Ndengu Recipe

Discover the magic of Ndengu with our Kenyan Green Gram Stew recipe. Dive into East African flavors – simple, nutritious, and utterly delicious! #NdenguRecipe



  • Cuisine: Kenyan
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 250 calories

About Ingredients Instructions Video Servings Tips Substitutes

Ndengu, commonly known as green grams, holds a significant place in East African cuisine, particularly in Kenyan culinary traditions. These small, green legumes are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. Known for their versatility, ndengu find their way into various dishes, adding both substance and flavor.

In Kenyan households, ndengu is often transformed into a hearty stew, as I shared in the previous recipe. The preparation involves soaking the green grams overnight, allowing them to swell and soften, making them easier to cook. The resulting stew is a delightful blend of spices, tomatoes, onions, and aromatic herbs, creating a comforting and nutritious dish.

Beyond stews, ndengu appears in salads, snacks, and even desserts in different East African regions. Its adaptability makes it a staple in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets, contributing not only to the taste but also to the overall nutritional profile of meals.

While ndengu is appreciated for its culinary contributions, it also plays a crucial role in sustainable agriculture. Being a leguminous crop, it enriches the soil by fixing nitrogen, benefiting subsequent crops in rotation. This dual role, both in the kitchen and the field, underscores the cultural and agricultural significance of ndengu in East Africa.

Whether enjoyed in a simple stew or incorporated into more complex dishes, ndengu embodies the essence of wholesome, sustainable, and flavorful cuisine in the region.


Embark on a culinary journey with our Kenyan Ndengu Stew recipe – a flavorful symphony of spices, protein-rich green grams, and aromatic herbs. Let's savor the taste of East Africa together! 🌿🍲 #NdenguRecipe #KenyanCuisine


  • 1 cup green grams (ndengu), soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Method Instructions

  1. Start by draining the soaked green grams and rinsing them thoroughly.
  2. In a pot, heat a bit of cooking oil and sauté the chopped onion until golden brown.
  3. Add minced garlic and grated ginger to the onions. Sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Toss in the diced tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil starts separating.
  5. Time to add the dry spices - turmeric, cumin, coriander, and salt. Stir well to coat the ingredients.
  6. Incorporate the soaked green grams into the mixture. Stir and let them mingle with the spices for a couple of minutes.
  7. Pour in enough water to cover the green grams, and bring the stew to a boil.
  8. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let it cook until the green grams are tender. This might take around 30-40 minutes.
  9. Keep an eye on the water level, adding more if necessary.
  10. Once the green grams are cooked to your liking, garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve this hearty ndengu stew with rice, chapati, or just enjoy it on its own. It's a nutritious and satisfying dish that never fails to hit the spot!

Recipe Video


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Recipe Tags: Ndengu, Ndengu Recipe, Recipe


Serving ndengu can be a delightful experience, given its versatility and ability to complement various dishes. Here are a few ways you can serve ndengu:

  • Ndengu Stew with Rice: Serve the prepared ndengu stew over a bed of steamed rice. The combination of the flavorful stew and fluffy rice creates a satisfying and balanced meal.
  • Ndengu Chapati Wrap: Use ndengu as a filling for chapati wraps. Spread a spoonful of the stew onto a warm chapati, add some fresh vegetables if desired, and roll it up for a tasty and portable meal.
  • Ndengu Salad: Create a refreshing ndengu salad by mixing cooked green grams with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and herbs. Toss it with a light vinaigrette for a nutritious and vibrant side dish.
  • Ndengu Side Dish: Serve ndengu as a side dish alongside grilled meats or other main courses. Its earthy flavor and protein content make it a great complement to a variety of dishes.
  • Ndengu Snack: Prepare ndengu as a flavorful snack. You can enjoy it on its own or sprinkle it with a bit of lemon juice and chaat masala for an extra kick.
  • Ndengu and Ugali: Pair ndengu with traditional Kenyan ugali for a classic and hearty combination. The soft, porridge-like texture of ugali contrasts well with the texture of the ndengu stew.
  • Ndengu Curry: Transform ndengu into a curry by adding coconut milk and additional spices. Serve it with naan or rice for a fusion dish with rich flavors.


  1. Soaking Time: Ensure you soak the green grams overnight. This not only reduces the cooking time but also aids in better digestion and nutrient absorption.
  2. Spice Adjustment: Adjust the spices according to your taste preferences. If you enjoy a bit more heat, consider adding a chopped chili pepper or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  3. Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger for optimal flavor. Fresh ingredients can significantly elevate the taste of the stew.
  4. Herb Garnish: Don't skip the fresh cilantro garnish. It adds a burst of freshness to the dish, enhancing both the flavor and visual appeal.
  5. Consistency Control: Keep an eye on the water level while cooking. If the stew becomes too thick, you can add more water to achieve your desired consistency.
  6. Customization: Feel free to customize the recipe by adding vegetables like spinach, kale, or bell peppers for added color and nutrition.
  7. Accompaniments: Experiment with different accompaniments. Whether it's rice, chapati, or even crusty bread, choose what complements your preferences.
  8. Cooking Vessel: Use a heavy-bottomed pot to prevent the stew from sticking to the bottom during the cooking process. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  9. Leftovers: This stew tends to develop even richer flavors the next day. Consider making a bit extra for delicious leftovers.
  10. Nutritional Boost: To enhance the nutritional content, you can incorporate other legumes or vegetables. This not only adds variety but also boosts the dish's overall health benefits.

Ingredient Substitutes

Furthermore, if you find yourself missing some ingredients for the Kenyan Green Gram Stew (Ndengu) recipe, here are some potential substitutes:

  1. Green Grams (Ndengu): Substitute with lentils, chickpeas, or any other small legume of your choice. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the legume you choose.
  2. Fresh Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes or tomato sauce can be used as a substitute. Adjust the quantity to match the desired tomato flavor.
  3. Fresh Cilantro: Parsley or fresh coriander leaves can be used as an alternative for cilantro. They provide a similar herby freshness.
  4. Ginger and Garlic: Use ginger and garlic paste as a convenient substitute. Alternatively, powdered ginger and garlic can be used, adjusting the quantity to taste.
  5. Spice Mix: If you don't have individual spice powders, you can use curry powder or garam masala as a substitute. Be mindful of the salt content in these blends.
  6. Cooking Oil: Olive oil, vegetable oil, or any cooking oil of your preference can be used interchangeably.
  7. Onion: Yellow onions, red onions, or even shallots can be used as substitutes for white onions.
  8. Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander: These spices can be substituted with a pre-made curry powder or your preferred spice blend.
  9. Rice (for serving): Substitute with quinoa, couscous, or any other grain of your choice.
  10. Fresh Vegetables: Customize the stew by adding vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or spinach based on availability and personal preferences.


As you savor the rich flavors of Kenyan Ndengu, remember: every dish tells a story. Here's to creating culinary memories and embracing the warmth of East African tradition. Happy cooking! 🌍🍲 #NdenguMagic #KenyanCuisine

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