(almost...) Ndengu

Hello everyone

I`m back from Nairobi and had a very lovely time. It also was a bit stressful because I needed to do quite a few things, but overall I enjoyed so much. I already really learned to appreciate so many things I never really thought about before…but I am going to write about it another post;)

Today I want to show you another traditional Kenyan dish. I tasted it the first time in a restaurant and loved it immediately. It is a very simple dish, but it brings back childhood memories as it reminds me a lot of the soups my mother used to make. Of course it taste a bit more exotic, but oh well=)
But be prepared, this dish isn`t exactly the best looking thing you`ve ever seen…but just try it and let the taste buds judge and not the eye;)

Serves 2:
1 cup Mung beans / green grams
Olive Oil (traditionally refined palm oil)
2 tomatoes
1 green bell pepper (not traditional, but I just wanted to…)
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp dhana jeera powder (a blend of powdered coriander seed and cumin seed)
½ cup of water (or stock)
½ cup coconut milk
  1. First of all the beans need to be pre cooked. So start by preparing the beans. Wash them thoroughly and on medium-heat start cooking them till tender. It takes about 30 minutes.
  2.  Meanwhile start cutting the onion, garlic clove, pepper and the tomatoes. 
  3. If there is water left, throw it away and set the beans aside. 
  4. Now, on medium-heat, fry the onion for about 30 seconds before adding the garlic. Wait till you start smelling the garlic and then add the vegetables, season it with salt and dhana jeera and stir it well. (some Kenyans say to not add dhana jeera but curry as well – but I could never taste curry when I ate Ndengu – so I didn`t add it.) 
  5. Wait about 3 minutes, so that the vegetables can break down a little and then add the beans.
  6. Now, here is where you can differ how you want to continue: Some Kenyan say to add nothing more, except a tiny bit of water and just wait till the beans adopt the spices and that’s it.Others say to add just a little water and wait a few minutes. But what I heard the most – and how I ended up doing it – is to add a little bit of milk or coconut milk.  
  7. In this recipe I added coconut milk and water – just enough so that the beans are covered and can simmer for about 10 – 15 Minutes so that the flavors can fully blend together. 
  8. When the liquid has reduced a little bit you can turn the heat off. It`s okay if the beans fall apart and start to overcook– that`s even desired. In fact I cooked mine a bit too short, it should have been even thicker and smoother – but I was too hungry ;)That`s why I called it almost Ndengu because a perfect Ndengu would have been more soup like.
  9. Voila – finished. 

Traditionally this dish is served with chapati (here) or just with plain rice. Some recipes also add carrot grated very finely. But I don`t like the taste of cooked carrots, so I left them out.

I hope you enjoy.


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