Pumpkin Amaranth Stew + My Thoughts on Dieting

I have been listening to the podcast Eat Capture Share lately and I have learnt a lot from it. I found out about Kimberly (the creative behind the podcast and The Little Plantation) during the Saveur Magazine Blogger Nominations a few months ago. I have learnt a lot of food photography and life tips  from her.  About two weeks ago I listened to the Eat Capture Share Episode 7 and it made me think about a lot of issues in the food space especially as a Ugandan food blogger. The episode is about dieting and intuitive eating. I have seen diet culture all over the social media and even in movies. But as Christy talked about dieting, and how niche food bloggers can consciously or subconsciously push it and its psychological effect on readers and followers, I was intrigued. Intrigued that from my background, it is quite the opposite. Please correct me if I am wrong.  In Uganda, the concept of food blogging is still relatively new let alone niche food blogs. Dieting too is unknown to the regular Ugandan. I was greatly surprised when in the podcast they mentioned that it is poor people who eat “badly”. In Uganda and possibly most sub-Saharan countries, poor people eat “better” than the rich people because they have a limited access to all the finer things in life like supermarkets, packaged and processed foods and sweetened foods. This made me think about the food that I talk about here. I know that as a blogger I have a responsibility to you to be honest and ethical about the food I share. I always emphasize that all the food posted on this blog and my social media accounts is food I eat and make for my family.  My hope and aim with this blog is to inspire you to look at food in a different way and discover the endless possibilities of local Ugandan cuisine. Which is why often times I will not write about mainstream restaurant food because I know that kind of food is uncommon to a regular Ugandan (myself included) and is usually a once in a a while treat. Contrary to what Christy says in the episode, you will find processed foods and meats expensive (unless you rear your own animals) and vegetables cheaper. If anything shopping in supermarkets is associated with wealth and a higher social status in Uganda.

Surprisingly I was making this exact soup while listening to the podcast and it was  just the right timing. This soup is completely vegetarian, vegan even (depending on who is reading this). And I didn’t set out to make it vegetarian by intention. It is food like this that you will find me eating and making for my family because it is relatively easier and “cheaper” to access than let’s say a steak, a pizza, take out etc.

This stew is rich, savory aromatic and hearty with a spicy kick from the chili oil. It is ideal for these rainy moody last days of the year. I think I have made it four times in a row in the past few weeks.  You wont even realize that it is loaded with a lot of dodo/ callaloo!

 

What you will need:

4 C. Pumpkin, cut in chunks

2 C. Amaranth greens/ Dodo/ Callaloo. coarsely chopped

1/2 C. Coconut milk

1 Large Onion, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Tsp. Ginger, minced

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce

Salt

Black pepper

chili oil (Optional)

1 Tbsp.  Oil

2 C. Water

 

Observation.

  1. If you cannot access coconut milk, substitute it with groundnut paste or peanut butter. The taste will be a little different though but still very flavorful and rich.
  2. The two cups of water will be used to make the soup. You can substitute the water with vegetable or chicken stock.
  3. Depending on the consistency you desire, you may need more or less water/stock. Keep in mind that as the stew simmers, the pumpkin will continue to disintegrate causing the stew to thicken.

 

Method

  1. Place the pan on high heat. Add the oil.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry till an aroma is released. Add the onion and cook till translucent.
  3. Next add the pumpkin chunks and mix till they are well coated with the aromatic garlic, ginger and onion.
  4. Add a quarter cup of water and cover the pan. Let the pumpkin cook for about 10 minutes or until slightly cooked through.
  5. Once the 10 minutes are over, remove the cover from the pan and add the amaranth greens/dodo/callaloo, chili oil, soy sauce, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
  6. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Finally add the rest of the water.
  7. Reduce the fire and let the stew simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove from fire once a thick bubbling stew is formed.
  9. Serve hot with your favorite carbohydrates (posho, rice, yams, potato etc)

Please if you have time go listen to the episode and come back  so we can have a conversation. What do you think about dieting in Uganda or Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole?

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Breakfast Flatbread

Guys! The Saveur Magazine Blogger Awards happened last week. A Kitchen in Uganda did not win any award but I have been so blessed by all the inspiration and people I have connected with because of this. I am so grateful for the support that you have shown this blog and for each and every vote that you cast. If anything this experience has fueled me to work harder, inspire more people and dream bigger. Thank you.

Now onto this flatbread. If you live in an African household, you know that there is not really a foolproof recipe for most foods. You also know that the lines between chapati and flatbread are blurred. Almost anything that resembles a chapati can pass for one. And that is okay because what matters is the taste. This flatbread (I refuse to call them chapati for aforementioned reasons) are not naan either because I was not ready to commit to the time it takes to make both (naan and chapati). The bread however borrows techniques from both flat breads and are really tasty which is why I am going to attempt to write a recipe down for you so that you can try them yourselves. They can either be eaten as a snack, with a soup or stew or as brunch with this awesome combo of creamy avocado and a refreshing tart salad . You can even add a fried egg to the mix! You will be blown away at how simple and yet delicious they are. Not only can these flat breads pass for breakfast but they could make even dinner!

