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Coconut Green Grams Recipe: (Ndengu / Pojo)

This recipe involves cooking green grams 9ndengu) in an  instant pot. It is the same even for stovetop cooking. This recipe is Swahili(African) although it is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine. Green gram Beans in Kenya are known as ndengu or pojo in Tanzania.

Green grams(ndengu) are not just your average legumes or beans, they are mighty. They are a better protein source that is easier to digest than red, kidney, or rosecoco beans, ( that may cause bloating and gas) if you are on a plant-based diet.

They also cook quicker, less than 12 minutes on a pressure cooker while ordinary beans will take up to 40 minutes.

These ndengu are also a good option in switching up things, say from lentils (kamande); if you are vegan. Also, they are generally cheaper; you can get a giant bag for a low price tag compared to other legumes like the expensive lentils.

With all these advantages, mung beans are however not that popular, this is probably because there are limited ways in which you can cook them the common one being just currying them up.

Other ways to make use of green grams include; making sprouts, making soups, or making Korean mung bean pancakes.

In this recipe, we will just make curry from them with the help of coconut milk, some aromatics, and spices.


Ingredients

Basic Ingredients for Green Grams/ Ndengu
Basic Ingredients for Green Grams/ Ndengu
  1. 2 Cups, Dry Green Grams
  2. 2 Tomatoes, Medium
  3. 1  Spring Onion, Bunch
  4. 3-5, Garlic, Cloves
  5. 1 Fresh Coriander(Dhania), Bunch
  6. Salt & Pepper
  7. 60ml, Coconut Cream
  8. 1Tsp, Curry Powder
  9. 1/2 Tsp, Turmeric [OPTIONAL]
  10. Mixed Bell Peppers [OPTIONAL]
  11. 1/2 Tsp Cumin, [OPTIONAL]
  •  Feel free to skip any optional ingredients, but is highly recommended. Personally, I didn’t use any of the optional ones for this recipe.
  •  If you are using coconut milk instead, double the amount for the coconut cream.
  •  This serves 2 people, so adjust the recipe accordingly.

Procedure

  •  Add your green grams to a pot, add enough water to cover their surface, and salt it, (1tbs salt is adequate)
  •  Cook your dry green grams till soft, the easiest way is to use a pressure cooker or an  instant pot. 
  •  10 minutes under pressure cooking function, allow to sit for an additional 3 minutes before releasing the pressure does the job well.
  •  If you are stove cooking it will take you longer, but ensure the pot is covered to reduce time even further.
Boiled Green Grams
  •  Now drain the green grams of water into a separate container( to prevent further cooking), as green grams overcook very easily and turn mushy.
  •  Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and aromatics; slice up onions, and grate tomatoes and garlic. You can chop them but grating(or blending) gives the smoothest texture.
Tomatoes, Spring Onion, Garlic
  •  Use saute or stew mode on your cooker, to cook the onions till transparent, add garlic, and cook till fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it burns off easily, and will ruin your dish. Add tomatoes at this stage to prevent that.
  •  After the tomatoes go in, add salt, just a pinch to help breakdown the tomatoes further, and also to give them flavor depth for the resultant food. Once the tomatoes are withered and jammy, add coconut cream to the milk.
Cooking green grams/ ndengu
  •  Mix everything till homogeneous, and the mixture starts bubbling. Add chopped-up coriander (dhania) leaves at this point, mix and now go in with your dry cooked ndengu/ green grams.
  •  Coat it all with the sauce and reduce heat to low on a stove. If you are using a pressure cooker/ instant pot then change the mode to slow cooking, and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes till the doneness you desire. Add dry spices at the last 3 minutes.
  •  You can adjust the thickness of the curry by adding that drained green gram water from the boiling phase,( if it is too thick).

Results

Coconut Curried Green Grams/ Ndengu
Coconut Curried Green Grams
  •  This is what you should end up with, it is okay if yours is lighter, I love mine on the thicker side.
  •  You can make the dish more appealing and appetizing by adding tomato paste and turmeric. The paste will give it a deep red color and turmeric will give it the extra yellow vibrancy.
  •  Serve while warm, but not steaming hot, when too hot you can’t taste the flavors, instead, it’ll be the tongue burns.

