Kahawa Chungu – Authentic Kenyan Bitter Coffee

Coffee Beans
Kahawa
Kahawa Chungu featured foto

Each time I think of Kahawa chungu or best known as Bitter coffee, the first thing that runs into my mind is the story of a Thousand and one Nights!

It all started a few months ago, after I finished reading “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. This was the 3rd time I was reading this book, and each time the story becomes more and more interesting! It is like I cannot get enough of it! I wonder if this is just me, or, this also happens to other people when they find their favorite Authors and can’t get enough of their stories?

Anyway, after I finished the book, I wanted to read something totally different. So I got myself a novel, which is set in Kenya in the early 1917 called “Green City In The Sun” by Barbara Wood. After reading a quarter of it, I got bored since to be honest, I could not get Things Fall Apart out of my mind!

Then one afternoon, as I was going through my Library, I came across “Alfu Lela U Lela au Siku Elfu Moja Na Moja” famously known as – A Thousand and One Nights! – I had gotten this book as a present once and hadn’t read it though I knew almost all the stories. What made me feel like “relieved” to have found it was that it is in Kiswahili! I immediately started reading it that evening.

Coffee and Book Alfu lela u lela

Since then, my childhood memories started emerging one after the other on how my Late Uncle (R.I.P) used to narrate us all this one-of-a-kind folk tales. My favorite one (and still is) is the one of Aladdin and the magic light. He would make himself a cup of Kahawa Chungu and we would seat around him to listen as he narrated. I believe if he were alive today, he would be a master storyteller.

Kahawa Chungu is a specialty of the Kenyan Coast cuisine mostly preserved for old men. Due to its bitter intense flavor, full body and pleasant aroma with notes of cardamom and cinnamon, this concentrated black coffee from freshly grounded Kenyan Coffee beans, is traditionally brewed over a charcoal stove in tall brass kettles reminiscent of the ancient Arabic World.

Sitting on low benches on the humid streets of the coastal region, elderly Men sip hot kahawa chungu from miniature ceramic cups while playing Chess. Kahawa Chungu is traditionaly accompanied by Haluwa (A type of dense, sweet confection) or Dates.

Kahawa Chungu
As days passed by, my mind and fingers started burning to make Kahawa Chungu recipe and post it here. At last, I grinded my Kenyan coffee beans and below is the recipe.

Enjoy

Ingredients

3 tablespoons freshly ground coffee beans

1 cup of cold water Seeds of 3 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil

Reduce heat and maintain at a low boil for 10-15 minutes

Pour through a strainer into a coffeepot and serve hot with Haluwa or Dates

Kahawa Chungu, Bitter Coffee

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala 2

Chicken Tikka Masala is boneless chucks of chicken marinated in spices and youghurt then cooked in spicey sauce. In the Kenyan cuisine, this dish defers slightly depending on which part of the country one is. In Nairobi and other parts of upcountry regions, cream is basically used to season the sauce while in the coastal regions, coconut cream is used with various spices.

Below is a simple recipe on how to enjoy Chicken Tikka Masala at home!

Chicken Tikka Masala 1

 

Enjoy….

Kenyan Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients

For the Marinade

1/2 Kilo Bon less chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 cup thick natural youghurt
1 teaspoon Chilli powder
1 teaspoon Coriander powder
1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and garlic paste
A pinch of Methi (Fenugreek) powder
A pinch of Turmeric powder
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Juice of half a lime
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Add the spices in a mixing bowl and mix well to make a thick marinade
Add Chicken to the marinade and mix well
Cover and let it marinade for atleast 4 hours! I personally let mine marinade overnight in the refrigerator

Preheat the oven to 250°C, put inn the marinated Chicken and grill it for half an hour.