What you will need:

3 C. Wheat flour

1 C. Whole flour

1 C. Maize flour

1/2 C. Milk powder

1/4 C Oil

4 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Baking powder

1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. Ginger, grated

1 Tsp. Salt

1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg

Lukewarm water

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the water. Gradually add the water while you mix the dough till it is firm. cover dough and set aside for half an hour.
  2. After 30 minutes, knead the dough till it is smooth and non-sticky.
  3. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts. Roll each piece into a ball then roll each ball into a flatbread.
  4. Place  a non stick pan/ tava on high heat. .Let it get hot. Carefully place your rolled flatbread on the pan. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.
  5. Let the flatbread cook for about two minute before turning it to the other side. Once the flatbread has inflated slightly, flip it to the other side and let it cook for another two minutes.
  6. Remove from fire. Repeat process till all the flat breads are cooked.
  7. Serve warm.

To assemble the breakfast flatbread:

  1. Mash your avocadoes. Add some minced garlic,onions, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside
  2. Thinly slice cucumbers and tomatoes. Grate a carrot. Mix everything in a bowl.
  3. Spread the mashed avocado on the flat bread. Next add the cucumber salad.
  4. you can add anything else you like
  5. Serve.

flatbread fail-2

Use the #AkitchenInUg to share your creations.

Failed Kitchen Experiments: A Photo Essay

​​Earlier this week I  was asked a question about failed kitchen experiments.

I took to Instagram to find out if you also have those occasional kitchen fails that make you question everything. A lot of you were really candid and shared with us all some of your most embarrassing and sad kitchen fails. I decided to share some of my most embarrassing and downright sad kitchen escapades that have never seen the light of day…well at least  until now. You may be wondering why I am doing this. I particularly wanted to bring this topic up because just like,  any other well curated blogs and Instagram pages, food blogs sometimes make others think that bloggers are living the perfect life. There is so much more going on behind the scenes that we do not show.  Of each post that I share,  about 4 or 5 recipes are complete disasters that I have to keep refining over and over again till I am certain they can be sharable. But if anything, I have learnt to  take it as a challenge. If something doesn’t work,  it does not mean that we should give up. Instead this should be the fuel we use to push ourselves to become better versions of ourselves (or whatever it is that we are trying to achieve). I do not want this post to dishearten you. Instead I want you to know that we are all  human.  Mistakes are part of being human. Also mistakes do not mean the end,  instead they are stepping stones to greater victories. In this case better food ha!

This cake! It was supposed to be a banana cake with caramel filing and buttercream frosting. Because I wanted to save money, I purchased cheaper margarine to use for the butter cream. It came with a cost because the butter cream ended up being too runny (can you see the runny icing? Such a mess!). The more icing sugar I added, the more runny it became. On the contrary, the cake was delicious but I was so disappointed I shed a tear!
This was supposed to be fried chicken with cherry tomato sauce.The chicken was so dry and the cherry tomatoes ended up being too tart. TOO TART!
Here I was attempting to make oven toaster pull apart bread. Instead of using baking powder though, I used yeast. the result was nothing like a pull apart bread. The yeast ate up all the sugar and the oven toaster dried up the bread. Even though it tasted great, i was sad because I did not achieve the image I had in my head.
Avocado pasta. I wanted to create a light pasta sauce made entirely out of avocadoes.  This one came out thick heavy and without flavor. I am still working on it.
These Petit Fours were originally supposed to be a Swiss roll.When it was time to roll the cake, it decided to shatter into pieces. To salvage what was left of the cake, we cut it into small squares and drizzled chocolate sauce on them. They never made it to the blog!
Ah man! Where do I start with this one?  The chapatis, as you can see, were a fail, the veggies a fail but because I refused to give up, I still stubbornly rolled them up and shot them just as a reminder!
Here I was trying to make a cocktail of pasionfruit juice and stoney tangawizi. The flavors never worked at all and the passion fruit juice was ridiculously watered down! Yes I questioned my life that day!
I was attempting onion jam. I accidentally put too much salt and oil. It ended up being a salty onion confit. GAG!
Yes! I butchered luwombo too! Like I said earlier, I questioned everything! The luwombo itself wasn’t that bad! It was actually really flavorful with the lemon grass but I hated how the pictures turned out that I never posted it.
Phew! That was a lot!
Now I want to know, have you had any kitchen fails and how you combat that into positivity. Leave a comment below