Black beans are a staple in South American cuisine ,here in Kenya they remain a preserve of central Kenya.
Black beans in parts of Kenya are a delicacy especially given to expectant and breast-feeding mothers to boost milk production as well as aid in aiding the mothers recovery after child-birth.
The folate in the beans is especially good for the development of the nervous system in a foetus and may help prevent spina bifida that is caused by lack of folate.
Spina bifida(open spine) is a congenital condition where the spine is not completely developed.
Black beans need to feature in every pregnant womans diet.Its high iron content is also great for pregnant women and any individuals who need to boost their Hb(Haemoglobin) levels
The black bean or njahi is a very nutritionally rich food,its high in protein,folate ,iron,vitamin B6,calcium,magnesium and phosphorus.
As a legume the soluble fibre that it contains is very good in lowering cholesterol levels.
Black beans make a complete protein when paired with brown rice.Read more about this legumes nutritional benefits here .
When my daughter was born and we were recuperating at home,a friend brought a very tasty dish of mashed black beans and sweet bananas that was out of this world,i am still trying to replicate the recipe.
Here is a recipe i got from my friend Leah that is finger licking good!
1 medium onion
1 large clove of garlic
1 medium carrot
1 medium stalk celery
4 slices bacon (I use the kind with a bit of fat)
1 knorr chicken cube dissolved in a cup of hot water
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
500 grams boiled and drained black beans (njahi)
1. Peel and chop onion, peel and finely chop garlic, peel and coarsely chop carrot, coarsely chop the celery, wash and chop parsley about two tablespoons.
2. Cut bacon into ½-inch strips and fry in a saucepan over medium heat for one minute.
3. Add onion and garlic to the bacon. Cook for about five minutes stirring frequently until onion is tender and begin to turn yellow. Bacon will still be soft. Remove saucepan from heat
4. Stir in the dissolved chicken cube, carrot, parsley, celery, oregano and red pepper. Boil the mixture over high heat, once boiling, reduce heat just so that the food is boiling gently and cook for ten minutes.
5. Place about half a cup of the njahi in a bowl and mash with a folk then stir the whole beans and mashed ones into the saucepan and heat through. Salt to taste.
(I usually do not use pepper because of the young ones in the family, I add either fresh chilli or Tabasco in my plate).
6. Serve with plain white or brown rice