How to Make Pumpkin Greens

Lightly fried nutritious and delicious pumpkin greens. Great for stew when cooked with groundnuts and as a side dish when lightly sauteed. Video demonstration attached. 

There is a misconception that African food is not diverse, varied and nuanced. This misconception is heightened by international aid organizations marketing hunger to donors. I am sure you have all seen undignified images of Africans one way or the other. But what they don’t tell you is that most of our food is plant based, medicinal and freshly grown. Take pumpkin leaves for example, not only do we eat the pumpkin but find use and nutritional value in the greens as well. This is true for so many edible plants and vegetables on the continent and explains why we eat a lot of leafy greens. To prepare pumpkin greens, we remove the thin hairy outer layer on each leaf which I cannot quite find a word for in English. I hope the video demonstration below makes it easier to understand. Pumpkin greens are cooked in various forms depending on which region a person comes from.

Pumpkin Greens Recipe

What you will need: 

3-4 Handfuls of chopped pumpkin greens
3 Garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 Large Onion, chopped
3 Medium Tomatoes, chopped
1 Small Green pepper, Diced
1 Tsp. Curry powder
1/2 Tsp. Black pepper
2-3 Tbsp. Oil
Salt

Observations: 

  1. Use soft and tender pumpkin leaves to cook. 
  2. Removing the thin hairy outer layer on each leaf helps make the greens softer.  
  3. Adding salt and baking soda helps remove impurities from the greens. 
  4. Letting the greens sit in water allows all the sad to settle at the bottom. 

Method

  1. Peel off the thin hairy outer layer on each leaf stalk and thinly slice the greens. 
  2. Add water in a large bowl. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda. Add the greens and let them sit in the water for about 10 minutes. Thoroughly wash the greens and then drain them completely.
  3. Place a clean pan/ pot on high fire. Add oil and let it get hot.
  4. Add the garlic and onions and le then cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Next, add the tomatoes and green pepper  and stir well. 
  6. Le the tomatoes cook until tender. This can take about 3-5 minutes. Once they are tender, use your wooden spoon to mash them. 
  7. Add your pumpkin greens and mix well. Let them cook for about 5-10 minutes or until tender. 
  8. Serve with your favorite meal.

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Sweet Mandazi Pudding

Mandazi Pudding. Have a party and you couldn’t care for cake that much, grab some mandazi, milk, eggs, sugar and all the aromatics and all of a sudden you have this impressive beast of a dessert.

Mandazi: The ultimate east African snack. Although this snack has multiple variations in each county, region and household, you can be assured that the feelings Mandazi evoke are the same across worlds. If you want a quick snack for visitors, Mandazi come to the rescue. In need of a quick but filling breakfast, Mandazi and some ka chai will have you sorted out. In need of a quick lunch without the hustle of looking for a descent eatery, Mandazi has got your back. I cannot recall the number of times I have had a pack of Mandazi on me for emergency situations while running errands in Kampala. What I am trying to say is that Mandazi are versatile. And to be honest they are perfect on their own. So perfect that they don’t need to be enhanced.

BUT.

Just imagine with me, if you will, what would happen when you take this trusty and unassuming snack and drown it in a bath of milk, eggs, oil or butter, sugar and all the warm spices and flavors, then bake it until it has soaked in all the milky goodness. Top it with thick and wickedly sweet condensed milk and sprinkle with some raisins. wouldn’t that be such a delicious treat? See, what happens now is that you have a completely different snack. I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves. Have a party and you  don’t care for cake that much, grab some mandazi, milk, eggs sugar and all the aromatics and all of a sudden you have this impressive beast of a dessert. I made it for my sibling’s birthday and I didn’t miss cake at all.

Sweet Mandazi Pudding Recipe

What you will need:
12-14 mandazi
1 can condensed milk
1 C. Water
2 eggs
1/4 C. Oil/ Butter
Handful of raisins
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp. Ginger, ground
1/2 Tsp. Cloves, ground
1/2 Tsp. Lemon zest
1 Tsp. Vanilla essence
1 Tbsp. Lemon/Lime juice
A pinch of salt

Observations

  1. I didn’t add any sugar since the condensed milk is already heavily sweetened.
  2. If you are using salted butter, you can omit the pinch of salt.
  3. Letting the pudding rest after baking will allow it to cool down and for easy removal from the baking pan.

Method

  1. Break the mandazi into bite sized pieces and set aside.
  2. In a clean bowl mix condensed milk, water, eggs, oil/butter, vanilla, lemon juice and salt till a thick milky syrup is formed.  Stir in the nutmeg, ginger, cloves and lemon zest.
  3. Soak the broken mandazi pieces  and raisins in the milk bath for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer into a greased cake/bread pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes.
  5. Let the pudding rest for another 15 -20 minutes before serving
  6. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream

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Curry Spiced Jackfruit Seeds Video

Curry spiced jackfruit seeds. Learn how to prepare them for cooking and how they can be substituted for other foods. 

Did you know you can eat jack fruit seeds?

I like foods that are versatile and have more than one use. Take a jack fruit, for example. It can be eaten as a meat substitute when unripe, as fresh fruit when ripe and as jam  or juice when over ripe. And we don’t even end there. The seeds are edible as well! I have been eating jackfruit seeds for as long as I can remember and it was an exciting part of the experience of slaughtering the jackfruit where we roasted the seeds after eating our weight in the ripened fruit. Such great times!  Now I deliberately collect each and every seed so that I can cook them. And in case you are wondering, cooking these seeds is not as had as you think. Labor intensive, yes, but not hard. In fact I made a short video that you can watch to understand what I am talking about. 

What you will need: 

2-3 C. Jackfruit Seeds

2 Tsp. Curry Powder

Salt

2-3 springs of rosemary/thyme

A splash of

Vinegar

Observations:

  1. Make sure you are using ripe jackfruit seeds.
  2. Make sure to use seeds that have not started to sprout. If a seed shows any slight sprouting or looks green, discard it. 
  3. The size and of the seeds depends on the type and species of the jackfruit flesh you are eating. Some fruits have thin flesh while others have plump flesh. 
  4. Jackfruit seeds have 3 layers of protective coverings. Two will be removed. to reveal a third layer which is edible and you do not need to remove it. 
  5. Drying the seeds helps loosen the second protective covering so that it is easier to remove. 
  6. if you don’t fancy curry since, you can use whatever spice blend you have/ prefer. Salt and pepper works well too. 

 

Method

  1. Slaughter the jackfruit.
  2. Remove and set aside all the seeds. 
  3. Remove the initial gummy-like protective covering form each individual seed. and wash them.
  4. Place seeds in a clean pan, add water and bring them to a boil. Boil seeds for about 30 or until they are soft and tender when pierced with a fork
  5. Drain the seeds and place them on a tray/flat plate to allow cooling and drying. They should dry for about 6 hours. 
  6. After they have dried and the second protective covering has loosened a bit, peel off the covering from each seed. 
  7. After peeling all the seeds, place a frying an on high heat. Add oil, salt, curry powder and the seeds and mix well
  8. Let the seeds cook in the oil for about 20 minutes on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally so that heat is evenly distributed.
  9. You can bake your seeds if you have an oven. 
  10. Add a splash of vinegar/lemon juice to the seeds  and 2-3 springs of rosemary/thyme to add to the flavor. 
  11. Remove the seeds from fire once they turn a vibrant golden brown color and  are crispy on the outside. 
  12. Serve as a snack or a substitute for roast potatoes. 

Have you eaten jackfruit seeds before? 

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