Githeri is a traditional Kenyan dish that is made with beans and corn. It’s typically served alongside other dishes, such as maize flour porridge or roti (wheat flatbread). The word “Githeri” means mixed in Swahili. This delicious dish comes together in 25 minutes and combines many flavours to create a hearty meal. It has been said to be the staple food of Kenya for centuries.

a brown clay pot filled to the top with githeri (Kenyan beans and corn) with 2 stalks of scallions sticking out. Angled shot.

“Thank you it’s the best.” ~Edna

It’s made by members of the Kikuyu tribe, who are known for this dish and typically use red beans in their recipes. Green mung beans or black-eyed peas, on the other hand, may be used in preparations by different tribal communities in Kenya.

Interestingly, it’s reported that it’s popularly served in boarding schools across Africa.

I guess you could think of it as a one-pot beans stew – it’s so flavorful and nutritious.

Friends, gather up these nourishing pantry foods: red beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, broth, spices, and let me show you how to make githeri.

In a nutshell, preparing the dish is simple. It’s done in under 30 minutes. It’s also incredibly versatile; you could easily replace kidney beans with other types of beans or even utilize lentils.

I’m always amazed at how wonderful it tastes every time I make it. Plus, the kids can never get enough…you may want to double up the recipe to enjoy leftovers for school lunches.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need:

graphic showing ingredients needed to make githeri (Kenyan beans and corn stew)
  • Kidney beans. Canned kidney beans may be used in place of dried kidney beans. Rinse the beans thoroughly. On occasion, when I need a lot of beans for a recipe, I have cooked raw kidney beans in the pressure cooker and frozen them for a longer shelf life. This way, I can use them in a variety of dishes. Just remember to soak dry beans overnight before cooking them. Soaking beans helps to remove the gassy-producing components and makes them more digestible.
  • Corn kernels: canned or frozen – both work wonders. Drain any excess liquid if you are opting for canned corn. If you don’t like corn, opt for green peas instead…they make a fine substitution in this recipe.
  • Tomatoes: Fresh or canned tomatoes may be used. You’ll need two large-sized tomatoes; I prefer to use plum tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes, on the other hand, result in a less runny sauce, making the dish ideal for roti or tortilla wraps. But the runny version goes well with rice or quinoa.
  • Spices: Curry powder (preferably, Madras) and smoked paprika are ideal. Curry powder is a hot, bright yellow blend of spices that typically consists of turmeric, coriander seed (cilantro), cumin seeds, fennels seed, mustard seeds and chilli pepper powder.
  • Onions: White onion is utilized to make the sauce, while a scallion stem is sufficient as a garnish.
  • Olive oil: A heart-healthy cooking oil that works well for frying onion and garlic. If you prefer, any sort of cooking oil may be used; however, the taste profile may not be as authentic when oils with an intense flavour profile are utilized.
  • Vegetable broth: Stock is such a great way to add flavour. However, opt for ‘no added salt’ to control your sodium intake. If you don’t have stock on hand, water may be used as a substitute.
  • Garlic: For depth of flavour. Crush or mince fresh cloves, are the best!
  • Cilantro: For a fragrant taste, gently stir in fresh cilantro. I adore cilantro, so it’s often used in my kitchen. The leaves and stems exude heaps of flavour. And;
  • Salt: Sea salt. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount as needed.
a pan pf githeri (kenyan beans and corn dish on a straw mat with herbs and flowers decorated around and a beige scarf styled close by. Close up flatlay shot.

