Nduma curry

Nduma | Arrow Root | Taro Root | Arbi Curry

Nduma is one of the favourite dishes, loved by many Kenyans. It’s enjoyed during breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even as a snack in between. The difference is in their method of preparation. When eaten as a snack or a breakfast accompaniment the norm is to just  boil it with a bit of salt. Now for this nduma curry (which, by the way, is excellent for both lunch and dinner) I am going all out for the total curry experience!

I started by selecting fresh ndumas from the market, it’s advisable to buy the ones that have been harvested on the same day. Make sure that you peel and wash them thoroughly because they normally have a lot of mud stuck on them.

I love to steam mine for this recipe, but, you could always boil yours if you do not have a steamer.

Ndumas are the kind of starchy vegetables that are neutral in taste and what this means is that they can take up so many flavours that you throw at them. This is why I thought that the curry was just the right thing 😉

Another important thing to note is that I have always preferred to grind my spices fresh for my curries. So much more  potency this way. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the exact same spices that I have used here in the recipe. Feel free to omit or add to suit your palate.

I don’t know about you but I love it when my curries have an element of sweet, tangy, spicy and salty (of course, in the right balance). For the sweet part my ingredient of choice is mostly honey, however, feel free to substitute it with a sweetener of your choice. For the tangy bit, ukwaju or tamarind paste is my go to ingredient. I am such a DIY person, maybe you should also do the same if you are not able to easily find it 😀


  • 5 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Whole cloves
  • 1 Tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 Tsp Black mustard seeds
  • 2″ Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 Tsp Red chilli powder
  • 2 Large ndumas
  • 2 Medium tomatoes
  • 1 Large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves – finely minced
  • 2″ Ginger – finely minced
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • 1 Tbs Ukwaju paste
  • 1 Tbs Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1/4 Green hoho (bell pepper)
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Peel and wash the ndumas, chop into bite sized pieces and then steam them for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a sufuria then add the sliced onions. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until they just start browning at the edges.
  3. Add the finely minced ginger and garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Grind the whole spices then add them along with coriander, chilli and turmeric powders to the contents in the sufuria. Cook for about a minute.
  5. Add fresh tomatoes and mix them into the rest of the ingredients then add the tomato paste.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Lower heat, cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes for the tomatoes to soften.
  8. Add enough water to the spices along with honey and ukwaju paste then simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add the cooked ndumas and allow them to simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Add the hohos and simmer for 1 minute to soften.
  11. Finally add dhania leaves and turn off heat.
  12. Serve.



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