Kuku – Kenyan Chicken Mung Bean Stew is a perfect meal with rice or chapati. Kenya is an African country with a large Indian population and you can definitely see the Indian influence in this African dish.
African cuisine is very diverse and varied, with different colonial influences from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and England. Additionally, many countries of Africa have large Indian populations including Kenya, South Africa and Uganda (until the Idi Amin dictator in Uganda). In fact, the first time I realized this was about 10 years ago when I met an Indian person from Kenya although his family was originally from Goa. Vivek spoke perfect Swahili and it was amazing to see him switch from Swahili to his African friends and then back to another language with Indian friends and of course English to me and others. When we all went out, it was like a meeting of the United Nations. This is when I learned how deep and long the history of Indians in Africa is and they have left their mark on the cuisine.
Before we get to today’s recipe, let’s check out some other African dishes I’ve cooked up!
- Kenyan Potato Bhajia
- Githeri – Kenyan Vegetable Bean Stew
- Sosu Kaani – Senegalese Hot Sauce
- Kelewele – Ghanian Fried Plantain
- Tatale – Ghanian Plantain Fritters
- Tunisian Za’atar Plantain
- Tanzanian Chapati
This recipe has been adapted from The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook. I have used this cookbook several times over the years and so far, only one recipe was a miss, so it is a book I would recommend if you would like to delve further into African and Middle Eastern cuisine.
IN THE MAKING
This a delicious recipe with the sweet coconut milk and using simple, fresh ingredients. The chile adds flavor, without a lot of spice. The thick sauce tastes delicious over Basmati rice.
Kuku – Kenyan Chicken Mung Bean Stew
- 6 skinless chicken thighs
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 oz. green mung beans green gram
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 4 finely chopped green chiles
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Season chicken with salt, pepper and ginger. Leave to marinate while you cook the mung beans.
- Cook mung beans in a pot of boiling water until tender. Drain and mash.
- In a large pot, heat oil.
- Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate.
- Discard half of the oil.
- Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened.
- Add chiles and tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes, until softened.
- Add lemon juice, coconut milk, mung beans, 1 cup water and chilantro. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Add chicken and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.