How to make it – step by step

step by step preparation images of how to make githeri (kenyan beans and corn) in a pan on a stove.
  1. In a large pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, saute onions for a couple of minutes until lightly golden and translucent in appearance (Image 1).
  2. Stir in garlic, smoked paprika and curry powder. Cook on low heat while stirring for a minute (Images 2-3).
  3. Now, add tomatoes; cook for three minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and mushy (Images 4-5).
  4. Next, stir in beans, corn kernels, stock and salt; cover the mixture and reduce heat to low-medium (Images 6-7). Simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally (Image 8).
  5. Garnish with spring onion (scallion) and cilantro (Images 9-10).
a brown clay pot filled to the top with githeri (Kenyan beans and corn) with 2 stalks of scallions sticking out. Angle shot

Top tips

  1. For this dish, I prefer canned kidney beans or frozen corn kernels because they’re a time saver. If you don’t enjoy canned foods and want to use dry beans instead, make sure the mixture simmers for a longer period with extra stock or water so that it cooks completely.
  2. Don’t skim on the garnish ingredients. Opt for fresh cilantro as it makes all the difference. The flavour is more potent and fragrant with fresh herbs!
  3. Remember to cook the mixture on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally; allow it to simmer – this will ensure that the dish reaches its optimal consistency.
  4. Prepping ingredients ahead of time is a great way to save time in the kitchen.
a pan pf githeri (kenyan beans and corn dish on a straw mat with herbs and flowers decorated around and a beige scarf styled close by. Flatlay.

Nutrition highlights

  • Potential for Disease Prevention & Heart Health: Thanks to the legumes, which have shown potential in supporting overall health, reducing heart disease risk and improving blood flow.
  • Fibre Champion: Githeri is loaded with fibre, providing almost half your recommended daily intake. This helps your digestion stay on track and promotes a feeling of fullness.
  • Vitamin C Boost: Githeri shines as a great source of vitamin C, giving the immune system a helping hand and contributing to overall well-being.
a brown clay pot filled to the top with githeri (Kenyan beans and corn) with 2 stalks of scallions sticking out. Angles shot on a kitchen counter.

Food safe storage

When properly stored (in an airtight container), leftovers can be kept in the fridge and enjoyed over three days.

Did you try this recipe? Share your feedback in the comments below, rate the recipe, and if you’re feeling extra excited, snap a picture and share it on Instagram tagging me – @DesiliciousRD. Can’t wait to see your creation!

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi
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a brown clay pot filled to the top with githeri (Kenyan beans and corn) with 2 stalks of scallions sticking out. Side angle shot
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Get the Recipe:

25-Minute Githeri Recipe (Kenyan Beans & Corn)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 3 people
Githeri is a traditional Kenyan dish that is made with beans and corn. It's typically served alongside other dishes, such as maize flour porridge or Chapati (wheat flatbread). The word "Githeri" means mixed in Swahili. This delicious dish comes together in 25 minutes and combines many flavours to create a hearty meal. It has been said to be the staple food of Kenya for centuries.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin, Benefits of olive oil
  • 1 onion, medium, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, large, crushed or minced
  • 2 tomatoes, large, washed, diced into small pieces
  • tsp smoked paprika, powder
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups kidney beans, canned, drained
  • 1 cup corn, canned, drained
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock, no added salt
  • 1 tsp salt, sea salt
  • 1 scallion, washed, ends removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh, washed, finely chopped, leaves and stems

Instructions
 

  • In a large pan, add olive oil over medium heat.
  • Once heated, saute onion for a couple of minutes until lightly golden and translucent in appearance.
  • Stir in garlic, smoked paprika and curry powder. Cook on low heat while stirring for one minute until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes; cook for three minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Next, stir in beans, corn kernels, stock and salt; cover the mixture and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Garnish with scallion and cilantro.

Notes

  1. For this dish, I prefer canned kidney beans or frozen corn kernels because they’re a time saver. If you don’t enjoy canned foods and want to use dry beans instead, make sure the mixture simmers for a longer period with extra stock or water so that it cooks completely.
  2. Don’t skim on the garnish ingredients. Opt for fresh cilantro instead. The flavour is more potent and fragrant with fresh herbs!
  3. Remember to cook the mixture on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally; allow it to simmer – this will ensure that the dish reaches its optimal consistency.
  4. Prepping ingredients ahead of time is a great way to save time in the kitchen.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 280kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 46g (15%)Protein: 14g (28%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 787mg (33%)Potassium: 893mg (26%)Fiber: 12g (48%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 1445IU (29%)Vitamin C: 20mg (24%)Calcium: 64mg (6%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: African, ethnic
Course: Main
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.