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Five one-pot meals to simplify your life


Life is hard and cooking food in two or more different sufurias can make it even harder. Try these classic one-pot wonders, tried, tested and tasted:

1. Githeri

Githeri-boiled and fried maize and beans. A staple dish in many homes and one that is associated with the Kikuyu.

I love the yellow beans and soft maize for this recipe. Up country you will find that once they are boiled, it is eaten as is with salt to taste.

My mother boils the beans and maize together in a clay pot with salt and pepper, then stores it in the freezer ready to fry. The clay Pot gives it a natural taste which you don't get when boiled with a cooking pot (sufuria).

Prep time: 5mins

Cook time: 20/25mins

Ready in: 25/30mins

Serves: 3-4


-  200g beans, pre boiled

- 100g maize, pre boiled

- Vegetable oil, for frying

- 1 large onion, chopped

- 2 tomatoes, chopped

-  3 cloves garlic, crushed

- 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed

- 1cup mushed butter nut

-  1cup beef stock

-  1 green pepper, chopped

- 6 potatoes, peeled and cut in half

-  1 teaspoon curry powder

-  Salt and pepper to taste


In a large cooking pot, fry the onions until cooked (don't let them turn brown). Add the tomatoes, allow to cook for about a minute or two. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for about a minute then add the green pepper, curry powder, beef stock, salt and pepper, stir then add the potatoes, beans and maize, and mashed butternut, stir, cover and let simmer for 15/20mins or until the potatoes are cooked through

You can add life beef stock if the potatoes are not cooked through or if you like your githeri not to dry.

Note: you can add some meat to the recipe to give it a meaty flavor. The butternut gives it a sweet taste

2. Pilau

Pilau is one of the most popular dishes in Kenyan homes. A wedding without pilau on the menu is a no no. It is a coastal dish served with kachumbari. It can be cooked with beef, chicken, mutton, soya etc.

Serves 3-4

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 36 mins

Ready In: 46 mins


• 1 cup rice (500g)

• 2 large onions

• 1 clove crushed garlic

• 1 crushed ginger

• 20g pilau masala

• ¼ cup vegetable oil

• ½ kg beef, cubed

• 1¾ cups cold water

• Salt to taste


In a cooking pot, fry onions until cooked (but not burnt – this give colour to the end product), add garlic, ginger, salt, pilau masala, allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, add meat and let cook until it gets cooked.

Pour in the rice, stir to combine the meat with the rice, add the 1 ¾ cups water and bring to a boil over high heat with the cooking pot uncovered.

Once the water level has gone down, lower the heat, cover with foil paper or brown kitchen paper and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until water has dried up.

Turn of your heat, fluff the rice and set aside for about five minutes.

Serve with Kachumbari

3. One Pot Pasta Tomato Basil Sauce

This has been my favourite for a couple of weeks for me and my family. With no nanny, dinner has become a quick fast thing. By the time I get home, my brood is tired and hungry.

We love pasta, this dish is a revelation. Within no time dinner is served. It takes me about five minutes to prepare the ingredients, which I then throw all into one cooking pot over medium-high heat; I cook it for about 25/30 minutes. The pasta is perfectly coated in basil sauce.

The second best part of this dish is... I only have one cooking pot to wash.

Serves: 3/4

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 25/30 mins

Ready In: 30/35 mins


1pk fusilli pasta 4 very ripe or 1 can diced tomatoes 3 cups chicken broth ½ medium-size white onion, sliced 4 cloves garlic, sliced 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves Salt to taste 1 tablespoon vegetable oil ¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional) 1 packet baby spinach Parmesan cheese, grated


Place the first nine ingredients and, if desired, dried crushed red pepper in a cooking pot in order of ingredient list. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (about 12 to 15 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is al dente, stirring at 5-minute intervals.

Remove from heat, and stir in spinach. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Stir just before serving. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

4. Tumbukiza

Online translation of tumbukiza is push into (push into water). Am not sure where this combination came from, but it is a delicious one-pot meal that one can be creative with. I first came across it in my village local pub. The site of the combination was not one pleasing to my eyes. My friends and I almost gave it a skip but hunger won that afternoon. Shock on our taste buds................wooooo. It was simply prepared, spiced up with rosemary leaves.

I have since enjoyed tumbukiza many times; I cook tumbukiza at home a lot. My combinations have garlic, chili's, meat or chicken, salt and pepper to taste or spices I may have in my pantry depending on my mood. Here is one of my simpler versions of Tumbukiza.

Serves: 3-4

Prep Time: 5mins

Cook Time: 30/35mins

Ready In: 35/40mins


½ kg beef on bone cut to pieces ½ kg cubed beef 1 large onion, chopped 2 large tomatoes, chopped 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into big chunks 1 green pepper, chopped (optional) 5-6 cloves, crushed 1 bunch coriander (dhania), chopped 2 beef or chicken cubes 4-5 potatoes, peeled 2 cups water or beef stock 1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped Salt and pepper to taste


Take a large cooking pot, put in the beef, onion, tomatoes, carrots, green pepper if you so wish, garlic, potatoes, beef cubes, salt, pepper and water/stock, stir and cover

Place over high heat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and let simmer for about 20/25mins.

Add the chopped spinach and coriander stir to combine all the ingredients then leave to simmer for a futher 5mins or so or until the spinach is cooked.

Serve hot with bread or garlic burns

Note: the potatoes will have broken up while cooking, making the sauce nice and thick.

5. Fried Brown Rice with Snow Peas and Peanuts

Serves: 4

Brown rice is better for you than white. According to a study conducted by the American journal of clinical nutrition, brown rice is the top choice in terms of both nutrition and other inherent healthy benefits.

Brown rice is rich in selenium, naturally-occurring oil, anti-oxidants, promotes weight loss high in manganese. These are just but a few of the health benefits of eating brown rice.

In most homes we tend to just boil rice and eat with a vegetable and a protein. Try this recipe out in less than 30 minutes you have a tasty nutritious meal.


Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 6 mins

Ready In: 21 mins


1 tablespoon peanut oil ½ cup onion, thinly chopped 1 teaspoon garlic, minced 1 ½ snow peas, blanched ¼ cup peanuts, lightly roasted 2 cups brown rice, boiled 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 tablespoon soy sauce


Heat a large cooking pot over medium –high heat then add the peanut oil.

Add the onion and garlic, fry for about a minute or until the onion is tender and clear

Add the snow peas and peanuts, fry (tossing constantly) for about  two minutes

Finally add the rice fry for a further one minute, stir in the rice vinegar and soy sauce. Continue to fry for one minute, and then serve


(Photos: Courtesy)

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