March 7, 2014

Canadian Mukimo Recipe

Mukimo is a traditional Kenyan dish primarily common amongst ethnic groups from the Eastern and Central parts of Kenya. This main dish is usually present in major ceremonies or functions such as weddings, graduations, funerals and fundraising events. There are several ways to prepare mukimo and this can cause a slight variation in the ingredients used. I personally prefer a ‘green’ mukimo because I substitute protein that I would acquire from red kidney beans, black beans or pigeon peas with that of a meat side dish. In Kenya my family prepares mukimo with the following ingredients:
·         Shelled, fresh white corn
·         Irish potatoes
·         Kahurura (Pumpkin leaves)
·         Butter or margarine
Asian stores in bigger cities carry fresh sweet white and yellow corn and either one of the varieties can be used in the preparation of mukimo. Sweet corn is available throughout Ontario in late July to the Fall season.
Irish potatoes enable the mukimo to have a fine texture similar to that of mashed potatoes at the very end of the meal preparation. I recently discovered from a family member that lima beans (commonly known as butter beans) could be used as a substitute to Irish potatoes. Lima beans are a good source of fiber, as are most other legumes according to a study by Trinidad et al. (2009). Their fiber content provides health benefits in the prevention against chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and diabetes (Trinidad et al. 2009; George Matlijan Foundation 2014). Lima beans are also rich in protein thus making them a good choice for individuals looking to cut down on carbohydrates obtained from Irish potatoes. It is important to note that purchasing dried lima beans will require an extra preparation step which I will highlight in the instructions below.
It would be great if pumpkin leaves and/or pumpkin powder were sold in an ethno-cultural vegetable section in local grocery stores however; spinach or fresh green peas are good nutritious alternatives to pumpkin leaves or pumpkin powder. Some people actually prefer using green peas to either one of the green leafy vegetables in their mukimo.
Below is a new list of ingredients and instructions on how to prepare mukimo.
·         Fresh sweet white corn or yellow corn
·         Spinach or fresh green peas
·         Dried lima beans
·         Butter or margarine
·         Salt to taste
1.      Before washing the dried lima beans, spread them out on a lightly colored tray or plate and remove any stones or damaged beans.
2.      Rinse the beans thoroughly then proceed to soaking them in water for at least 8 hours or overnight. This shortens their cooking time and makes them easier to digest.
3.      Drain the liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.
4.      Place the beans in a pot and add three cups of water for every cup of beans then bring them to a boil for 30 minutes. Do not add any salt or seasonings before the beans are cooked, as this will harden them and increase their cooking time.
5.      Sprinkle some salt once beans are cooked and add some more water, the corn and peas/spinach to the mixture and boil for another 30 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked. It is advisable not to stir the mixture until the very last step.
6.      Once satisfied with the cooking, drain the remaining water and let the mixture simmer under low heat.
7.      Mix and mash the mixture. Add some butter/margarine for flavor. Continue mixing and mashing ensuring that the corn, beans and peas/spinach are evenly spread.
8.      The final product should be (light) green in color with a very fine texture and should neither be too dry or too moist.
Serve with beef or chicken stew or a soup of your choice.
Lima beans. (2014). The George Mateljan Foundation. Retrieved from
Recipe Instructions adapted from: African Cook. (2013). Retrieved from

Trinidad, T. P., Mallillin, A. C., Loyola, A. S., Sagum, R. S., and Encabo, R. R. (2009). The potential health benefits of legumes as a good source of dietary fibre. British Journal of Nutrition, 103, 569-574. 

Angela Kabii
Undergraduate Research Assistant
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