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Kenyan Bean

Kenyan bean is the bean cultivated in Kenya, a country in east Africa. Kenyan beans are of many different varieties, and are cooked to make side dishes and stews. They are a rich source of nutrition, and supply the body with soluble fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein and many other essential nutrients.

Cultivation of Beans in Kenya

Beans are grown in Kenya in a multiple cropping system alongside other crops like banana, maize, millet, etc. There is a wide range of diversity in terms of seed shape, color and size of the beans cultivated. While most beans are of the bushy type, climbing beans are also grown in a small percentage here. Rift valley, Eastern Province and Nyanza account for about 75 percent of the bean cultivation of Kenya. Though there are two seasons for the bean, it is often grown only once a year owing to the difficult climatic conditions. The bean production is extensive rather than intensive.

Culinary Uses of Kenyan Beans

Kenyan beans are cooked and seasoned to make a dish on their own, which is most often served as a side dish along with rice. The types of seasonings used vary from one Kenyan bean recipe to anther. They are also used as ingredients in stews and salads.

Preferable Cooking Methods For Kenyan Beans

Kenyan beans are soaked overnight and then cooked by simmering in water or broth on low flame. Acidic ingredients like lime, tomato and vinegar should be added as late in the cooking process as possible as they cause disintegration of the beans.

Popular Kenyan Bean Recipes

  • Kenyan Bean Stew: It is a stew made of beans cooked with beef, potatoes, carrots, corn, celery and seasonings.
  • Kenyan Bean Rice: It is a dish containing rice, beans, onion, tomato and spices like pepper, garlic powder, cumin seeds along with salt and sugar. It is prepared by simmering the contents and served with Kenyan flatbreads.
  • Kenyan Beans with Coconut: This is a side dish served with rice. Besides beans, ingredients suggested by this Kenyan bean recipe include desiccated coconut, potatoes and seasonings like coriander, cumin, chili powder, cloves, turmeric and lemon juice.

Nutritive Value of Kenyan Bean

The beans are a rich source of soluble fiber which helps in lowering cholesterol and reducing risk of heart attack and death due to coronary heart disease. It is also a rich source of protein, complex carbohydrates, folate, magnesium and iron.


Besides being an excellent source of nutrition, Kenyan bean is also a stable source of livelihood for a large number of Kenyan farmers and their families. The beans are a major Kenyan export to European countries. In the year 2010, UK's Department for International Development gave a £200,000 grant to Waitrose, a supermarket chain in Britain, to stock Kenyan beans as a measure to eradicate poverty in Africa.