Given that Ahmad’s Pakistani dish worked out so well the other day, I thought we would continue the international gastric-tour with my Kenyan friend, Elimuri. Somehow, I feel this is where we should all break out into the song, We Are The World, too, so leave a comment where we should go next if you would like. But I digress…
So, I asked Elimuri what I should make if I wanted to eat a traditional Kenyan dish, but with ingredients available here in the United States, of course. His response was “Ugali, Sukuma wiki, and Mutura.” He went on to explain that Kenya thrives in Eastern Africa, and it is probably best known for its beautiful landscapes and wild safaris, but do not forget its delicious meals, too, he said. Dishes served in Kenya come with a mixture of ethnicity and tradition that shares a lucrative culture, he proudly continued. So, if you are in America and looking to make one meal for four to six people to celebrate the Kenyan culture by chance, here you go:
Ugali is a staple in Kenya, he explained. Hardly would you go for two days without eating this in Kenya, especially if you visit Luhya Land, Elimuri said. Having never been to Africa myself, I am taking his word for it. Ugali can be prepared using either maize flour, millet, or sorghum flour, using four cups of water and two heaping cups of maize, millet, or sorghum flour. Note they can be mixed and used at once, too, he noted. Allow the water to boil first before pouring in the ingredient(s), then turn the mixture with a wooden spoon as you add more flour slowly. Continue mixing as the mixture thickens and while adding more of the flour.
Ensure that you have a firm grip on the pot while turning the mixture. Use a mitten to avoid burning your hands. As you turn it, the ugali becomes firmer and harder to turn. Continue to work the mixture. After a few minutes, it should be ready. It is best served when hot. Also, it can be served with chicken, vegetables, meat, fish, and many others. Essentially, we would call this cornmeal mush in America.
Sukuma wiki is a dish that is mainly made of collard greens. The collard greens are cut into small slices then cooked along with onions and tomatoes. It probably the simplest dish to prepare, yet with a lot of flavor, Elimuri said. Its name translates to “stretch the week”. Because it can be found in most basic gardens, it is used to “stretch the week, when other supplies have run out or scarce.
As for preparation, you use at least three diced tomatoes, a large onion (also diced), Royco or Maggin cubes, and salt to taste. The Royco or Maggi cubes I learned are what we would refer to as a specific brands of bullion cubes.
Using some vegetable oil, first heat the oil to low medium heat, and then sauté the onions until they are soft. When the onions are soft, add in the diced tomatoes and cook them until they appear as a thick paste. Add the other ingredient to the meal, as well as salt to taste. Take your well-chopped collard greens and add it on top of the mixture. Cover the pot or pan for about five minutes, then turn off the heat and thoroughly mix. Sukuma wiki is ideal with ugali, potatoes, and so on, he said.
Mutura is mainly a sausage made of blood and meat. Some African chefs add certain spices, including ingredients like ginger, garlic, green chilies, and scallions to this dish. In Africa, the meal is made from small or large intestines of a cow or goat, which are stuffed with a mixture of blood and cooked meat. In most cases, this meal can be eaten as an appetizer and goes well with beer, he noted. Think German bratwurst and beer, just African-style, I suppose.
He recommended using 1/2 pound of goat meat, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 chopped green chili, about 1/4 pound of tripe and blood.
Um, so this dish officially derailed right there I told him. Tripe is a type of edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals, and you cannot go get blood at the grocery store here, nor would most Americans want to really.
Essentially, though, you’re making sausage or brats because he explained you are cooking the onions and garlic in oil until golden brown and cooling them, then cutting the meat into small cubes, mixing them with blood, and seasoning with salt, pepper, and cooling that mixture. Place the mixture in the uncooked tripe and ensure that you have tied both ends well, he said, then place it on the grill and allow them to cook as you turn, and finally serve them when hot and cooked through thoroughly. Traditionally, this dish was served with ugali too.
So, there you have it: some fresh grilled brats, corn mush, and collard greens in tomatoes and onion, a traditional Kenyan meal. Stay tuned to where my international gastro-tour goes to next in the world.