by Winyi Ivan
Ferinda is a traditional dish from Tooro region located in western Uganda. This region is mainly known for its large tourism potential which is evident with the the extensive Rwenzori mountain ranges nicknamed “Mountains of the Moon” by John Speke a famous explorer from the Royal Geographical Society. The region is further well endowed with around 100 craters. One thing we cannot leave out is that this land is home to once the youngest ruling monarch in the Guinness book of records, H.M Omukama Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru, King of Tooro kingdom.
Tooro region is inhabited by different tribes which speak a common language but difference in dialect as you would say a Briton from Scotland vs one from England. We shall concentrate on the Batooro who the region was first named basing on from the colonial days as the British used their “divide and rule” policy effectively.
Ferinda is a customary dish/sauce of the Batooro which never misses on any cultural function or event of this tribe, say if its a wedding, people seated at the high table will at least taste it as it’s a very simple dish but with a lot of mise-en-place involved. Basically Ferinda is a bean derivative dish made by removing the outer coating of beans. Traditionally, it was accompanied with millet-bread but due to eclectic cuisine, migrations and exposure, this dish can be accompanied by other foods like sweet potatoes, matooke/banana. African cuisine makes it difficult to decide between main course and sauces as our main part of the meal is the starch which isn’t the case with European cuisine, so we can assume “Ferinda” is a sauce.
- Beans 0.5kg preferably soaked overnight
- Ghee 2tbs
- Pumpkin leaves(young ones)
- Egg-plants 10 full
Method of preparation
As earlier mentioned, Ferinda is a bean based sauce. First main step is choice of beans to use. Choose beans with larger seeds as this will make work simpler when removing the seed coat. Then we need to soak our beans overnight such that the seed coat softens so that it is easy to remove with bare hands. All these first two steps are done a day prior such that our dish is ready in time.
Next step is to remove the seed coat thus exposing the inside of the seeds a process called “Kutoondoora Ebihimba”, in this case “Ebihimba” is beans. This is a very long process and its usually done in a group of 3+ and in family setting, its when children are groomed by counselling, educated on matters to do with culture and traditions and it tightens a bond between families and friends. This process is equally similar to sitting at a fire place but in this case chatting as you work.
Once all beans are clear of the seed coat, we put them in fresh cold water in saucepan and boil them. At this stage we also drop full egg plants to boil along with the beans. This should take roughly 50minutes for the beans to be ready but we should have removed the eggplants earlier as they get ready very fast and we don’t want them to lose their shape or mash into the beans.
Once the beans are ready, next part is to drain out the water using a colander, keep the water as this will act as our stock other than using fresh water. After water has all been drained out, we muddle/mash the beans the same way we mash Irish-potatoes.
The result should be a light-creamy paste. Then we gradually add our stock as we mix to remove any lumps in order to achieve an even consistency. The consistency of sauce should be that it’s not very thick and not light. We can change the colour of this sauce by adding mashed young pumpkin leaves locally called “Ebisunsa”. These are boiled with beans and mashed together. However, they are optional. once you have achieved a good consistency, we return our sauce to fire, add ghee which adds flavour and smell to our dish, we also season the dish with salt and also drop their our eggplants which we removed during the boiling process. Finally,the dish can be served in along with the starch to accompany it.