Thursday Dinner: Chapati (Flatbread) and Kuku na Nazi (Chicken with Coconut)
Always a fan of curries, I wondered if choosing to make one might be “cheating” on the project as they are clearly more than Indian-influenced; however, I discovered that they play a role beyond sideline within today’s Kenyan cuisine. I found numerous references to these dishes, specifically Kuku na Nazi.
|kuku na nazi|
The Kuku na Nazi is really just a basic chicken curry. Its list of ingredients includes ginger, garlic, chiles, onion, curry powder, fresh cilantro, cumin, and coconut milk…none of which represent a twist or unusual addition to a traditional chicken curry. Not surprisingly, it tasted great, and while it may not have presented a new flavor profile for me, it successfully imprinted the significance and influence of Indian culture within Kenya’s modern day cuisine.
Friday Dinner: Nyama na Irio (Roasted Meat and a Mixture of Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables)
|nyama na irio|
Irio is a dish often served as an accompaniment to roasted meats. The dish is basically mashed potatoes with other vegetables mashed into the mixture….a sort of mashed vegetable medley. I mixed peas, fresh corn, and fried onions into my version. Spinach or other greens are often added, as well, for nutritional value. I didn’t expect to like this dish very much as it seemed a bit like baby food, but I must say it was really delicious. The combination of the creamy mashed potatoes with the crisp bursts of fresh corn, buttery fried onions, and sweet peas creates an interesting counterpoint to the rich, charred beef with its curry seasonings.
Saturday Lunch: Sukuma Wiki (Stewed Greens) and Ugali (Cornmeal Mush)
|sukuma wiki and ugali|
Simply put, Ugali is cornmeal and water…East Africa’s equivalent to polenta, grits, and fufu. The dish can be made in a thinner format similar to the texture of porridge, but more often, it is made with just enough water to bind the cornmeal so that a thick mixture can be poured out, cooled, and broken off into pieces used as “utensils” to scoop up stews. Honestly, this dish is just heavy and flavorless. I tried a bite or two with the collard greens, but I didn’t really care for it. I’ll stick with the collard greens!
Admittedly, I anticipated this week’s Kenyan menus to feel like “going through the motions” as I was not overly excited about any of the dishes. Perhaps that explains my delight in discovering several dishes that I really enjoyed. I could feast on Irio and Sukuma Wiki any night of the week and be completely satisfied. Another joy of this project…finding pleasure in the unexpected.