Omena or dagaa is a delicious and nutritious dish that is enjoyed by many Kenyans mainly because it is pocket friendly and easy to prepare.
Even though the popularity of omena has grown across the country and more cultures are embracing this delicacy, not everybody knows how to cook good omena and if omena is not cooked properly then it’s simply not worth it.
If your omena always leaves a bitter taste regardless of how many methods you try to cook it or how many spices you use, then you have not been cooking it properly.
Here is a step-by-step guide for how to cook omena using readily available ingredients. This simple recipe results in a delicious omena dish that doesn’t have a bitter taste.
You will need the following ingredients to cook your omena:
- 300g dried omena
- 1 large red onion (finely chopped)
- 3 large ripe tomatoes (diced)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- Fresh coriander (finely chopped)
- A teaspoonful of garlic paste
- Cooking oil
- Salt to taste.
Steps Of Cooking Omena
First, remove any small stones and dirt from your dried omena and put the omena in a clean sufuria.
Next, pour clean water into the sufuria with omena and bring it to a boil then drain off the water and rinse your omena. Alternatively, you can soak your omena in warm water for 5 minutes then rinse it and repeat the process until the water is almost clear. This step will help to reduce the bitterness of the omena.
Lower your heat and let your omena dry off any remaining moisture then pour two tablespoons of cooking oil into the omena. Stir fry the omena until golden brown then remove from the heat.
In another sufuria on medium heat, pour a tablespoon of oil and add your chopped onions. Let the onions brown then add your garlic paste. Stir to combine.
Next, add your chopped bell pepper and stir for two minutes before adding your ripe diced tomatoes. Continue to stir until the tomatoes are tender and the mixture looks like a paste.
You will then add the omena and stir well to incorporate the ingredients. Add a pinch of salt to taste and continue stirring for another 3 minutes.
Add your chopped coriander and stir for an additional minute then remove your omena from the heat. Your omena is ready to serve.
Pro Tip: You can squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto your omena to get rid of its smell.
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Omena is best enjoyed when paired up with ugali alongside a vegetable dish (preferably sukuma wiki) and some kachumbari.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Omena
Besides being a tasty meal, omena is also full of nutrients that are good for your body.
It is a source of high-quality proteins which support muscle growth, speed up the healing of injuries, curb hunger and control weight gain.
It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help in boosting brain and heart health and can control diseases such as lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Omena is also an excellent source of Vitamin D, which helps in the absorption and retention of calcium and phosphorous, which are needed to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy.
Additionally, omena has also been found to be rich in minerals such as iodine, iron, sodium, calcium, and potassium, which regulate bodily functions.