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Tanzanian bean dish: Wali Na Maharage

Tanzanian bean dish: Wali Na Maharage

In the traditional Tanzanian dish "Wali na Maharage," rice and beans are cooked in harmony with a variety of aromatic spices to create a dish that combines the rich flavors of both. Swahili, the language of Tanzania, uses the word "Wali" to denote rice and the word "Maharage" to denote beans. 

Due to their nutritious content and adaptability to varied climes, beans have been a staple in African cuisine for generations. Beans are a common protein source in Tanzanian cuisine. A balanced and delicious lunch resulted from the commerce and cultural connections that brought rice to the area and its perfect counterpart, beans.

The meal has evolved through time as Tanzanian cooks and home chefs have contributed their own distinctive touches, resulting in versions that span the nation's various regions. The ingredients, amount of coconut milk used, and manner of preparation can all be changed, but at its core, "Wali na Maharage" is still a warm, savory dish that celebrates Tanzanian identity and heritage.

Preparation Time

1 hour and 20 minutes


For the Rice (Wali):

2 cups long-grain rice

4 cups water


For the Beans (Maharage):

2 cups cooked kidney beans or red beans 

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 onion (chopped)

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon paprika or red chili powder 

1 teaspoon ginger (minced)


2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 cup coconut milk 

Cilantro or parsley (chopped)


For the Beans (Maharage):

  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet.
  • Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent.
  • Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for another minute.
  • Stir in the cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika or red chili powder, and turmeric powder and cook for a few minutes. 
  • Add the cooked kidney beans or red beans to the skillet. 
  • Season the beans with salt and mix well to coat them with the spices.
  • Pour the coconut milk into the skillet and stir to combine. 
  • Allow the beans to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Once the beans are heated through and well-flavoured, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.

For the Rice (Wali):

  • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear
  • In a separate pot, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add the rinsed rice and a pinch of salt to the boiling water. 
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let the rice simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork to separate the grains.
  • Combine the cooked rice and the prepared beans in a serving dish and mix them.
  • Garnish it with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve!