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Melissa Hemsley shares her Kenyan Kidney Bean Coconut Curry (Barazi)

Photo credits: top left Philippa Landley | top right, bottom left and right Chris Terry


I visited beautiful Kenya as a Fair Trade Ambassador to meet with coffee farmers and their communities to see the impact that a ‘fair price’ has on them, their families and children’s education, as well as the effects that climate change was having on their coffee bushes. While there I fell in love with Kenyan greens, which came as a side to everything. Local mixed greens simmered with lots of onion and sometimes a little tomato. This quick kidney bean curry is based on the Kenyan classic 'Barazi' and is simple, adaptable and full of flavour.

Feeds 4, takes 30 minutes

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons oil

1–2 small fresh green chillies or a little chilli powder, to taste

3cm piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large red/orange/yellow pepper, chopped

2 sweet potatoes or potatoes, or a few handfuls of root veg like squash, chopped into 1cm cubes

400g fresh tomatoes and 1 tablespoon tomato purée or 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk

400ml vegetable/chicken stock or bone broth

560g cooked kidney or red haricot beans (2 x 400g drained tins’ worth, rinsed)

200g leafy greens, finely chopped

1 large handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chop the stems too

Sea salt and black pepper


2 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

  1. Fry the onion in the oil in a medium saucepan for 5 minutes while you get on with chopping everything else.

  2. Add the spices, chilli, ginger and garlic to the pan as they’re ready and keep frying for another 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.

  3. Add the pepper, potato, tomatoes, coconut milk and stock, then simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes, lid on.

  4. Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes, lid off, then stir through the greens for a few minutes to wilt (spinach will take a minute, hardier greens like kale or chard will take 3–4 minutes). Season to taste and sprinkle over the coriander leaves to serve.

Lovely served with chapattis or rice

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