This dish is based on typical East African flavors, but can easily be adapted to use the produce where you live. For instance, carrots are not typical of this dish in Tanzania, but make a regular appearance on our dinner table.
Tanzanian meals are quite seasonal and based on the vegetables found in the markets each day. Peppers, onions, chilli peppers, greens, and sweet potatoes are common. Beans and lentils are staples. Rice dishes are influenced by the large Indian population settled there. It can be flavored with spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cumin seeds, cloves, etc.
1. Measure out your rice per person and rinse in a sieve or bowl with cold water.
2. Boil your kettle.
3. Toast your spices in a dry saucepan for a few minutes, until you can smell them, but not so long that they burn. Stir frequently. Choose any combination of the following: 3-4 cloves, 3-4 cardamon pods, medium chunk of cinnamon bark, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds. I usually use two spices based on my mood for the day.
4. Add the rice and the boiled water. Cook your rice according to the package instructions.
5. If you are feeding this rice to children, remove the spices before serving.
For the Beans
sweet/bell pepper, sliced in long strips
optional chilli pepper
Can of beans (any kind-we love pinto), drained
Small can of chopped tomatoes, or 2-3 fresh ones
1/2 can coconut milk
You can add more vegetables if you like. Mushrooms and green beans work well with this dish.
1. Chop the onion and fry in a large frying pan with a little bit of oil. When it is soft, add the carrots, peppers, and any other vegetables. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
2. Add the beans and the small can of tomatoes with their juice. Continue to cook over medium heat for ten minutes.
3. Add about half a can of coconut milk and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, just to heat through.
4. The vegetables and beans should be both hot and tender. Serve with rice. You can also serve this with cooked meat or fish.