When it comes to Training Table nutrition and recipes for my beloved East Africans, there’s an odd split. Ethiopian cuisine is quite well-known and beloved by many. Many recipes are free of meat, and there are great vegetable and legume options. The trick is to avoid dairy, as nitter kibbeh, a spiced butter concoction is very common, and some dishes rely on a fresh cheese that’s similar to cottage cheese. And when it comes to nutrition, the smaller impact Ethiopia has had on running means few have studied their diet, hoping to find a magic bullet.
In contrast, Kenya’s fast and near complete domination of running has led people to try to figure out all of the angles, diet being one of them. Typical menus at Kenyan training camps have been analyzed to see what fuels their runs. But try to find someone who can name a Kenyan dish, or direct you to a Kenyan restaurant! So I had to use a little imagination to come up with some recipes for those who want to try eating like a Kenyan. What I found is that millet is a common whole grain starch staple in many parts of Africa, so I chose that to start with. If you have not tried millet, please do so. It has a mildly nutty, pleasant taste that works as a fantastic alternative to brown rice. Try it for your next stir fry.
Simply combine 2 1/2 C water to one cup millet, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Take it off the heat, fluff, replace lid and let sit for 15 minutes.
The legume dish is called Dengu, based on mung beans.
- Braised Greens, Mung Beans and Millet
Mung beans are a funny little green bean. They are the basis for the white bean sprouts in many Asian dishes. They are also common in a hulled and split form in Indian dal. They are reputed to be easy to digest, and I like them, but I hardly ever come across recipes for them in their unhulled and whole form. One of the few I have found came from a recipe in an old cookbook for Kenyan beans.
1 cup mung beans, rinsed
4 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapenos, minced
1 each red and green bell pepper, chopped
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add mung beans. Lower heat and simmer for 30 min.
- After mung beans have cooked for 30 min. add vegetables and cook until done, about 30 min.
Fluff millet and scoop into bowl, topping with a scoop of mung beans. I served the dengu and millet with a side of steamed kale, since cooked greens are a very popular African side dish.