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.
Use #AkitchenInUg to share your creations.
How to make classic Ugandan bean stew with tips and tricks on how to achieve a balanced and rich stew all the time.
I have made so many recipes on this blog and sometimes looking back I become overwhelmed by the recipe index (which I need to update soon!). One thing I have realized is that it has been a while since I share a classic bean recipe and I have no reason at all. But thinking about it, it is probably because I have taken beans for granted. Because at this point I assume everyone knows how to make beans or has a family recipe they stick to. This thinking was challenged when a viewer on my YouTube Channel requested for a bean stew recipe and now here we are. You see beans play a huge role in our diet as a country and continent. It is one of the first things and easiest to learn how to make because beans are a staple in many households and schools! Now each person has a varied recipe for their beans and often times it changes based on what is available. Talk about cooking from scratch. Sometime they are tangy because maybe that day you will happen to have more tomatoes. Sometimes it is very garlicky because garlic is available while onions are not (true story). Sometimes neither onions nor tomatoes are available but people still need to eat. One thing with beans is that they are a life saver, not to mention a source of protein and the dry ones store well.
‘In the past before chemical preservatives, there were two categories of beans: Beans for food and beans for seed. Beans for food were, well, used for food and were mostly the lesser quality while beans for seed were the better quality since they were to be preserved for longer periods of time for future planting. One iconic method of preserving the seed was by wrapping them securely in dry banana leaves and nearly drowning them in ash. Ash acted as a preservative and prevented the weevils from eating and damaging the seed. Because beans are fairly easy to make and everyone is expected to know how to make them, there are small details that can take it from a bean stew to a great bean stew.
What you will need:
3 C. Beans, cooked and drained
3 Large tomatoes, chopped
2-3 C. Water
1 Medium-sized green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 Garlic clove, crushed and chopped
1/2 Tsp. Grated Ginger
1 Tbsp. Curry powder
1/2 Tsp. Cumin powder
1/2 Tsp. Coriander (cilantro) powder
1/2 Tsp. Black pepper
2 Tbsp. Cooking oil
- The number of tomatoes and onions you use will determine the outcome of your stew. It is advised to use at least 1 whole onion and and 2-3 tomatoes.
- Tomatoes, when cooked well, add an umami taste to the stew
- The key is to caramelize the onions and cook down the chopped tomatoes until they separate from the oil. If you are using tomato paste, the same technique applies.
- Add water depending on the consistency you are going for.
- The longer the stew simmers, the better the taste
- Place pan on medium heat. Add cooking oil and let it heat up.
- Add the garlic and onions into the hot oil (careful not to burn yourself) and stir well. Reduce the heat slightly so that they can cook till translucent.
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Let them cook till they are soft and tender and have separated from the oil
- Next add your green pepper, ginger, curry powder, cumin, coriander, black pepper and salt. Mix well.
- Add the beans to the tomatoes and mix well. Pour in about half a cup of water and mix well. Increase the fire and let the beans cook till that water is almost completely done.
- Add the remaining water into the beans and let them cook for 15 minutes on high heat. Reduce the hear after 15 minutes and let that the stew simmer until the water has reduced down into half and it has a creamy oily layer on top.
Serve with your favorite starch. I like to have my stew with chapati in form of kikomando.
I an working on a video that I will be sharing soon.
How do you cook your beans?
Share your creations using the #AkitchenInUg on social media
PS: Have you checked out this book Cool Beans?
Hello Friends! It’s been a minute. I have been up to so much lately and as you can tell form the blog title I have a surprise for you! Been working on compiling the blog’s best vegetarian offerings which you can now get as an e-book. I have always wanted to write a cookbook and I have said it multiple times. Putting together this e-book helped alight my goals and gave me a taste of what it feels to put a valuable product out there in world. I am now so excited to be sharing this token of love with you!
Get ‘My Vegetarian Kitchen: 34 Delicious and Wholesome Dishes from A Kitchen in Uganda’.
With most of A Kitchen in Uganda’s food stories vegetarian celebrations, there are so many exciting, memorable and valuable dishes that have been created on the blog for the past 5+ years. This book is a compilation of some of the best of those dishes. The purpose for this book is that you can always have these creations whether you have access to the blog or not.
Who is this book for?
Whether it is planning a big gathering, needing an instant dish to satiate your cravings or looking for an idea for your next potluck or food business idea, this book is for you.
This book is for the vegetarian and/or foodie who would love to explore the endless possibilities that come with using less mainstream local produce and ingredients.
This book is for the creative ‘thinking-out-of-the-box’ individual who wants to make their food journey a little more exciting and fulfilling at the same time with ingredients that are easily accessible.
This book for the Ugandan and anyone on the continent of Africa that has to battle with the government imposed social media taxes. My blog has thrived because of the unlimited access to the internet that I have enjoyed and I realize this is not the same story for everyone which is why I took the time to compile these recipes so that you can have them at the tip of your fingertips with or without the internet!
What is inside this 77 page book:
- 34 Delicious and Wholesome Dishes and Recipes from A Kitchen in Uganda
- 2 Menus
- Tips on How to Have a Successful Meal Gathering
- A Weekly Meal Plan Template
Go grab yourself a copy and start cooking!