#MadeAtLeiths: Anita Kerai shares her family recipe; Githeri

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#MadeAtLeiths: Anita Kerai shares her family recipe; Githeri

Githeri Recipe by Anita Kerai

Anita Kerai @anitas_kitchen_london, chef, author of Flavours of Kenya, TV presenter of Return to Kenya on Amazon Prime and Leiths alumna, shares her family recipe for Githeri. Githeri is a staple food in Kenya. It was and is still is a favourite among people from Central Kenya, especially the Kikuyu, Meru and Embu tribes, with regional variations in Lake Victoria and the Rift Valley.


Serves 4

This recipe is a protein-rich stew of beans and maize, but you can add potatoes, peanuts, peas or vegetables for added texture. I have spiced it up and added peanuts, as that is the way I like my githeri and the way my Mum used to make it for us every Saturday.

280g dried kidney beans (maharagwe), or 2 x 400g/14oz cans kidney beans
3–4 fresh corn on the cob, husks and strands removed, or 1 x 340g can sweetcorn/corn
1 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1–2 green chillies, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled
140g peanuts
¼ tsp ground turmeric
Salt, to taste
Juice of ½ a lemon to serve
Coriander/cilantro leaves, to serve


  1. Soak the dried kidney beans overnight.
  2. Rinse the pre-soaked beans, put them in a large pan along with the corn and add a pinch of salt and enough boiling water to cover. Bring to boil and then simmer over a medium heat for 45–60 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside, saving the water to be used as stock. Omit this process if using canned beans and corn – simply drain, rinse and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat; add the cumin seeds and onions and fry for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook over a low heat for about 6 minutes until mushy. If the mixture begins to stick to the pan, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved cooking water.
  5. Next add the chillies and peanuts, then tip in the cooked potatoes, corn and beans, and add just enough water to cover.
  6. Add the turmeric and salt to taste and let the stew simmer over a low heat for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the flavours are well combined.

Just before serving, add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve on its own or with chapatis.

Author: Pamela Daniels

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