Saturday, March 31, 2012

it's bean day!

The first week we were here, Nate hardly ate anything at all. Then, we visited our friends Francis and Constance. Constance served us a lovely lunch of maharagwe nazi (beans cooked with coconut milk) and chapati (flatbread). Nate ate more than I did. The following Saturday, we made out own maharagwe nazi and decided that henceforth, Saturday is bean day.

We start by sorting the beans. Nate loves this part. We throw the “yucky beans” on the ground and put the “nummy beans” in the pot. Then, we wash the nummy beans.

I soak them overnight. I’ve done a quick soak before by simmering them for a few hours (when I had a crock pot), but I prefer soaking overnight. It just takes a little planning. In the morning, I make sure there is still water in the pot (sometimes I put too many beans and not enough water, and all the water gets absorbed by morning).

clean beans

cooking beans
Around 4 in the afternoon, we begin the cooking part. The beans are washed again and drained. Then, we put them on the stove to start cooking with some spices (whatever strikes our fancy on that particular day). I think they cook for about an hour, but honestly, I have no idea. When we think about it, we taste test to see if they are getting ready.

Kenyan kitchen essentials: mbuzi and machete

Meanwhile, Rodgers shreds the coconut. I should get more practice with the mbuzi (literally: goat), but usually he does it because he’s just more efficient. Before we had the mbuzi, he used a spoon.

The juice (Rodgers says, “It’s just water.”) from the middle of the coconut is poured out. We don’t use that part. I don’t know why.

The shredded coconut goes into the kifumbu (sieve). He squeezes it and squishes it to get the coconut milk out. When no more comes out, Rodgers sets it in a small bowl of water, then squeezes it some more.

We add the coconut milk to the beans when they are almost cooked and let them simmer until they are done.

We are no good at making chapati (yet!), so we go down the street to a little restaurant (or sometimes just a woman with a stool and a chapati jiko) and buy a few for 15 shillings each.

Karibuni kwa siku ya maharagwe! (Welcome to bean day!)


  1. You're getting so good at inserting Swahili into your posts! Does the coconut milk make the beans sweet?

  2. That's fun! Is the shredded coconut any good after the milk is extracted?

  3. The beans are slightly sweet and coconuty, but we also but hot spices on them, so they have a sweet and spicy flavor. I imagine the shredded coconut is good, if you like that sort of thing (I don't really like to eat it). Probably still juicier than dried coconut.

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