

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Lemongrass Mango Iced Tea

Happy New month. I am yet to get to terms with how fast this year is going. But then I realize, this happens every year. Oh well! How is June treating you so far? The rain has stopped and now the sun shines in its full glory. I am not complaining at all because I know that May-July are mango months. Yes the mangoes are all ready for harvesting. That is if you haven’t already gotten your fill of the raw ones and possibly made this jam. Last week, we got invited by a dear friend, who has a mango farm(!!), to harvest mangoes. I have been eating mangoes non stop for over a week now! My kitchen has been filled with epic mango experiments. Half of which failed miserably (the life of a recipe developer I tell you!). And in the next few weeks, you will be seeing a lot of mango content here! I have made mango jam, sorbet, juice, muffins, basically mango everything! If you have some suggestions on what you would like me to make with the mangoes, leave a comment below.

Now, lets us talk about this iced tea. First of all, it is made with jam. Mango jam. I found myself jamming a pan full of mangoes and aside from eating it with bread, I thought it would make a great addition to iced tea. Secondly, the base is lemon grass tea. Unconventional I know but that is what this blog is about. The iced tea is fragrant from the mango jam which has a hint of cloves and the lemongrass tea which is obtained from boiling lemongrass leaves.  It is quite easy to put together as long as you have jam and lemongrass near, you are sorted this summer! I always have a pitcher in the fridge so that any time I need to cool down, I just pour myself some.

What you will need:

2 Tbsp. Mango Jam

5 C. Lemongrass tea

Ice cubes

Juice of 1 lemon

1 C. Mango, thinly sliced

Mint

Observations:

  1. This is assuming that you have a lot of mangoes. The jam was made with a pan full of mango puree (which is about 3 liters!) to which I added 3 cups of sugar and a teaspoon of whole cloves and let it boil then simmer till it reduced up to almost 1/4th the original puree. Your jam should change from a bright yellow to a deep mustard yellow.
  2. I made the mango jam with local ( non GMO) mangoes. These mangoes have a lot of fiber in them. The sieving process helps eliminate all those stringy fibers so that you can have a smooth iced tea.
  3. If you notice, I have not included any sugar. This is because the jam is very sweet and will sweeten the 5 cups of the lemongrass tea. But if you would like to add more sugar, you are free to do so.

Method:

  1. To make the lemongrass iced tea, you will need a handful of lemongrass (thoroughly washed) and  4-5 cups water. Pour the water in a clean pan. Add in the lemongrass and bring to a boil. Once the teas has come to a boil, remove from fire and set aside to cool.
  2. Once the tea has completely cooled down, using a sieve, sieve two tablespoons of the mango jam into the lemongrass tea. Stir well. Chill the tea till its time to serve.
  3. When its time to serve, fill your glasses with ice. Add mango slices and pour the iced tea. Squeeze in some lemon juice and finish off with mint as garnish.
  4. Serve!

 

Green Bean Jamaican Patties

Today I have some wonderful news to share with you all. I moved to Jamaica. It’s surreal! The people (that I have met so far!) are wonderful and welcoming. I am telling you this because some of you have been there from the birth of this blog and most of you have joined the family over time. I am truly grateful for you. Currently I am enjoying all the local and exotic (to me) food of Jamaica and I will be sharing my experiences with you over time. If you want to see interesting behind the scenes ( trips, cooking demos, fun discoveries, and everything else) follow me on Instagram (@akitcheninuganda). Also you can join the community monthly newsletter (Link is in the sidebar of this blog) so that you can get first hand information from me.

I love cooking with fresh produce and whenever I can find it, I don’t take it lightly.  These past few weeks we have been blessed with rain. A. LOT. OF. RAIN! We have been harvesting a lot of green vegetables. Yes I am in vegetable bliss!   One of the foods I have been able to make are these Jamaican patties. Patty is a Jamaican food that is similar to empanadas or hand pies. It usually has a juicy meaty filling and a flaky pastry shell. Because I had harvested a lot of green beans, we made patties. The patties are vegetarian because half of the filling is finely diced green beans and the other half is dehydrated minced soy meat. If you are not vegetarian, you can substitute the soy meat with ground meat.

What you will need:

Filling

2 C. Green beans, finely diced

1 C, Ground meat

1/2 C. Carrot, finely diced

1 Large onion, finely chopped

1 Tsp. Garlic, finely chopped

2 Tsp. Ginger, grated

1 Tsp. Soy sauce

Black pepper

Salt

 

Pastry

2 C. Baking flour

8 Tbsp. Butter/Margarine

1/2 C. Water

Oil for frying

 

Method

Pastry:

In a dish, combine flour with butter/margarine. Keep mixing until the mixture becomes crumbly. Next, add water. A tablespoon at a time while mixing until you form a firm dough. Knead for 30 seconds till the dough becomes smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Filling:

Place pan on high heat. Add oil. Add garlic and ginger and let it release an aroma. Add the onions and let them cook till translucent. Add the green beans and let then cook till they turn a bright green color. Next add the ground meat and carrots. stir well to let the flavors incorporate. Add salt pepper and soy sauce. Let the filling cook on low fire for about 10 minutes. Remove from fire and set aside to cool.

Assembling the patties:

Get the dough and divide it into 12 small balls.Roll out each ball till a thin circle is formed. Using a spoon, fill half of the circle with the filling. Cover the remaining half of the dough on top of the filling and twist (crimping) both edges shut to avoid the filling from spilling out. Repeat process till all the pastry circles are done.

Frying:

Place pan on high heat. Add enough oil to submerge the patties. Wait for the oil to get hot. Add your patties and let then fry till golden brown. This will take up to 30 seconds for each patty.Remove the patties from the oil and drain them on either paper towels or a newspaper. Serve warm.

Tell me, Have you tried making patties before? You can try these cheesy samosas that I made before which use the same pastry recipe as the patties.

Also what would you like to see me make from Jamaica? Comment your suggestions below.