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  • Writer's pictureAngela, Digital Chef, Africa Analyst

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Peas and Corn - Kenyan Irio

Irio is a traditional Kenyan dish made of mashed sweet potatoes, peas, maize, and occasionally spinach. A satisfying and nutritious side dish that pairs well with stews, grilled meats, and fish.

This dish is named after an African Queen or has a symbolic meaning, but the Irio meaning is plain, and the precise translation is food in the Kikuyu language. This typical Kenyan meal has spread throughout Kenya and other regions of East Africa.

It's a substantial mix of mashed potatoes, peas, corn, and occasionally spinach that comes together to make a dish that's both substantial and nutritious. As with many African dishes, there are numerous variations, with potatoes and corn serving as the foundation. In Kenya, it's served with grilled meat called nyama na and it goes well with chicken stew.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes can be substituted with normal potatoes.

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of canola oil or butter

  • 1 Tablespoon of garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup of onions, diced

  • 1/2 or more cups of blanched corn

  • 12 teaspoon of blanched peas

  • Paprika is a spice that is used to flavor food.

  • 1 tablespoon of oil

  • 12 teaspoon parsley

  • sauce with a kick cayenne pepper or chili powder (optional)

  • Season with salt to taste.


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Clean and dry the sweet potatoes before poking holes in them and cooking for 4 minutes in the microwave.

2. Wrap it up and roast it for about 20 minutes, or until done.

3. In a skillet, sweat onions in two tablespoons of oil or butter, then add garlic, salt, paprika, and spicy sauce, and cook for a minute.

4. Using a potato masher or a ricer, mash the potatoes. Combine the corn, peas, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm.


· Because white potatoes have more starch than sweet potatoes, you may need to use a bit more of them.

· You can add the peas and corn at the very end if you want your Irio to have a little texture like this recipe. If not, mash the sweet potatoes and peas together to achieve a finer texture.

· To use dried green peas in this recipe, soak them in water first and then cook them separately from the potatoes.

· You can use normal potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.

· Potatoes, peas, and corn are the main ingredients in this dish. Depending on your preferences, you can add or remove ingredients from the list.

· If there are leftovers, keep them refrigerated and form into patties the next day to pan-fry.

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