Get In My Belly

Long ago, we discussed our difficulty with finding rice that did not have bugs in it.  Although we did not have this struggle with beans, we did struggle to learn how to properly cook Tanzanian beans!  After several trials and errors, we now eat tasty Tanzanian beans on a regular basis.  As you can see in the photo below, the beans are green when they are dry.  However, as you can see in the next photo, once the beans are cooked they turn brown and look like pinto beans.  The taste is also very similar to pinto beans, but when the Tanzanian secret ingredients are added, the beans take on an entirely different flavor!  The secret ingredient is none other than coconut milk!  Melissa is not a huge fan of coconut, but we both LOVE the flavor and frequently eat the beans. 

The ELCT office serves lunch daily to the employees and during the beginning of our work here, they begged us to eat with them.  We told them that we were happy eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and didn’t want to add to their expenses, but we finally compromised and we now join them on rice and beans day, which is Tuesday.  They all laugh at us because they believe that “Mzungus” normally eat a lot of meat, but we love rice and beans day and look forward to it every week!

Tanzanian Beans

2 cups of dry beans (not sure where you’ll find these green beans, but let us know if you find them!)

1 carrot, shredded or cut into very tiny pieces

1 green bell pepper, cut into small pieces

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1 tsp. olive oil

1.5 cups coconut milk

Place the beans in a pot with a lid.  Cover the beans with water so that there is an inch or two of water on top of the beans.  Let the beans soak overnight.  The next day, pour out the water and put fresh water in the pot.  The water should cover the beans by an inch.  Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are soft.  In the meantime, put the chopped carrot, green bell pepper, garlic, and onion in a pan with olive oil.  Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes or until they start to brown.  When the beans are done, pour out most of the remaining water.  Add the vegetables and coconut milk.  Continue to cook the beans for a few more minutes. Pour the beans over rice and enjoy!   

It’s Melissa’s brother’s 20th birthday today!  Happy Birthday Ross!  Cook some Tanzanian beans and have a great birthday!!!


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