LADHA! KENYAN CUISINE

By Cuisine, Kenya

One of the most amazing delights of traveling to Kenya is their exquisite cuisine. Most food in Kenya is comprised of a few main ingredients – meats, cheeses and produce which are all locally sourced. They have the freshest food by getting it from within their own communities. Being close to the equator, Kenya has a steady growing season allowing for produce to develop year round. Kenyans have a spice mix known as mchuzi, which is a blend of spices and salt used in many dishes.

Here are some details to provide an understanding of their unique and savory cuisine:

1. Ugali is a main staple in Kenyan cooking. It is made by taking cornmeal and putting it into boiling water. The cornmeal is cooked until it has a grainy texture. Developing a very dense, heavy, dough-like substance that is then paired with cooked vegetables or stew.

2. Sukuma wiki is loosely translated as weak pusher. It is a delightful and satisfying meal for those on a budget. Collard greens are thinly sliced and sauteed in oil with tomatoes, onions and spices.

3. Wali wa nazi is a scrumptious coconut rice dish. White rice is boiled with shredded coconut and is often paired with chicken curry, fish or cooked vegetables.

4. Tilapia is a common fish, usually served deep-fried with ugali, pilau or kachumbari.

5. Pilau, also known as rice pilaf, is cooked with broth and spices. Often vegetables and/or meat (fish, chicken, goat or beef) are paired with this delicious dish, tasty and filling.

6. Nyama Choma is a variety of roasted meats. Usually these savory meats are goat or beef but often chicken will also be used as well. The favored portion of the meat is the fat and grizzle parts. The roasted meat is often dipped in salt. Generally this delicious meat is paired with ugali or sukuma wiki for a complete meal.

7. Chapati is a flatbread that is rolled into a thick flat piece of dough and then lightly fried in oil. The inside will remain soft but the outside will be a lightly crisped bread. This is a great side to stews.

8. If salad is something that you fancy, then Kachumbari may be a welcome addition to a meal. A salad consisting of onions, green chiles, coriander and topped with a few drops of lemon juice and salt, is often paired with grilled meats to make a filling meal.

9. Mukimo or Irio is a side dish consisting of a variety of mashed vegetables. The most commonly used vegetables are corn (maize), cooked green peas, cooked potatoes, and pumpkin leaves. Sometimes even beans are added for a little extra flavor and substance. Roasted meats generally accompany this mouth- watering blend of flavors.

10. Githeri or mutheri is a mix of cooked beans (legumes), corn kernels and seasonings. Additional spices for this dish usually include curry, salt and pepper. Vegetables are sometimes added if available.

There are many tasty dishes with a variety of flavors in Kenya’s appetizing and authentic food. You will find its cuisine to not only be delicious, but addicting!

Last modified: August 25, 2023

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