Cooking The East African Way
Going shopping at the local market is an experience for all senses.
Loud haggling is mixed with the cackling of chicken and bleating of goats.
Exotic scents of spicy samosa, roasting maize, sweet mandazi and and sizzling nyama choma spits fill the air. Colourful fruits, root crops, vegetables, legumes, grains and spices surround you - bananas of all shapes, colours and sizes, mango, pineapple, papaya, pumpkin, watermelon, aubergine, maize meal, matoke (green cooking bananas), sweet potatoes, curry, cloves, chillies, coconut, arrowroot, cassava, okra, yams, sukumawiki, groundnuts and a variety of beans and peas.
On the coastal markets you will also find a variety of fish and seafood.
The culinary possibilities are endless!
The two most well known simple-to-make dishes in East Africa are Uji and Ugali.
You can wake up to a nice breakfast of Uji or porridge. Traditionally Uji is served in small calabashes. Uji may be sipped from a mug or eaten from a breakfast bowl. Fermented Uji is an acquired taste but one worth acquiring.
To make Uji to serve 4 Use:
One cup of maizemeal or..
half cup of wimbi (millet) flour or..
half cup of mtama (sorghum) flour
half cup of milk
juice of 1 lemon
sugar or honey to taste
- Using half cup of water mix flower to a smooth paste, making sure there are no lumps. Boil the remaining 5and a half cups of water.
- Add the paste to the boiling water stirring continuously.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring continuesly.
- Add milk and return to the boil, add a dab of margerine if required
- Remove from the heat and add sugar or honey to taste.
- Stir in the lemon juice
Ugali is traditionally eaten from a communal dish, taken by the fingers and shaped into a ball in the palm of your hand. By pressing your thumb into the ball, it becomes a scoop to fill stew and vegetables.
Ingredients to Serve 4
1 cup of wimbi (flour)
2 cups of maize meal
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of margarine or butter
pinch of salt
- Mix and sift wimbi and maize flour
- Boil the water and add margerine and salt
- Add the flour and stirr continuously to prevent lumps from forming untill the mixture is thick- The flower must boil to swell. Use a mwiko (wooden paddle), it turns the mixture more easily then a wooden spoon.
- Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir until the ugali rolls in the pot when turned,it should be firm and solid.
- Cover again and simmer for another 5 minutes, turn out onto a serving dish.