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Chapati With Beans Recipe: The Default Campus Cuisine

Chapati and beans is a Kenyan cuisine commonly referred to as Chapo-Beans. In campus, this is the default lunch dish while the default dinner is Ugali Mayai (Ugali and Egg Stew). Someone on Twitter said; “After campus, you will have eaten at least 3,000 chapatis and over 250 kg of beans” and I couldn’t agree more.

Before we talk chapo beans, let’s talk chapati. This is an unleavened flatbread heavily influenced by Indian culture, almost the same as the Indian equivalent, roti. Chapatis have an African touch to them, so they are not the same thing. For this recipe we don’t use any chapatis, but flaky chapatis for the best results. In case you are wondering what are flaky chapatis; These are commonly known as ‘‘chapo za layers” which translates to ‘layered chapatis’. Layered chapatis are special because they are crumbly and flaky thus they slap harder with the beans stew. Or like the Gen-Z’s would say, ‘bussing’. 

For the beans, we need them cooked perfectly, but not overcooked. Also, we need a thick consistent soup to pair well. Not overly thick like bean curry, but not thin either, just a perfectly balanced bean stew will do just fine. You are free to use any bean variety, but I used rosecoco which is my favorite. Seriously, why are you smiling? SMH

With everything ready, we now pair them, and spoiler alert…They’ll go together like sushi and chicken legs!


Ingredients

Cuisine: Kenyan(African) Serves   Cooking time > 2hrs 30 minutes 

You can multiply the ingredients as you desire

a) For Bean Stew

  •  2 cups, Beans
  •  6 cups, Water
  •  2 tbs, Vegetable Oil
  •  Salt
  •  2 Medium Tomatoes
  •  1 Medium Onion
  •  1Inch, Fresh Ginger
  •  1 Bunch, Coriander(Cilantro),(Dhania)
  •  3 Garlic Cloves
  •  1 tbs, Garam Masala or Curry Powder (OPTIONAL)
  •  1 tsp, Onion Powder (OPTIONAL)
  •  1/4, Medium Bell Pepper(OPTIONAL)

b) For Flaky Chapatis

  •  2 Cups, All Purpose Flour
  •  1 Cup Water-Hot
  •  1/2 Cup Vegetable or Sunflower Oil
  •  1 Tsp Sugar
  •  A Pinch of Salt
  •  1/4 Cup Extra Flour for Dusting

Procedure

Let’s start with beans because they cook longer. This entire dish ain’t a quick one and you gonna need at least 2 hours if you are fast and prepared. This is just a perfect weekend meal if you make everything from scratch. Spent 2 hours just to eat it all in 10 minutes, I feel scammed of my time. 

Pro tip: Cook large portions and store the leftovers for the next meal or for the next day

a) Cooking Beans

  1. Boil your beans in salted water till cooked and soft on the inside, this will take under 40 minutes on the pressure cooker, or up to 2 hours on the stovetop. (refer to the notes section below for more info). While your beans are boiling, start working on the chapatis as outlined in part (b) of this section.
  2. To a saucepan add oil, and onions, then cook till translucent before proceeding to add garlic, ginger, bell peppers, and tomatoes(don’t add fresh coriander at this stage).
  3. Cook and cover till tomatoes have broken down, drain your beans and add them to the cooking aromatics, cook for like 2 minutes on low then add the drained bean soup, cook till reduced on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add more drained bean soup, enough to submerge your beans,  just like a descendant of House of Mumbi. Don’t panic my child, it will reduce and thicken later.
  5. Add your dry spices in no particular order, then reduce heat to low and allow your beans to stew on low heat for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Ensure everything is covered to avoid drying out.
  6. After cooking to your satisfaction, garnish with chopped fresh coriander and cover, that is it you are done  with beans. The spices and slow simmering will have thickened your soup at this point.
Bean Stew, Maharagwe
Bean Stew

b) Making Chapatis

I will just outline the summary for chapatis. If you want a full in-depth article on flaky chapatis click here

