This weekend was the end of Ramadan and we wanted to share in the celebrations by sharing food and spending time with our friends and neighbors. I made some maharagwe wa nazi (beans with coconut) as it is very popular here and I know how to make it (the real deciding factor). I thought I should document the process since it is pretty amazing. The process is longer and involves some interesting kitchen items that we do not have back home but the women here are always happy to teach a clueless Mzungu how to cook Swahili food. They were shocked that someone my age could survive in the world this long with knowing how to scrape coconut. Different skill sets needed here for sure. Here is a bit of the process:

the mbuzi (literally goat)…not a torture devise despite it’s appearance

First you crack the coconut open and get rid of the water inside

Zawadi “helps” by reaching her hand in and stealing fresh coconut while I use the mbuzi to kuna nazi (scrape coconut) , lots of repetitive hand motions
the goat teeth at work!! Those suckers are sharp!!
I offer a couple of sliced hands the first few times I tried as proof!

on the left after you crack the nazi open, on the right after you scrape it

the fresh coconut….then you add hot water and squeeze and squeeze and then strain to get the coconut milk

Anni and I handed out many bowls of maharagwe wa nazi and of course banana muffins as Ramadan gifts to our neighbors. We got many goodies in return as well and it feels great to be a part of the community here. I thought I would share the recipe in case anyone wanted a taste of our lil island.
Maharagwe wa nazi– beans with coconut
1lb kidney beans
1-2 small onions
1-2 fresh hot peppers (if you like)
1 tomato
1-2 cups coconut milk
Tsp. salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of any of the following: cumin, turmeric, or coriander
Our first step is to sort the bugs, rocks, and twigs out of the beans and wash them but if you buy from a store where things are sealed you can skip that part! Soak the beans overnight in warm water. Then add water and boil until beans are soft (not done but softer). Slice tomato and chop onion and add to the pot (you can also add the spices and hot peppers at this time) and then add coconut milk and cook until sauce thickens and beans are soft. The total cooking time is usually 2-4 hours (that is why I love my sun oven but I think you could use a crock pot) Serve with chapatis or rice and a tomato, onion, and lime juice salad….…yummy Swahili meal!
  1. Anonymous says:

    Eat up, because you won't be getting that here, unless youmake it! But I do have Arby's, Subway, Chilies, etc. :)Anything I have to have for your first night home for you or Anni? We can get stuff later, but with jet lag, we don't want to go grocery shopping right off the plane.

  2. Anonymous says:

    is that the same recipe you sent me for lentils and coconut?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Katie- is a slightly different but many recipes have coconut here- they love it…me too 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm happy for the recipe. I had already purchased coconut milk several weeks aso thinking I'd like to make this, as we loved it when we were there. I just wish I had some fresh chapatis to eat with it, but I guess we'll have to settle for rice.