Classic Bean Stew

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

Salt

 

Observations:

  1. 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.
  2. Tomatoes, when cooked well, add an umami taste to the stew
  3. 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.
  4. Add water depending on the consistency you are going for.
  5. The longer the stew simmers, the better the taste

Method

  1. Place pan on medium heat. Add cooking oil and let it heat up.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes. Let them cook till they are soft and tender and have separated from the oil
  4. Next add your green pepper, ginger, curry powder, cumin, coriander, black pepper and salt. Mix well.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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PS: Have you checked out this book Cool Beans? 

My Vegetarian Kitchen Cookbook is Finally Here!

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!

GetMy 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:

  1. 34 Delicious and Wholesome Dishes and Recipes from A Kitchen in Uganda
  2. 2 Menus
  3. Tips on How to Have a Successful Meal Gathering
  4. A Weekly Meal Plan Template

Go grab yourself a copy and start cooking!

 

Loaded Bean and Dodo (Amaranth) Salad

Starting this blog, I was young and naive. All I knew is that I wanted to cook exciting, interesting and delicious food. Years later,  I now understand the value of food, using local produce,  using fresh produce and being creative.  This salad was conceived after binge watching the amazing Fat Salt Acid Heat docu-series. I was blown away by the beauty of how the most basic of ingredients yield some of the best flavors.  When you think of beans and dodo and potatoes individually, a salad rarely comes to your mind.  But when the same ingredients are transformed through different techniques, what you get is a beautiful vibrant salad that is so satisfying and complex in flavors.  This is one of the main reasons I keep slaving away in the kitchen like a mad woman because the ecstasy of discovering something else a common produce can be is unmatched! I had a hard time naming this salad because it has dodo,  masala potatoes, sweet and charred carrots,  beans, green onions for a spicy kick, pumpkin seeds for a crunch and a sprinkle of cheese to marry all the flavors together. This would have made a really long title. Ha!
What you will need: 
1 C. Beans, boiled and drained
1C. Potatoes, cut into wedges
1 C. Carrots, julienned
A handful of dodo(amaranth greens), steamed
1/4 C. Green onions, chopped
1/4 C. Nuts
1/4 C. Cheese, grated (optional)
Juice from half an orange
1 Tsp. Soy sauce
1 Tsp. Ground cumin
1 Tsp. curry powder
1/2 Tsp. chili flakes
Black pepper
Salt
Observations: 
  1. Using cheese is optional.
  2. Use salt carefully keeping in mind that all the individual salted components will be combined. With that said, I salted only the potatoes. Then sprinkled salt on the finished salad.
  3. You can use any type of beans. I used red beans.
  4. You can use any nuts available to you.
  5. I recommend a non-stick pan to avoid burning
Method:
  1. Place a pan on fire, Wait for it to get hot. Add about a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Add the potato wedges. Shallow fry the wedges till half way cooked. Make sure you keep stirring to avoid burning.
  3. After they reach the half-way cooked point, add the salt, cumin, curry powder and black pepper and mix well. Let them cook till tender.
  4. Remove the potatoes from fire and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan, add a half teaspoon of oil.
  6. Add the carrots to the oil. Add the juice of half an orange.
  7. Let the carrots  shallow fry till the orange juice has reduced to a thick sauce and the carrots start to slightly char.
  8. Remove the carrots from the pan and set aside.
  9. Using the same pan still, add half a teaspoon of oil and saute the green onions.
  10. Add the soy sauce, and chili flakes to the frying onions.
  11. Fry the onions till they turn a bright green but still have a crunch.
  12. Remove the onions from fire
To assemble the salad
Layer the salad by starting with the boiled beans. Next add the potatoes. Next add the steamed dodo. Add the caramelized carrots on top. Next add the onions. Sprinkle your nuts/seeds on top. Finish off with grated cheese.
Serve with a glass of wine or iced tea.
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