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, butter or vegetable oil, and all the dry ingredients with a whisk till homogeneous.
  2. Add water a little at a time while combining with your hand or a hand mixer, and knead your dough till smooth. Cover it with a cling film (plastic wrap) or a damp kitchen cloth let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Punch the dough, knead it for just under 5 minutes then proceed to cut into 4 portions. Roll out the individual portion into circles, oil the top side of each with a silicone brush then fold the circle to form a strip or rope. Roll the strip around your thumb to form a disc (donut-shaped) and roll the end of the rope into the hole.
  4. Rest the dough for additional 15 minutes to form the layers and flakes. After, roll it out on a flat surface into circles, just to a thickness of around 2cm.
  5. In a pan with medium heat, add your chapati and cook till bubbles form on the upper side, flip and cook the opposite side, take off the heat, and repeat for the remaining chapatis.
  6. Repeat step 5 for each but make sure you are brushing oil over them this time, and allowing them to cook longer till slightly brown and charred with a leopard pattern on both sides.
Flaky Chapatis, Layered Chapatis
Flaky Chapatis

Check the full guide linked above for more notes and tips

Cover your hot chapatis in aluminum foil to preserve freshness, while you reheat your cooled-down bean stew


Serving

a) Method 1

1. Roll your chapati into halves and then quarters to form a triangular cone-like shape as shown below, since this chapati is flaky it will tear out which is perfectly fine. 

The flakes give a large surface area to volume ratio for absorption of the bean stew, Yeah, Science, Mr. White!

Flaky Soft Chapati Beans
Chapati

2. Dip your chapati into the beans stew as shown in the initial image at the beginning of the post, soak the chapati well, and take a bite, repeat this till your chapati is done and. move on to the next serving

Chapo Beans
Chapati with beans

b) Method 2

If you are feeling extra childish, you can just shred the chapati into pieces and combine it with your stew, then eat everything together with a spoon or fork. This is not my go-to, since the chapati gets extremely soggy which disgusts me.

Dipping for a while like I do, allows for the stew absorption without compromising the crunchiness of the chapatis’ outer layers


Notes

  •  While pressure cooking saves energy and time, slow cooking on a stovetop or a pressure cooker will give the best results due to the slow and delicate cooking. The flavors will be richer 
  •  Soak your beans before cooking to reduce the cooking time. Soaking your beans overnight will soften your beans and cut your cooking time down by 1/3
  •  You are free to use any bean variety, green beans of any variety are more flavorful and cook quicker (in less than 25 minutes), cook those instead if you can get your hands on them
  •  You can skip out on spices or substitute your favorite ones that accompany stews well. If you are wondering which other spices you should use check this post
  •  If you don’t have the time just buy pre-boiled beans and just stew them up

Nutritional Information

a) Bean Stew

Entire Recipe Serving: Calories: 397 

% Daily Value* Total Fat 28.1g 36% Saturated Fat 5.5g 27% Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 185mg 8% Total Carbohydrate 35.5g 13% Dietary Fiber 12.8g 46% Total Sugars 14.2g   Protein 7.4g   

Vitamin D 0mcg 0% Calcium 131mg 10% Iron 3mg 18% Potassium 1203mg 26% 

b) Chapati

 Entire Recipe Serving: Calories 1,150 

% Daily Value* Total Fat 29.7g 38% Saturated Fat 5.7g 29% Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 5mg 0% Total Carbohydrate 190.8g 69% Dietary Fiber 6.8g 24% Total Sugars 0.7g  

Vitamin D 0mcg 0% Calcium 38mg 3% Iron 12mg 64% Potassium 268mg 6% 

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Disclaimer

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and may vary based on ingredients, cooking methodology, and quantities used. This should only be used for informational purposes and not for dietary advice. 


Thoughts

While you can buy chapati with beans from the Kibandasky (food stalls), they will never be on the same level as these homemade ones. Not only is everything rich with no quality compromises but also made with love, just like how Spongebob cooks Krabby Patties 😉


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