Irio (Mashed potatoes, corn, and peas) – This medley of Potatoes, corn, and peas is very delicious, it’s very filling and it’s perfect for a mid-week comfort food dinner. I call this the glorified mashed potatoes because the peas and corn added to this recipe adds a new dimension, and a little more color, to the good ol’ mashed potatoes.
Irio is a staple food in Kenya. The word Irio simply means food in the Kikuyu community of Kenya. It is a very simple but delicious side dish made with Potatoes, Corn, and Peas.
I always like to use this particular recipe because all you need is a few ingredients – Potatoes, Corn, Peas, salt, and pepper and water for boiling. It’s very straight forward and you need just one pot to get your lunch or dinner ready! This recipe yields a thicker chunky mass compared to the popular mashed potatoes but the end result is super amazing.
Like I said earlier, it is an easy mashed potato recipe but it’s important to start with the right kind of potatoes. A starchy potato like the Russet or Idaho potato is best for this recipe. However, Yukon gold will also work just as well.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and put them inside a large pot. Add enough water (You don’t have to submerge the potatoes in the water), add the sweet peas and corn: I used frozen peas and corn. However, you can use the fresh peas and corn or the canned version. However, if you are using the canned version you might want to add it when the potato is almost cooked because the canned version has been cooked and you don’t want to get them mushy. Cover the pot, and cook until fork tender, but firm, about 15-20 minutes. If you cook any longer, it might turn out mushy.
Once the potatoes become fork tender, the water should be about dry at this point, however, if you still have lots of water remaining, it is best that you drain it and leave just a little behind so that the potatoes will be easy to mash.
Season with salt and black pepper then mash. A potato masher or a wooden stirrer or a potato masher will do the work just fine. If you are cooking for one or two, then you can use a fork to mash it.
Potatoes have a great affinity with butter so I added some butter. Though this is optional but it does give the potato a deeper flavor. Irio can be served with grilled meat or grilled Fish and with sauteed cabbage for a vegetarian twist.
Other Variations to Irio Recipe
As we all know, mashed potatoes, in general, is a recipe that is quite forgiving. Likewise, Irio is not an exception to this case. That is why there are many variations to this recipe in Kenya.
- Some will like to boil the corn and sweet peas separately and add it to the potatoes after mashing it
- Pumpkin leaves or spinach or watercress can also be added for a deeper color
- The sweet peas can also be boiled separately and pureed before adding it to the mashed potatoes in order to achieve that bright green color in their Irio
- In some cases, sauteed Onions are also added and so much more.
- Sincerely, all the variations are good in my opinion, however, I like to keep my cooking as simple and of course delicious and this recipe has it all!
This amazing dish is also referred to as African mashed Potatoes or Kenyan mashed Potatoes.
I am not a big fan of canned vegetables, however, if that is what you have, you can use it in place of the fresh or frozen peas and corn
Salting the potatoes at the end helps to prevent the potatoes from falling apart.
Adding butter is optional but it does give the meal a richer depth of flavor which I really like
African Irio (Mashed potatoes, corn and peas)
- 2-1/2 pounds potatoes
- 1-1/2 cups green peas
- 1-1/2 Cups corn
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cut each into four
- Put the potatoes, Peas, and corn in a large pot and add enough water to almost cover the potatoes.
- Leave to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or till the potatoes are tender
- Drain the excess water (if there's any) but leave a bit inside the pot for easy mashing.
- Season with salt and black pepper and mash with a fork, wooden spoon or potato masher until all potatoes are nicely mashed.
- Add butter and stir together.
- Serve hot.
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If you make this Irio, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen