Swahili beans – Maharage ya Nazi

These beans will change the way you cook your beans forever. Another simple recipe from Tanzania; please use dried-beans, it is not as nice if you used canned beans.

Here is the trick of how to cook and store beans for future recipes:
Saturday night, soak 4 cups of dried red or kidney beans over night, then the next morning, boil until almost cooked. Make sure the water is at the level of the beans or above.
Once cooked, put aside to cool; then put into four freezer bags or plastic container and freeze. You can freeze up to three months. Use a bag at a time for the recipe or as needed.

Swahili beans - Maharage ya nazi

Swahili beans - Maharage ya nazi

1 cup dried red kidney beans (soak them overnight)
¾ cup coconut milk
¼ cup finely chopped onions
1 tbsp. crushed ginger
1 cup chopped tomatoes
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. crushed cilantro
¼ cup additional coconut milk
1 to 3 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil


  1. Put beans, salt, and water in a pot (water should be about 1 inch above the beans) and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the beans boil, cover the pot and simmer on medium-low heat.
  3. Add water as needed to maintain the level.
  4. When the beans are almost cooked, heat oil in a different pan, sauté onions, and stir until brown. Stir in ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes, lower heat to medium-low, and cover the pot. Simmer until the tomatoes soften. Use a cooking spoon to press the tomatoes while cooking to soften them quickly.
  6. Add cilantro, stir for 30 seconds.
  7. Add coconut milk and beans. Continue to cook until soft.
  8. If the water cooks away before the beans are cooked, add the extra coconut milk. The liquid should be at the same level as the beans when the beans are ready to serve

  27 comments for “Swahili beans – Maharage ya Nazi

  1. lisa
    April 9, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    When do you put the beans in? in step #1 or #7?

  2. Joseph
    December 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    On #7 of the recipe, when you say «Add coconut milk and beans*»:
    the beans added are they with or without the water used to boiled them?

  3. Joseph
    December 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Hello Ms Kinunda,

    On #7 of the recipe, when you say «Add coconut milk and beans*»:
    the beans added are they with or without the water used to boiled them?

  4. Kristine
    April 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Do you only add the the beans to the things on the pan or the water they were boiled in as well?

    Can’t wait to taste it :)

    • April 22, 2013 at 7:45 AM

      I do not understand your question. But I will guess!

      1. At preparations: #1, it is better to boil the water first then add the beans to boil until cooked before you continue with the recipe.
      2. At #7, yes add the cooked beans that you boiled separately at #1 with coconut together.

      I hope I have helped, if not please do not hesitate to ask again.

  5. March 19, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    WOW! i was amazed after follwing your guidelines i finally managed to cook my family VALI VA NAZI it was DELICIASO shukrani!….

  6. Key
    January 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    I’m so excited to try out this recipe! My husband is Tanzanian and over the summer his aunt came to stay with us. She would cook maharage ya nazi, and we would devour them. Our girls loved them so much I vowed that I would learn to cook them, but I never got the chance to learn her recipe before she left. She did teach me how to make chapati however and I can’t wait to try this recipe with some chapati.

    • January 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      You are welcome Key.Greetings to your family too.

  7. Happy
    December 19, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    Hello! web nzuri kweli dada lakini mi naona ujaribu kuandika mapishi kwa kiswahili kwa sababu wengine hapa kizungu hakijaa vizuri ntashukuru kama itakuwa hivo, ili nasi tuwe tunaelewa kwa uzuri. AHSANTE

    • December 21, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      Hata mimi dear Happy nahamu sana niandike kwa lugha zote. Nitafanya hivyo nikipata pesa za kumlipa mtu maana majukumu ni mengi sana hapa dear. Sina mtu wa kunisaidia. Kwa sasa hivi jaribu tu hivyo hivyo.

  8. November 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    Hey am loving your recipes and am excited at learning alot from you thanxs

  9. Softy Bakit
    September 10, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    Thnx very nuch I cnnt wait for this weekend.

  10. rahabuchusi
    September 5, 2012 at 5:52 AM

    ni nzuri

  11. Sarah
    September 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    How many persons are your recipi for?

    • September 5, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      It is hard to tell an African the food is for 2 or 4 people. All my recipes are for four people, or sometimes can be 6.

      • Adam Robinson
        December 3, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        This is the funniest thing I’ve ever read :) My mum is Tanzanian, and she taught me how to cook. You keep putting food into the pot until the pot is full, then after that you work out how many people might want to eat :)

        • December 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM

          That is very true Adam. Trying to give a recipe to a Tanzanian and tell them this recipe is for 2 or 4 people is hard.

  12. Sue
    August 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Thank you SO much for posting this! My daughter just returned from an 8 week internship in Tanzania this past Sunday (two days after you posted the recipe!). She raved about the wonderful beans there that she ate with ugali while volunteering at an orphanage… and had even taken a photo of them while there. I made your recipe today and she said it is the same!! We are making it for a group of friends this weekend so they can taste the food while watching a slide show of her trip. Love your site and will definitely be making several of the other foods you have posted that she enjoyed during her time there! Again, thanks!

  13. fauzia
    August 16, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    i cant wait to try this…do u know the swahili name for cilantro,if yes plz enlighten me

    • yvette
      November 18, 2012 at 7:16 AM

      cilantro is coriander which is dhania

  14. August 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Shukurani, tupo pamoja

    • rahabuchusi
      September 5, 2012 at 5:53 AM

      tupo pamoja kazi nzuri bgp

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