Everyone is always happy and smiling when they hear that food is ready. Clean your hands so we can all dine together. These magic words make hearts warm and stomach hungrier for the sweet aroma coming from the kitchen. Food is considered very important in our African setup, it brings people together during holidays and celebrations. Whether traveling to the upcountry, hosting friends on weekends, going for a wedding, or meeting the new baby in the family, we’ve all shared special moments by gathering together over a meal.
We all have our favorite foods either cooked in a restaurant or that you took time to prepare at home. It is hard to think of a family gathering without the tantalizing treats both sweet and savory that accompany all the celebrations. Have you ever thought of sharing some of those foods that you can prepare for your family and make them miss that Christmas vibe? Here is a list of some of those foods you would enjoy if you visited Kenya for he fast time or you are dining with your loved ones;
- Ugali, this a Kenyan staple, that is eaten if not daily but at least in most families once a week and a dish that is loved by many because of how it can be used as an accompaniment to many other dishes including beef stew, collard greens, nyama choma, or chicken stew. It is mostly prepared using maize, millet, and sorghum flour. Add any of this flour to boiling water until you get a hard consistency. It’s a carbohydrate that gives the body energy.
- Chapati originated from the Indian flatbread. But it is prepared slightly different, wheat flour is mixed with warm water until a soft dough is achieved. The dough is then rolled into a long thin strand and coiled into a round shape and rolled until flat. This coiling process creates those flaky layers, that we all love to see in our chapati. It is considered a special meal in the Kenyan setup that can go well with beans, lentils, peas, or even rolled up with a cup of tea.
- Nyama choma (roasted meat) is our unofficial national dish meaning barbecued meat in the Swahili language. The meat is usually goat or beef, served roasted throughout the country. From roadside shacks to fine restaurants and homes during celebrations and events. It’s often paired with local beer, kachumbari, and side dishes such as Ugali or roast potatoes. The most popular nyama choma places in Kenya are Njugunas along Wayaiki way, Kamakis along the eastern bypass, Olepolos, Koriema in Baringo county, Kikope in gilgil, Road House grill in kilimani, and this list will not end without mentioning the famous Carnivore near Wilson Airport.
- Pilau, this is popular spiced rice prepared in the coast side of the country but everyone has embraced it in other parts of the country. This rice dish is famous for its fragrant tasty caramelized beef with rice and potato cooked in a lump of rich and delicious meat or chicken broth. It is considered a special dish that is often served at weddings, during festive seasons, weddings, or when an important guest arrives. It is delicious on its own but can be served with kachumbari – a salad made with tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, and spicy pepper-like cayenne.
- Matoke is a staple food in Uganda though it is widely available and popular in Kenya especially in the Kisii community. It’s cooked up in a pot with some oil, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chilies, and meat to increase its flavor. The bananas are cooked until they begin to form a thick sauce with the other ingredients then cilantro is added for garnishing. This dish is best eaten with rice or chapati.
- Mukimo (mashed peas, maize, and potatoes) is one of the most famous dishes in Kenya. It originated from the Kikuyu culture but everyone throughout the country enjoys this meal with beef stew and some steamed cabbage or kales. It can be prepared for any occasion and can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
- Githeri is an easy meal to prepare and is known by almost every Kenyan, it’s a combination of boiled maize and beans. This is a one-pot meal that is fulfilling to eat and is highly nutritious. If you want to make it more Kenyan add a few pieces of avocado.
- Mutura, this is our famous Kenya sausage. It’s a truly authentic Kenyan street food that goes above and beyond your expectation especially when you have a bite of that salt and chilies. Goat intestines wrappers are stuffed full with ground meat and goat blood, then boiled for a few minutes until halfway cooked and grilled to dehydrate the meat and give that smoky taste.
- Chai, also known as tea. It’s a popular hot drink of choice for many locals. Kenyan tea is brewed dark, mixed with plenty of whole fat milk, and sweetened up with honey or sugar. It is a welcoming drink in most Kenyan homes, accompanied by some mandazi or chapati.
- Tilapia is a widely eaten fish and very popular across Kenya. It is readily available and affordable. It is cooked and served whole mostly deep-fried or made into a stew. The best accompaniment is Ugali with sautéed kales or others prefer fries with kachumbari.
Try some of these delicious meals! Also, you leave here and have been wondering what to include in your family meal plan? Prepare this meal for your family and watch them wolf down their bowls with joy. Tell us which other foods you feel identify us as Kenyans. Karibu Kenya!