Friday, January 27, 2012

African Food - How to Make Nyeni

Before my mother in law felt comfortable with me marring my husband, I had to learn how to do a few things. One of them was making a pretty traditional Kikuyu dish called nyeni (yen-ee). In Kenya its made from an assortment of greens. In the U.S., I am able to replicate the taste with the below ingredients. It is really good for you and I think that it tastes amazing, my kids even like it and kids eating green veggies makes mama happy! Here's how you make it.
What you'll need:
Collard Greens - 2 bunches
Mustard Greens (or another bitter green) - 1 bunch
Kale ( any kind)  - 2-3 bunches
Coconut milk
A Sweet Onion

First wash the greens. I find that filling up your kitchen sink with cold water works the best.

Next pat them dry and then you can roll 4-6 leaves together and chop them or I've found that feeding them through the Cuisinart with the 2mm blade is the fastest and easiest. If my seven year old can do it than indeed you can too!

While the kid is doing that, chop up a whole sweet onion.

Next you'll sautee the onion in the pan with about 3-4 tablespoons of oil. Then add the greens, bits at a time, once the onions become translucent. It will be a lot of greens at first, so I put the lid on the pan and let them simma down, add small bits of water as needed, and then add more greens until all the greens are cooked. Steamy....
Once the greens have reduced enough that they all can fit in the pan, add a 1/2 can of coconut milk, stir together and re-cover the pan until the greens are thoroughly cooked. Next salt to taste and serve! 
I had mine with curried lentils and rice.....yum.eee!


  1. i am a kikuyu and i love this healthy dish. One time i took it to school and they would not warm my Ngima and Nyeni because they thought it was poison are something. they judged my food just by the way it looked

  2. i moved from nairobi,dagoretti when i was 8 know i am 11 i live in california tracy but have plans to move back to my country in december

  3. @Weweru Karibuni! Nyeni and Ngima are two of my favorites! Especially when eaten together. I'm sorry you were judged because of the food you brought to school. People are ignorant. I was in Kenya three months ago and I actually drove through Dagoretti. It is a busy little town! I hope to move back to Kenya one day also. It is truly the most beautiful place on earth. You are blessed to be a Kenyan.