I recently had the opportunity to chat with my friend Sandra Iminza Mukidza, a native of Kenya, about her food and culture. She was generous enough to share a couple of her traditional recipes, and let me pass them on to you!
I recommend setting aside an evening to experience a taste of Kenya! Maybe put on some African music, or pull up Out Of Africa on Netflix, spend an hour or two in the kitchen surrounded by the amazing smell of veggies and spices cooking away, and then dig into this delicious feast!
An Ideal Kenyan Dining Experience, According to Sandra
An ideal Kenyan dining experience would normally have a buffet of food laid out on the table together with plates and silverware placed on the table. Individuals would then get up and serve themselves from the table and go back to their rightful seating areas.
There are however certain parts of animal proteins that belong to different individuals, due to cultural beliefs.
I’ll give an example using my tribe – in the Luhya community, chicken is the most popular protein and in a dining set up it is the head of the house (a man) who eats the gizzard, drumsticks, and the back of the chicken. The women can eat the chicken wings and any other parts of the chicken. I phoned my grandmother to ask her the rationale behind this but she too could not explain.
Typical menu items include:
- Chapati (a flatbread made out of flour)
- Ugali (made out of corn flour, similar to polenta) – grab the recipe HERE
- Sukuma Wiki (a combo of hearty cooked greens and onions) – grab the recipe HERE
- Kunde (A traditional vegetable, similar to black eyed peas)
- Terere (A traditional vegetable, greens from the amaranth plant)
- Chicken Stew
- Dry fried turkey meat
- Beef stew or curry – grab the recipe HERE
- Dessert is not always part of the meal, but if available it’s normally a platter of the fruits that are in season.
- Tea, mixed or black is a must have after dinner in my culture.
Kenyan Dishes to Try at Home
Kenyan Beef Curry
Loaded with ginger, garlic, red onions, and succulent beef, this Kenyan Beef Curry is full of flavor and savory goodness.
Ugali – a Kenyan Cornmeal Porridge
Simple and satisfying, this cornmeal porridge is the perfect accompaniment to soups, stews, and savory curries.
Sukuma wiki means to push or extend the week. It’s a flavorful mix of hearty greens with enough oomph and flavor to carry a meal, even if the budget for meat has run out.
I am an amateur chef, a food stylist with a hospitality background, and a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Super Ambassador.
I discovered on my quest to find inner peace, that cooking has a more virtuous purpose than just the appeasement of one’s craving.
I realized that being in the kitchen always made me feel unflustered. I have now turned my kitchen into my own little playground where I test and recreate my grandmothers’ traditional recipes.