Easy to make Lemongrass flavoured Uganda Bagiya

Lemongrass Maize Bagiya-2

I have, for the longest time, wondered whether dessert or anything baked/fried can be made from maize flour alone with out adding any other flour like wheat. And my recipes with maize flour on its own have failed because maize flour does not have gluten to bind it when water is added. This little triumphant experiment started out as me wanting to make churros because they seem extremely easy to make and ended up into these sweet bagiya because I have no other name for them really. Also because the sweet aroma of lemon grass is irresistible. I borrowed the churro making method but instead used plain maize flour.  These sweet bagiyas are a fun and useful way to utilize your maize flour and they make a great easy to make snack. I could not stop munching away at these.

What you will need:

1 C. Maize flour

1 C. Water

1 Tbsp. Butter/margarine

1 egg

3 Tbsp. Sugar

A handful of lemon grass leaves

½ Tsp. Vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

Oil for frying

Observation:

  1. If you are using a plastic, like I did, cut a small hole at the corner of the plastic and pipe your batter into the hot oil.
  2. If you are using a piping gun, select a nozzle with the tiniest hole and attach it to the gun.
  3. Wait for the mixture to cool down before adding the egg so that the egg does not cook.
  4. Make sure the heat is medium because maize flour burns easily.
  5. Do not over crowd the pan.

Lemongrass Maize Bagiya-5

Method:

  1. Add water to a saucepan and add the lemon grass.
  2. On high heat, bring the water to a boil.
  3. In a bowl, add maize flour, sugar and salt and mix.
  4. Once the water has boiled and has released a sweet fragrant aroma, remove from fire and sieve the lemongrass leaves.
  5. Pour the hot water immediately into the flour mixture and mix until there is no flour visible.
  6. Add the vanilla and butter and mix well.
  7. Set the mixture aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. After the ‘posho’ has cooled down, add the egg and mix till a clear batter is achieved.
  9. Place your batter in a plastic/Piping gun and pipe into hot oil.
  10. Fry the bagiya till golden brown.
  11. Remove the bagiya from the oil and drain.

Lemongrass Maize Bagiya-4

 

Let them cool then snack away!

Gingered Fresh Bean Pasta with Bitter Berries (katunkuma)

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I am a pasta lover and i will eat anything that is called pasta.About a week back, I was strolling through Kampala and passed by women selling fresh beans for 1000 Ugx a cup. I thought to myself, that is a good bargain! So I bought a cup and guess what I made with it? And…you are right! I cooked the beans in the pasta…err…the pasta in the fresh beans. Who doesn’t love the that beautiful savory filling taste of fresh beans. Without adding too much seasoning, I decided to cook the pasta in the bean soup, added in some fresh ginger, a handful of bitter berries (katunkuma/butakala) for a bitter kick, and garnished it with coriander.

Did I mention it is a one-pot meal too? If washing dishes is not your favorite thing to do, this is for you.

What you will need:

1 C. Fresh beans

250gm. Pasta noodles

A handful of bitter berries (katunkuma/butakala)

3 Small red onions, chopped

½ Tbsp. Ginger grated

1 Carrot, grated

A handful of fresh coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

beanpasta-5

Observations:

  1. If you want your dish soupy, add more water
  2. While the beans boil, the water may reduce. Keep adding water to retain the aromatic soup
  3. Adding bitter berries later prevents them from overcooking.

Method

  1. Wash fresh beans and place them in a saucepan.
  2. Add enough water to cover the beans by two inches.
  3. Place pan on high heat. Let the beans boil.
  4. When the beans start turning a grey color, add the ginger, onions, carrot and salt.
  5. Cover pan and let the beans continue cooking.
  6. Once the beans start releasing an inviting aroma (trust me, you will know) and have softened, add the pasta and bitter berries and let the pasta cook.
  7. Keep stirring so the noodles don’t clump together.
  8. When the pasta is cooked, add the black pepper and coriander and remove from fire.
  9. Serve this refreshing, simple, and easy dish hot.

In case you are wondering, I downed two bowls right away!

What do you call the small bitter berries in your language?

beanpasta-7a

 

Sautéed Garlic Wheat Pumpkin Bowl

Hello AKIU Family! It’s been long. A lot has been going on. I moved, sold off my kitchen stuff and now I’m starting off from the ground. In the midst of all the chaos, I have lost valuable things, broke a glass or two, and sold off my plates, cups and the largely talked about toaster! Tupperware has been the order of the day months! One of the crazy things that happened was eating out of a pumpkin. It actually worked for me because for a moment I did not have to worry about washing the plates! But all jokes aside, this meal is the definition of comfort with some spice thrown in there.

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While in Fort portal about three months ago, I was gifted with this locally grown organic wheat. This wheat is so tasty. When we boiled the first batch, half of it was eaten out of the pan plain. It is that good.

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The first thing that came to my mind (after eating the plain one) was a wheat stir-fry or a sauté. And that is what I ended up doing. This power pumpkin bowl is loaded with a lot of flavour, texture and nutrients that are really good for you. I recommend trying cooking and eating out of a pumpkin.

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So here is what is going on in this massive bowl: A steamed/boiled-to-tenderness pumpkin bowl, filled with savoury garlicky sautéed organic wheat, topped with avocado slices and crowned with crunchy fried garlic chips and then sprinkled with roast pumpkin seeds and simsim (you didn’t think I would leave it out, did you?).

What you will need:

1 mature pumpkin

2 C Wheat, soaked overnight, boiled till soft and drained

1 Small Cabbage, diced

1 medium avocado, ripe

1 Large purple onion

1 chicken broth cube

Salt

Black pepper

Oil for frying

Pumpkin seeds

Roast simsim (sesame)

3 Garlic cloves, finely crushed and chopped

4 Garlic cloves for chips

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Observations:

Use a mature pumpkin that has hardened skin. It will not fall apart even after the flesh is cooked.

 

Method:

  1. Cut pumpkin in half. Remove guts and seeds. Don’t throw away the seeds. In a pan larger than the pumpkin, place water and bring to a boil. Wash the pumpkin well and gently place the half you intend to use in the boiling water. Cover the pan and let the pumpkin boil till the flesh is soft when a fork is inserted in. Remove from fore and set aside to cool
  2. In a separate frying pan, heat oil. Add the crushed garlic. And let it brown a little. Add the cabbage and let it wilt a little. Next add the boiled wheat grains and stir till well combined. Add salt, black pepper and crush the broth cube in the pan. Keep some of the water used to boil the wheat and add spoon by spoon to keep the wheat from burning. Keep stirring till the cabbage is almost cooked but still crunchy. Remove from fire.
  3. For the pumpkin seeds, remove them from the guts and then wash they well. Place in a frying pan with about a teaspoon of water, some salt and black pepper. Keep stirring till they are fully dry, golden brown and have puffed up a little. It will take about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Peel the remaining 4 garlic chips without crushing them. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice them crosswise. On medium heat, place pan and add oil. Let the oil get extremely hot. Add the chips to the oil. Let them fry till they release an aroma and turn a golden brown but not fully burnt.

 

To assemble

Get the boiled half of the pumpkin. Make sure it is still warm to the touch. Fill it up with the fried wheat. Thinly slice the avocado and arrange some slices on top of the wheat. Add the roasted pumpkin chips and the garlic chips. Finally sprinkle with roasted simsim (sesame).

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Serve hot, preferably with a group of friends or family on chilly day.

 

 

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I cannot wait for when I get my hands on another good pumpkin and equally great wheat to make this again especially now that the weather is gloomy!

Till next week!

Have you eaten out of a food shelling before?