Serving Suggestions

Chapati and Ndengu
Chapati and Ndengu

Ndengu goes best with chapatis and white rice. I can’t think of any other starch that goes well. Just ensure there is enough curry or soup to get soaked up.

Ndengu doesn’t go great with ugali, it just doesn’t like ugali with beans. If you want another option that is not chapati or rice, it will be mashed potatoes


NDENGU COCONUT

Coconut Ndengu (Pojo)

Coconut ndengu or Pojo is an East African dish made with mung beans(green grams) cooked in coconut milk and spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
This creamy, nutritious stew is typically served with rice, chapati, or ugali and is a popular, protein-rich vegetarian meal.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine AFRICAN, KENYAN
Servings 2
Calories 184 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Pressure Cooker Optional

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Green Grams
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 bunch Spring Onions
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 bunch Fresh Coriander(Dhania)
  • 60 ml Coconut Cream
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder OPTIONAL
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin OPTIONAL
  • 1 Bell Pepper OPTIONAL

Instructions
 

  • Prepare and cook green grams with salted water until soft.
    Drain and set aside the green grams.
  • Sauté onions until transparent.
    Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
    Add grated tomatoes and a pinch of salt.
    Cook until tomatoes are jammy.
  • Mix in coconut cream.
    Add coriander leaves.
    Add the cooked green grams and mix.
  • Simmer until the desired doneness.
    Adjust thickness with reserved cooking water if needed.
    Add dry spices in the last few minutes.

Notes

  • Best Brand for Ndengu: Daawat, Butterfly, and Pearl are the best-quality brands available.
  • Best Brand of Coconut Milk/Cream in Kenya: Kara and Kentaste are the recommended brands for quality and value offerings.
Keyword CHAPO NDENGU, GREEN GRAMS, MUNG BEANS, NDENGU, POJO

Green Grams(Ndengu) Nutrition 

  •  Ndengu( green grams) contains 24g of protein per 100g.
  •  If you’re considering the cooked version, divide by roughly ~2.5. So, for the cooked version, the protein content might be around 24g/2.5 = 9.6g per 100g.
  1. Calorie Distribution:
    •  The total calorie content is 350 calories per 100g.
    •  This is less than 1/3 of it is protein, which aligns with the fact that protein provides 4 calories per gram, and 24g of protein would contribute 96 calories (24g * 4 calories/g). So, protein accounts for approximately 27.4% of the total calories (96 calories / 350 calories).

In summary, green grams are relatively high in carbohydrates compared to protein, with protein contributing less than 1/3 of the total calories. Suppose you’re specifically looking for a more concentrated source of protein. In that case, you may want to explore other options that provide a higher protein-to-calorie ratio, like omena, eggs, and chicken breast.


FAQs

Best brand for ndengu? Daawat, Butterfly, and Pearl are the best-quality brands available 

What is the best brand of coconut milk/ cream in Kenya? Kara and Kentaste are the recommended brands for quality and value offerings.

What is the English name for ndengu? Green grams or mung beans. However, mung beans and green grams are different species even tho it is hard to tell them apart.

What is the other name of ndengu? Pojo, it is the official Swahili name used in Kenyan coastal communities and in mainland Tanzania.

How do you boil green grams quickly? Use a pressure cooker, if you don’t have one, soak the green grams in water for at least an hour before cooking

What are the advantages of eating ndengu? They cook quicker than beans, they don’t cause bloating or gas unlike beans, and they are very cheap compared to other legumes.

How much is 1kg of green grams in Kenya? For most brands, it will be less than KSh 200 as of 2024; here are the different brands and their prices;

  •  Pearl 1Kg is KSh 178
  •  Daawat KSh 195
  •  Amana KSh 195
  •  Asanta KSh 205
  •  Carrefour Brand KSh 199
  •  Butterfly KSh 220
  •  Nutrameal KSh 225

What are the side effects of ndengu/ green grams? They have a higher starch content than other legumes and thus may not be good for weight loss.


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