My nephew is the most energetic, smartest, cheekiest, funny little boy you will ever come across. I know everyone says that about their children or their nephews/nieces but believe when I say my smallie (I call him smallie) takes the crown! Kipyotin is always on 100 from the second he wakes up. And the only time he is still is when he is asleep lol. He is very observant, very immersed in everything happening around him and is always ready to do everything. His little hands are always busy. This almost-three-year-old is a professional driver (on an adults lap in the driveway, not the highway), he is an experienced water splasher and mud puddler and he is a talkative, active, witty small boy! Kipyotin has always had an excellent appetite. Of course sometimes he does throw a spectacular tantrum during mealtimes but for most times, he very eats well. My sister introduced him to riseveve when he was weaning and to date, it is his favorite vegetable! It is among one of my favorites as well! And is my little bestfriend and I love riseveve, baby you must get into it too!
I have been meaning to do a traditional veggie series since I think 2017 but kept postponing. But all that matters is we start today and you will love everything I am going to share with you guys!
I made a dope vid to accompany the blog post. Do watch below, and subscribe!
So, what exactly is riseveve?
Riseveve (Liseveve or in short, seveve) is pumpkin leaves. We all love pumpkin and make excellent recipes with it. The pumpkin blossom is also enjoyed battered and fried. And the leaves, oh the leaves! They make for an excellent vegetable. It is much beloved by tribes in the western part of Kenyan and the Luhya in particular (my tribe) enjoy it so so much!
It is very simple to grow too. Just grown some pumpkin seeds and let the vines creep on a hedge or on the ground. They do best in the rainy season or in regions where it rains nearly every day like it does in Maragoli. The younger the leaves, the better they are to eat though I always mix both older and younger leaves with mine. To harvest, just break the leaves off the main vine and then proceed to prep.
How to prep your seveve
As you can see, the seveve has a furry coating to it. This is what needs to be peeled off and discarded before anything else. If you prepare the veggies without peeling them first, the eating experience will offer a mildly prickly, unpleasant texture in your mouth. The peeling may not be necessary for the very young leaves, but it is advised to do it for them all. My sister Kadesa showed me how to do it and now I am a pro! It is very simple and takes about 15 minutes for the volume of veggies I had.
Because both my hands were occupied, I did not take a pic but I recorded the prep on video. You can watch this from 3.09 – 3.34.
Once peeled, wash them, chop them up, blanch for 3-8 minutes. You can blanch in plain water, but if you have some munyu musherekha add some (I added some but it is optional). then drain the water and set aside. They will be bright green and soft at this point. The volume will also significantly shrink.
You can cook the riseveve just as it is on it’s own as I did on this day. However it also pairs very well with other traditional veggies which I mix in from time to time. Nderema, spinach and also mtoo are three vegetables that pair very very well with riseveve.
Now, let us cook!
PREP TIME: 30 min COOK TIME: 25 min SERVES: 3
470g of riseveve (pumpkin leaves)
1 cup of cream
1 red onion, diced
½ cup of chopped spring onion
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
¼ teaspoon of dried thyme
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons of ghee
Salt to taste
To cook, add the ghee to the sufuria along with some salt. You can use kawaida vegetable oil or even butter, but I find ghee perfect for traditional veggies including my riseveve. Add the two onions, the fresh ginger and the thyme. I love having two types of onions for this as it really makes my mboga come to life. You can use one of the other, but having both is simply magical.
Cook until the onions are softened and everything is fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, and let this cook down until partially broken down.
Add in the blanched riseveve, mix it in. Final ingredient to go in is the cream We have a major cream crisis since most brands water down the cream hadi it attains same consistency as milk. Some brands even sweeten it, which is completely unnecessary! Cream for mbogas is thick, almost scoopable and has the same consistency as semi-molten ice-cream. It should not be pourable like milk, it should be scoopable.
I get my real cream form the milk we boil from my neighbor’s cows. I asked on twitter where you guys source good cream from and the most solid lead I got was @traditionalfoodskenya. 500 g of cream goes for 300shillings. You can visit their shop at Kenyatta Market stall no. 256 or call 0732 844 266 to organize for delivery to you.
Add in the cream, mix it in and let it sit on the heat for another 5-10 minutes then serve.
I love my vegetables simple, but full of bold fresh flavor which specifically allows their inherent taste to shine! This recipe allows for that! So to plate, we already have our fresh creamy veggies, which I served with some hot ugali that serves as a blank canvas to tie it all up as well as some rich and delicious sticky pork.
I mean just look at this plateful!!!
The veggies were so creamy, so delicious and each bite reminded me of why I love riseveve so so much! Not only is this super tasty but it is abundant in vitamin K, B. A, C and lots of iron. Perfect for adults and perfect soft and nutritious vegetable for weaning too!
Besides pork and ugali, you can serve this with rice and some kamba wa kupaka or with some potato wedges and braised mbuzi or mashed potatoes and some lime coconut cream snapper. Your riseveve will be a sure feast each time!
I am looking forward to see you guys try this out! I hope this very detailed blogpost was helpful! I invite you to watch the YouTube video as well and hope you are already subscribed too; I’d love to have you!
Get your downloadable recipe here :))