As I prepared our Ugandan dinner for our last day in Uganda, I couldn’t help but think of the women in Uganda who prepared the meals for us, sometimes even the kids, most cooking outside with a single pot over hot coals, hand-preparing each item in the hot sun. If there was a “kitchen”, it often involved burning coals as well , with a hole on top to place pots and absolutely no air conditioning/ceiling fans, etc., in a small “hut-style” room. (And I complain when it’s too hot in my kitchen.)
So, my “Ugandan” cooking was a bit less strenuous, with my easy gas-burning stove with six burners, yet it was a bit more difficult than I anticipated. It also didn’t quite turn out as beautiful as the picture above of one of the fabulous Ugandan meals I experienced. You see, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, but I’ve never made traditional beans before. And, even though I did know to soak them overnight, I neglected to soak the dried cow peas, and underestimated the cook time for the beans and peas by quite a bit. Fortunately, Brian was 30 minutes late for dinner and the chapatis also took longer than expected, so the only thing that had to wait for us was the rice (which I do know how to make).
For the menu, I used my new Ugandan cookbook
and my Ugandan Mchuzi spice mix,
both purchased at a Kampala grocery store and very helpful for our dinner.
Ugandan Dinner Menu
These chapatis were similar to those made during our week in India, although I used ghee instead of oil. They were also equally delicious, particularly with the rice and beans.
Thankfully, the beans were cooked properly by the time we ate dinner (apparently red beans can be toxic if undercooked…good to know) and they were almost as good as the beans served in Uganda, thanks to the mchuzi mix. So bummed I didn’t buy a bigger container. Oh well, guess I’ll have to go back to Uganda. I hope so!
The above items were served with some fresh, American avocado and I even let the kids eat like many Ugandans do….with their HANDS! (They thought this was pretty fun.) So, after we prayed for and thanked God for the hard-working women who cooked for my team and I in Uganda-Moreen, Katie and the other nannys-we dove into our delicious meal.
Tallinn wasn’t quite so sure about eating avocado with his hands.
For dessert we enjoyed some fresh pineapple, just like they did in Uganda, although I think I may have had the best pineapple I’ve ever had in Uganda.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this meal again, however I’ll be sure to soak the peas next time and leave ample time to cook the beans. Everything was really delicious and I want to remember this country that taught me so much about what true beauty means. Where people sing praise to the Lord despite their often harsh circumstances and are so willing to share what they have with others, even those who might have much more than they do. What a wonderful, beautiful people the Ugandans are. I am so thankful to have had the chance to visit this amazing country and meet the people that call it home. Our family will also continue to pray for our new friends and hope to go altogether one day to visit them again. And, as we make a joyful noise with our new instruments, we will also remember these joyful people and their gift of music!