Food inspiration: Kenyan Kales

Posted on
25th Sep 2017
by Ellie Dawes

As we head into our Great Big Supper Club Campaign, I wanted to share some blogs with you about food - the food created by our amazing supporters and grown by the communities we support. This is my second update, and it's all about kale...

I’ve been editing some videos this week from Meru, Kenya which Amanjit filmed when she went out to visit some of the women’s groups there.

We’re running a programme in Meru called the Meru Women's Garden Project, in collaboration with Soroptimist International - Great Britain and Ireland. The programme trains women in the agricultural skills they need to grow their own food in kitchen gardens. This is enabling women to feed their families, and even to generate their own income, some of them for the first time in their lives. 

Meet Rose from Mutethia women’s group in Meru:

The kales that the Mutethia group are growing are actually a different vegetable to our kale. They are known in Swahili as sukuma wiki, which literally means "push the week" or "stretch the week". This is because they are an abundant and nutritious way to bulk out your meals if you’re a bit short of meat or other supplies!

At we’re gearing up for The Great Big Supper Club, a campaign that sees supporters across the country holding their own Supper Clubs, cooking delicious food for their friends and family in exchange for donations.

The money raised by this campaign will mean that in rural communities in Kenya, fewer families will struggle to stretch their food supply to last the week.

Cooking with kale

In his new telly show, Jamie Oliver blitzed up kale to make a sort of pesto for pasta. In food-hipster territory of Hackney we often find ourselves encouraged to dry our leaves of kale in the oven to create kale crisps (described by Felicity Cloake as "The only good thing to come out of the kale cult madness".

Kale is everywhere, but it doesn't work with everything. Just a few weeks ago I was having a BBQ and messaged my friend Colin to ask him to bring me some decent salad veg. Misunderstanding my WhatsApp messages, he brought kale. Clearly not what we wanted to go with the epic steaks my boyfriend Sam was cooking:

(I eventually forgave Colin for this oversight, but only because he’d recently cycled across Ghana for, proving himself to be the very best kind of person.)

So a few days later, to use up the unwanted kale, I made a kale and sausage stew (similar to this one.) It was great. Sadly, I forgot to photograph the stew, but if you enjoyed the massive picture of the steak, you should follow me on The Great Big Supper Club Instagram.

If you've been brought some kale by a wrong-headed friend or an over enthusiastic veg box curator, here's how to cook it up Kenyan style.

Cook Kenyan-style kale and tomatoes

Great as a side dish to a rich stew, or an even-more-trendy alternative to avocado on toast! 

1. Heat a little oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add half a chopped onion and some chopped up jalapeño peppers. Cook until soft and slightly browned. 
2. Add a few large chopped tomatoes and cook until collapsed and juicy.
3. Add a big bunch of kale, half a cup of water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.
4. Give it a good stir, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender. Should be about 10-15 minutes.

Serve and eat!

Put your cooking skills to good use

If you love food, make sure you're signed up to take part in The Great Big Supper Club. Invite some friends over for dinner, ask them for a donation, and change lives in Kenya. Sign up at for your free supper club kit!