The Proven Platter – Kenya, March 2023

Irio is another simple but delicious Kenyan week night dinner. There are many variations – from a simple mash of sweet potatoes, peas and corn seasoned with salt and pepper, to a spicier dish using a blend of sweet onions, smokey paprika and hot sauce. I preferred the spicier blend with white and red sweet potatoes roasted to maximize their sweetness.

This recipe includes instructions for two ways to prepare and serve. Customize the spice level and try different types of sweet potatoes. Depending on the season and where you live, there are many varieties, including garnet, Stokes (purple!), Hannah yams, Murasaki sweet potatoes, and more. Each brings a slightly different texture and taste.




3 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped into large pieces
3 T oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 c red onions, chopped into medium pieces
1 c corn kernels
1 c peas
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste


Mashed option:

Boil the sweet potatoes, corn, and peas until cooked. Drain and set aside.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions become translucent. Add the paprika and hot sauce and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the potatoes, peas, and corn to the onions. Use potato masher to smash the potato mixture into the onions.

Top with fresh ground salt and pepper.


Roasted option: (pictured at top)

Roast the sweet potatoes in a 400-degree oven until soft. Set aside.

Sauté the onions, garlic, peas, and corn until fully cooked. Add the paprika and hot sauce and simmer until the vegetables are caramelized. Toss the roasted potatoes with the caramelized onions, peas, and corn. Top with fresh ground salt and pepper.


Recipe and photo credit: Georgia Reader