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Richard Kilgore

The Food of Kenya

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The staple in Kenya is Ugali. This is maize meal boiled into a porridge very akin to polenta. It is then moulded into a ball with the fingers and used to scoop up and absorb the stew or the curry. It is not a "neutral" flavour and has a distinctive taste. The main course will mainly be goat or chicken, and fish on the coast. Palm oil is the most widely used cooking medium although corn oil and groundnut oil are also used. Onions and chillies are always used in the stews.

Corn on ther cob is ubiquitous, not served boiled with butter but roasted on roadside braziers and sprinkled with chilli and lime.

The Kenyans have a taste for a bitter green vegetable. I forget the name but its like spinach or callalloo, but with a distinctive bitter flavour. It's an acquired taste but oonce you've acquired it the stuff is addictive.

On weekends or special occasions Kenyans will eat roast or bbq'd goat-Nyama Choma.

Also, there are many Asians living in Kenya originally bought over from India to help build railways in East Africa. As a result Indian food is very popular and some marvellous Indian food is available in Nairobi and Mombasa.

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Some clarification. M'Chuzi is the generic Swahili name for any stew or curry. Irio is a beans and corn dish and does not necessarily include potatoes, as implied by the recipe on the link.


Edited by Tonyfinch (log)

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Thanks Tony and Nancy. I have been able to find nothing general on Kenyan cooking on Amazon, except for a children's book which appears to be out of stock or out of print. There are a goodly number of academic research studies, but nothing for the cook.

I guess a Kenyan dinner in the states will be a rare experience.

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Another staple is Cassava- Mogo in Swahili. Eaten pounded and mashed, or fried and sprinkled with chilli powder and lime, its delicious.

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The staple in Kenya is Ugali. This is  maize meal boiled into a porridge very akin to polenta. It is then moulded into a ball with the fingers and used to scoop up and absorb the stew or the curry. It is not a "neutral" flavour and has a distinctive taste. The main course will mainly be goat or chicken, and fish on the coast. Palm oil is the most widely used cooking medium although corn oil and groundnut oil are also used. Onions and chillies are always used in the stews.

Corn on ther cob is ubiquitous, not served boiled with butter but roasted on roadside braziers and sprinkled with chilli and lime.

The Kenyans have a taste for a bitter green vegetable. I forget the name but its like spinach or callalloo, but with a distinctive bitter flavour. It's an acquired taste but oonce you've acquired it the stuff is addictive.

On weekends or special occasions Kenyans will eat roast or bbq'd goat-Nyama Choma.

Also, there are many Asians living in Kenya originally bought over from India to help build railways in East Africa. As a result Indian food is very  popular and some marvellous Indian food is available in Nairobi and Mombasa.

:cool: The spinach like vegetable is called sakuma wiki (don't bet on the spelling) and is definitely an acquired taste. Considering that most Kenyan tribes lived pretty simply, the food in general is pretty straight forward and filling. Ugali and the above sukuma wiki are the staples with meat served on special occasions.

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Thanks again Tony and thanks kuenzlen.

So we've accounted for ugali (boiled maze meal), Cassava (mohgo in Swahili, she says), M'Chuzi (stew or curry), sukuma wiki (green vegetable), roasted corn on the cob, Irio (beans and corn dish), and goat, chicken and fish (in the stews and curries or roasted). Anything else, or any more detail on the curries or stews? What are the curries and stews cooked in -- cast iron, clay pots? Long, slow stew or short?

Is the Indian food in Kenya similar to what we have in the U.S.? If not, what is it like? Other Asian foods popular there?

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The Indian food in Kenya is the same you get everywhere else. One of the best Indian meals I have ever had was in Mombasa 15 years ago. I also remember fish n chip places in the capital.


What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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I'm going to Kenya tommorrow. (They've got lions, unlike...for example...Norway.) I'm overnighting in Nairobi on my way to the Seychelles, and don't know if I will have the time or inclination for any dinner. But I'll let you know.

Bruce

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