Traditional Vegan Food

Are traditional vegan food less nutritious than exotic ones? This misconceptions has led to a sharp increase of nutrition related diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart diseases due to poor eating habits.

Traditional vegan food have the potential to eliminate nutritional deficiencies among vulnerable groups such as children and expectant mothers such as anaemia, ulcerated conditions of throats and ring worms. They have also been effective in management of HIV-AIDS.

Why African Leafy Vegetables?

For 100 g of mchicha (Amaranth), you  are likely to get 13 times more iron than a similar helping of cabbage; nine times more calcium, two and a half times as much phosphorus and 57 times as much vitamin A precursor.

Cabbage on the other hand, is 90 % water! Red terere (Amaranthus sp.) common in Uganda, and popularly known as edoodo, is good for your eye sight. Among the Luo people, managu (black nightshade) forms an important part of the diet to protect against stomach infections which cause severe diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, flatulence, fatigue and vomiting.

Mitoo (Crotalaria, African sunhemp) is a good source of vitamin E, a powerful anti-cancer agent! So next time you buy your vegetables, think about how much healthier you will be if you just pick up a bunch of spinach, mchicha or whatever your mix is.

This short vegan recipes demonstrates nutritionally accepted methods of cooking that can fit in both modern and traditional kitchen

Vegan Relishes

Mitoo and Mlenda (jute) in fresh milk
Ingredients
  • 500 g mitoo leaves
  • 2 bunches jute leaves
  • 2 cups of water
  • 5 tbsp traditional salt
  • 1 cup fresh milk
Preparation
  1. Pluck leaves from the stalks of both vegetables
  2. Wash the mitoo and mlenda, drain and cut
  3. Mix traditional salt with 2 cups of water
  4. Add salt to taste (optional)
  5. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes
  6. Add the mixture of mitoo and mlenda leaves into boiling traditional salt
  7. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring. Ensure the vegetable does not spill over as mlenda foams when cooked with traditional salt
  8. Add fresh milk, stir gently and simmer for 5 minutes
  9. Serve warm with ugali
  10. Serve 3 - 4 people
Use the same recipe for cooking the following;
  • Cowpea leaves mixed with mitoo
  • Mitoo mixed with pumpkin
  • Pumpkin leaves cooked alone
  • Cowpea leaves mixed with mlenda
  • Nderma (vine spinach) mixed pumpkin leaves
Remarks:
The above vegetables can be fried and other additives like sesame paste, groundnut paste, peanut butter, coconut milk cream or sour milk to mask bitterness or enhance their taste. Traditional salt makes the vegetable tender and fixes the green color.

Mtsunga (milky, bitter lettuce)
Ingredients
  • 500 g nightshade
  • 400 g amaranth
  • 200 g mtsunga
  • 2 cups of thick coconut milk
  • 2 medium sized onions diced
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes diced
  • Salt to taste (optional)
Preparation
  1. Boil lettuce for 10 minutes. Pour out the water to reduce the bitterness
  2. Add fresh water to the pot and let lettuce to boil for 5 minutes
  3. Add the nightshade and amaranth and cook for 10 minutes
  4. Cut the onions and tomatoes and add to the vegetable, stir
  5. Add coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes
  6. Serve with ugali

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