Around the World in 12 Dishes: Kenya


After a long time I am catching up with Around the World in 12 Dishes : season 2. It was originally created by Glittering Muffins and there are total of 13 blogs participating in this project. The idea is to “visit” 1 country a month (12 countries in a year) by exploring the cooking culture and craft. We all cook 1 (or more) dish with our children and some of us make crafts.

In the month of July we travelled to Kenya, which is next door to Tanzania where my husband grew up. I noticed that a lot of dishes from Kenyan cuisine are inspired by Indian cuisine with added local flavour.

Since I have a very picky 4 year old eater and a 14 months old toddler, I’ve been puzzled as to what I could make from Kenyan cuisine that they would both eat. And I came across this Kenya bean stew recipe . As you know from my previous posts, I have a picky eater. So I have to think twice before I try cooking something new. This Kenyan bean stew recipe reminded me of something I haven’t made before: my mother-in-law’s pressure cooker beans! The recipe is quite similar, minus curry, minus having to fry beans after boiling them. I don’t quite know where my MIL got this recipe from but I would think that after living in Tanzania for over 15 years (being from Lebanon herself), and spending quite a few years in India, she must have adapted and combined some recipes that became one suitable for her family and now for ours.

My MIL’s Pressure Cooker Beans

What you need:

2 cups of beans

half a teaspoon of turmeric

half a teaspoon of coriander powder

half an onion, chopped into small pieces

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoons of tomato paste, dissolved in a small bowl of water

salt to taste

4-5 cups of water (or more, depending how watery you like you beans)

2 tablespoons of oil

How to make it:

1. Soak beans for at least 12 hours (I soaked for 24!). Drain and wash them.

2. Add the oil to the pressure cooker. Mix in turmeric and coriander, let them infuse the oil for 30-40 seconds (don’t burn them!). Add onion and garlic. Fry till they start turning gold.

3. Add beans. Mix everything together, lower the fire and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.

4. Add tomato paste.  Mix everything well. Turn the fire to medium-high and stir for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add water and salt. Mix well.

6. Close your pressure cooker and keep it on high until the steam

s starts coming out and the knob starts turning. Lower the fire to medium-low and cook the beans for 40-50 minutes.


7. Turn off the fire and wait till the steams completely comes out (without forcing it – it should take another 15-20 minutes).

8. Serve your beans with rice and salad. I made Persian rice with potato taadig/tadiq.20130906_123834-001

My little helper miss A was there with me throughout the cooking process, occasionally asking to be picked up. So a few times I had to put her on the counter and hold her with one hand while doing something with another!


She also was the first one to taste and she loved them! It was actually her first time to taste the beans ever!


I must say with Kenya I felt a bit more “at home” compare to other countries in these series so far due to my husband’s background. It was also easier to explain to my 4 year old about Kenya since it is just there next to Tanzania. Her usual response was: “So, when can we REALLY go there? Can we go there by  bus, by train or by plane?”


Check the other blogs of “Around the World in 12 Dishes” for their Kenyan creations:

Adventures In MommydomAll Done MonkeyCrafty Moms ShareCreative Family FunCreative World of VaryaGlittering MuffinsHere Come The GirlsJuggling with KidsKid World CitizenKitchen Counter ChroniclesMermaids’ MakingsThe Educators’ Spin On It and The Hands-On Homeschooler

If you do this, we’d LOVE to see a photo of it. Like us Facebook and upload your picture there!

Please link up your Kenyan dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!

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6 thoughts on “Around the World in 12 Dishes: Kenya

    • Ah, picky eaters are so different everywhere!!! I guess I have to thank my MIL for introducing beans and lentils to mine. The little one though eats about anything.

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