GITHERI/GIDHERI/KENYAN MAIZE AND BEANS STEW
Githeri is a traditional meal made of maize (corn) and beans which are boiled and then fried or spiced up to make a stew. It is a staple food in Kenyan Central province among the Kikuyu ( Also Meru & Embu people). Although associated with the Gikuyu tribe, githeri has now found its way in many parts of the country and beyond.
Githeri starts a a simple combination of boiled maize and beans (which is known as murugarugio). The murugarugio can then be fried and spiced up with the addition of spices (usually Royco or curry powder), vegetables and potatoes to form the Githeri which is what we are familiar with. In the neighbouring county of Tanzania, the dish is known as MAKANDE or MAKANGE due to using maize kernels with their outer skins (pericarp) removed. Other than that there is no much difference in the dish or its cooking technique.
For those not familiar with this dish, it can be mistake with corn salad, however, Githeri is more flavorsome (in my opinion) and is eaten as the main meal (rather than a light or side dish). Hope you enjoy our recipe.
(FOR THE MURUGARUGIO)
FOR SPICING THINGS UP! (THE STEW BASE)
BOILING THE GITHERI/MURUGARUGIO
NOTE; Dry maize and beans will take longer to cook than fresh ones. If the maize/beans are dry, soak overnight with plenty of water to re-hydrate. If you are using a combination of dry and fresh grains, then start cooking the dry seed first before adding the other midway through the cooking time. Alternatively, cook separately then combine.
FRYING THE GITHERI
More information & tips
1)You can boil as much murugarugio as you like. Use what is required, Drain excess water and freeze what is not required. Do not forget to divide into your meal size before freezing so that you only defrost what is required when you need to fry Githeri for future meals.
2) Another method for cooking the githeri is the one pot method. This is the hassle free method where all the other ingredients are added to the pot of the boiled grains when they are ready. No frying involved so no oil used. Just throw everything else in together and let them do all the magic. Add the vegetables that require a longer cooking time first and then follow with those that require less cooking time. The githeri cooked this way reminds me of boarding school meals! In our household, The one pot githeri is referred to as 'githeri cha jela!', 'githeri cha mahabusu!' or 'githeri cha mabweni' However it is very healthy!
3) If you like your githeri to be suspended in more stew, add more tomatoes and a little more liquid.
4) To create variations in this recipe, you can substitute or add more variety or vegetables in your Githeri. Other vegetables include (shredded) cabbage, (cubed) Bell pepper,
(cubed) cucumber etc
5) If you do not have fresh or dry maize corn, you can use (frozen) sweet corn, though the flavour (and texture) will be slightly different from the real deal!