One of my favorite meals to make is Maharagwe. It’s a Kenyan red beans in coconut milk dish, and it’s becoming my go-to meal whenever I’m tired, need something that’s ready quickly, and am sticking to my abstention from processed food. As long as the red beans have been soaked and cooked ahead of time-or I’m using canned-the meal is ready in less than 15 minutes.
The recipe I use is from “Bean by Bean” by Crescent Dragonwagon. There are some optional items to serve with the Maharagwe: steamed chard, a grain, and a fried egg. I, of course, do not use the fried egg but I like chopped chard in my Maharagwe and eat it over a grain. This last time, I served the Maharagwe over black rice and offered Naan as an accompaniment. I was laughing to myself as I did so: Kenyan beans served over Chinese rice with Indian flatbread. My meal spanned two continents and one subcontinent.
I’m currently reading “Spice: The History of a Temptation” by Jack Turner and it’s made me realize what a global market the world has been for thousands of years. Trade routes flourished between Asia and Mediterranean cultures, expanding into Europe during the Roman Empire. I was fascinated to read that a letter from a roman soldier garrisoned in modern-day Germany contained mention of black pepper, native to India. So, my kitchen follows a pattern that’s thousands of years old. I borrow a little from this culture, a little from that, and, while my meal my not be traditional, it’s tasty. And pretty. The Maharagwe was beautiful cooking with the coconut milk turning yellow from the spices, the bright red tomatoes, deep red beans, and green chard, I had to take a picture of it. The yellow lights in my kitchen do dim it down a little, but it’s still pretty.
If you haven’t tried Maharagwe and are looking for a quick, filling, nutritious meal; I highly recommend it. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your own taste and it’s fabulous. If you want to check out “Bean by Bean” here’s a link to Barnes and Noble.