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Old 08-28-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
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Living in Uganda. Limited ingredients!

Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum but really excited to find it, as I love cooking. I've got limited (and super slow) internet access right now, which is part of the reason I'm posting!

I also have pretty limited access to ingredients where I'm at right now, mostly just food from the market, and am running out of simple dinner ideas. I CAN technically find things like breakfast cereal and oreos, but it's frustrating and expensive. I'd like to stick with what's easy and inexpensive to find. I'm going to post everything I have easy access to, and I'd love some help coming up with recipe ideas. Keep in mind that I've got no access to appliances. A knife, a masher, a baking tray, a mixing bowl, a skillet, and a pot. Hopefully this can be a fun challenge for someone, as I don't have the patience to do many more internet searches, waiting for pages to load!

-pumpkin (whole)
-eggplant
-cucumber
-tomato
-potato
-onion
-garlic
-greens (for cooking)
-spinach
-cilantro
-carrots
-cabbage
-green bell pepper
-white sweet potato
-avocado
-peas
-fresh beans (comparable to pinto or white beans)

-bananas
-mini bananas
-papaya
-watermelon
-pineapple
-lemon
-lemony oranges
-passion fruit

-white flour
-corn flour
-sugar
-salt
-most herbs and spices
-yeast
-eggs
-split peas, dried
-canned chickpeas
-vegetable oil
-olive oil
-vinegar
-baking soda
-baking powder
-pasta, mostly spaghetti
-white rice
-tahini
-unsweetened peanut butter
-cheese (it's expensive and usually not too good)
-milk
-butter
-yogurt

The things I'm mostly tired of having are pasta with a tomato sauce, hummus, Indian curries, guacamole, and beans and rice.

Any ideas (particularly unusual ones) that you have would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 08-28-2012, 08:58 AM   #2
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Oh, I think we're going to have fun with this!

You didn't mention any meat. Do you not eat meat or is it simply not very available/affordable?

The pumpkin, carrots, eggplant, and sweet potato (I happen to like the white ones best, which I haven't seen since I left Hawaii) can be roasted in either an oven or over coals/wood fire. Pierce many times first. Then peel and in the case of pumpkin or other squash-like vegs, seed (roast the pumpkin seeds for snacking). Mash, add stock/broth/water for a hearty soup. Any of the beans can be mashed and added. Very nutritious, and when cooked over a fire, also very tasty.

Avocado and cucumbers can be pureed and make a great cold summer soup together.

yogurt and avocado, pureed with your favorite herbs make a great salad dressing for the cabbage and other raw vegetable.

I couldn't live without split pea soup, and often throw in fresh peas (well, here they're mostly frozen) for a bit of texture. If you don't know how to make this, ask, and I'll post it.

Almost any pasta can be tossed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs of your choice -- but also the fresh vegetables. Any and all of them, cooked (lightly if fragile, beans can be thoroughly cooked,then cooled and added to the pasta). They make a great cold meal when the weather is hot. Add any greens you have at the last minute (chiffonade if adding to the pasta, or put the pasta on a bed of the greens, raw if they are edible that way, sautee'd in olive oil if not).
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
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Do you have ice? You can make a peanut butter smoothie (my fav!). Use what proportions you like (banana, peanut butter, milk, honey (I suppose a simple syrup will work if you don't have), ice). Its really good and refreshing and filling. You should try for breakfast.

Just realized - no blender! hmm....I guess if your really desperate you can skip the ice and just mix vigorously...
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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Siegal, the no blender is unfortunate! Smoothies are usually my staple breakfast. But the bananas here are so very good. One of my staples has been just eating them on a plate, drizzled with peanut butter.

Claire, your suggestions are very helpful so far. The tomato cucumber soup sounds especially good. Thanks!

Oh, and... meat is available, but usually eat a primarily vegetarian diet. I eat more meat here (when it is offered at someone's home), but I'm trying to stay away from it. Anyhow, prepared meat is more sanitary and more expensive, and I don't really care to de-feather my own chickens. ;)
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:58 AM   #5
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If ther is yougurt and flour I'd be having pancakes with babnanas every day. I can live on them for a year for sure. Probably would get tired after that. I am not big vegetarian so probably would not have too many good sugestions. But egg plant and bell peppers make a good spread.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilygrace View Post
The things I'm mostly tired of having are pasta with a tomato sauce, hummus, Indian curries, guacamole, and beans and rice.
You've just described a typical week's worth of meals at my house.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:27 AM   #7
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A take on ratatouille (tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, some chickpeas), leave out the parm, can eat it warm or cold.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:54 AM   #8
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Maybe you can make little burekas. Make pastry (whatever type you like) and fill it with all types of stuff. I like spinach, cheese (if unavailable I am sure some thickened yogurt - drain it for a few hours would be even better), fried onions, salt pepper, and an egg for filling. wrap in the pastry and egg wash, sprinkle some seeds (like sesame) and bake. You can use all types of vegetables, meats, etc. Another one I like is mashed potato, fried onions, fresh parsley, seasoning, roasted garlic, and fill that in pastry also. I love burekas....
In israel they make a sandwich out of them after they are baked. You open them up a bit and put in a sliced harboiled egg and some tehina mixed with lemon juice.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:27 PM   #9
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Hi, I take it you have an oven.

