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Ingredient of the week: Mrenda

 Mrenda (Photo courtesy)

When I first ate Mrenda (English name Jute Mallow), the taste, appearance and texture was one I was totally unprepared for.

My host had not prepared me on either taste or texture. The vegetable was served with my favourite combo of ugali and deep fried fish. It was slimy and bitter!

Depending on how this nutritious vegetable is cooked, I would place it in the acquired taste category of foods.

But once your tongue has mellowed to the taste and texture of mrenda, you get to enjoy the benefits of this vegetable.

The vegetable is commonly found in western Kenya and has nutrients like iron, Vitamin A, calcium, beta carotene, phosphorus and protein.

It also offers a variety of medicinal benefits such as improving eye health, blood cleansing, nourishing the skin, joint lubrication and immunity.

Recipe: Wash plucked vegetables (mrenda and kunde), bring water to a boil, add munyu (traditionally prepared sodium bicarbonate solution) or store bought bicarbonate of soda, add the vegetables then boil for about 15-20 minutes and drain (they will look slimy once drained of all the water).

In a different cooking pot, sauté chopped onions, add the boiled vegetables, cook for a few minutes, finally add cooking cream then cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with ugali and meat of your choice.

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