Spanish tortillas or Italian frittatas. All sorts of lovely things can be put inside them.

Majorcan tumbet a form of ratatouille with potatoes. Tumbet (a Mallorcan dish)
olive oil, egg plant, onions, potatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini, garlic cloves, tomatoes, some herbs, a little stock and s&p. and fresh herbs to serve.
Slice thickly apart from the aubergines which are cubed and tossed in oil, layer in a dish, add the stock, cook for about an hour or until cooked through. Lots of juices will come from the veg, so you might have to reduce it down.

Stuffed cabbage leaves or bell peppers, using rice onions, spices and herbs as a stuffing and serve with a tomato sauce. Combine rice, tomatoes, herbs, squash, some oil and spices to taste. Blanch cabbage leaves cutting out the thick stem, place a spoonful of the stuffing and roll up as if they were dolmades. Place in a baking dish and cover with stock. Make sure they can't unfold and cook for about 20 minutes. Check the rice is completely cooked and serve with a sauce. Lemon or tomato.

Vegetable stew in a peanut sauce. Fry onion (and garlic if you have it), add some tomatoes and peanut butter, add some water, chilli, stock, and some allspice. Bring to the boil and simmer for a while: parboil and then drain your choice of vegetables, any or all of these, carrots in batons, sliced cabbage, egg plant cubes, sweet potato cubes, white beans. Add to the peanut sauce.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:12 PM   #10
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First things first...talk with other local cooks about what they make. Take a look at food stalls in local markets.

With that source of ideas out of the way...

1) Make your own dumplings. Dumplings can be steamed, boiled, or fried and each way is a different taste/texture. Dumplings include things like pierogi, ravioli, dim sum, etc.

My dough for dumplings is: 3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup water
Sprinkle of salt

Very lightly salt the water when measuring. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly add the water, mixing to incorporate. Turn it out and knead it till tight and elastic. It should not be at all sticky. Roll the dough into a log and let rest or chill for 15 minutes.

To make dumplings, cut the dough log into even slices. Roll out each slice into a circle large enough to cover the palm of your hand (or press into a flat disk with your hand). The edges should be thinner than the centers.


I'm not sure if Uganda uses metric measurements, but you don't need literal measuring cups. A coffee or tea cup works just as well.

To stuff the dumpling, chop an onion, a bit of some fresh herb/spice (cilantro, garlic, whatever), and one kind of meat stretched with a filler. Typical fillers would be rice, potato, or bread (crumbs). If you don't eat meat, then a meat substitute (meaty vegetables like eggplant, mushrooms, beans, etc). Cheese is also good as a meat substitute, and dumplings are a great way to make not-very-good cheeses tasty.

You may want to have a dipping sauce of some sort for extra flavor. If you fry them you can flavor the oil if you like.

I'm not sure if you have access to an actual steamer, or can use your pots to steam...

To steam: Put a large spoon full of filling into a dough circle and fold around the meat and pinch the edges to seal. Leave small gaps in the edges so that the steam can escape the pocket. Steam for 15-20 minutes.

To boil:
Put a large spoon full of filling into a dough circle and fold around the meat and pinch the edges to seal. Make sure the edges are pinched together tightly enough that they DON'T HAVE ANY GAPS AT ALL (the dumplings will fall apart if the water gets inside). Boil in hot salted water for 7-10 minutes. The dumplings will float to the surface when ready.

To fry:
Put a large spoon full of filling into a dough circle and fold around the meat and pinch the edges to seal. Make sure the edges are pinched together tightly enough that they DON'T HAVE ANY GAPS AT ALL (you can be badly burned if the filling leaks out into the hot oil). Fry in rendered meat fat or sesame oil. You want an oil with a high smoke point that won't scorch. Fry until the exterior is a light golden brown on both sides. If you have enough fat to "deep fry" the dumplings should float to the surface when ready.

Dumplings can be made sweet if you fill them with fruit and add a sprinkle of sugar to the dough instead of salt.



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