In the meantime prepare the Masala Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup cooking oil
Whole garam spices (1 bay leave, 2 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 clove,black pepper and cumin seeds) this will give your cooking oil a delicious aroma and add an exotic taste to the Masala Sauce
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped or blended
1 teaspoon grind cashew nuts
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and garlic paste
1 teaspoon of chilli, coriander and cumin powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 cup of water
Juice of half a lime
1/2 cup cream or Coconut cream (optional)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Cubed tomato, red bell pepper, onion and a bunch of fresh coriander for garnishing

Instructions

In a big cooking pan or wok, add oil, whole garam spices and heat up. Let the spices blend in with the oil while heating up till you get a nice delicious aroma

Add finely chopped onions and cook till uniformly brown and soft. Stir in ginger and garlic paste and cook for about a minute or 2

Add finely chopped or blended tomatoes together with the tomato paste and grind cashew nuts. Let the mixture cook till the fresh tomatoes are soft and pulpy

Lower the heat and add the spices; chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric powder. Add a little bit of water to avoid them from burning. Let the paste cook for about 3 minutes while stirring constantly to avoid it from burning

Add the half grilled chicken tikka into the paste and stir well till the chicken captures the gravy flovour

Pour in the cream or coconut cream and lime juice and stir the mixture very well

Season with salt and pepper

Garnish with fresh cubed tomatoes, red bell pepper, onions and coriander

Serve hot with Rice or Chapati..

Chicken Tikka Masala 3

 

 

 

 

Kenyan Tomato Avocado Salad

Tomato avocadoAvocado

 

Ingredients

2-3 large fresh garden tomatoes, washed and slices

A handful of cherry tomatoes

2 medium avocados, peeled and cut into bite size chucks

1 red onion, thinly sliced (Optional)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Fresh basil, parsley or coriander for garnishing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

In a salad bowl add slices tomatoes, avocados and red onion (if any)

In a separate bowl mix olive oil with lemon juice and toss the mixture into the salad Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Garnish with basil, parsley or coriander….

Enjoy!

Tomato Avocado Image

 

Tips

Do not refrigerate this salad

Fresh chilies might be added according to your taste

 

 

 

 

Kenyan Creamy Coleslaw Salad

Coleslaw Salad-2Being one of my favorite Salads, Coleslaw is also one of all-time salads in the Kenyan Cuisine. 

It can be served as a starter or as a side dish to a BBQ chicken, roasted Goat or Deep fried Fish.

Below is a simple recipe for a creamy Coleslaw to enjoy at home.

Ingredients

1 head of cabbage, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, washed, peeled and finely shredded
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small celery stick or 1 apple, finely shredded
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
4-6 tablespoons granulated sugar (Depending on how sweet you would like your Cole Slaw)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
¼ cup milk
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
A bunch of fresh coriander or any other herb of your choice for garnishing

Instructions

In a large bowl combine; Mayonnaise, sugar, lime juice, white vinegar, milk, salt and pepper and beat the mixture well using a whisk until very smooth
Add chopped cabbage, carrots and onions and mix very well
Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight before serving
When serving, garnish with coriander or any other herb of your choice
Enjoy!

  Coleslaw Salad

Biriani – Biryani

Biryani (4)Biryani just like Pilau is a rice-based dish known for its unique aroma and flavor. It is basically cooked with spiced chicken, mutton, beef, fish, eggs or vegetable. This exotic dish is among the specialties along the Kenyan Coast.

Below is a chicken Biryani recipe, enjoy!

Ingredients for Chicken Biryani Sauce

8-10 skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into large pieces
5 potatoes, peeled, washed and quartered
2 hard boiled eggs
½ cup of vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime
180 ml natural yogurt
2 tablespoons grated raw papaya (optional)
4 medium onions, diced
4 fresh tomatoes, sliced or blended
1 Can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
4 tablespoons of biryani mixed ground spices
1 tablespoon fresh ginger paste
1 tablespoon fresh garlic paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste and fresh ground pepper
1 cup of chicken broth or hot water

Instructions 

In a mixing bowl, add yogurt, half of the lime juice and grated papaya, half ginger paste, garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken and marinate for 2 hours or overnight
In a preheated oven, roast the marinated chicken for 45 minutes. Set aside once it is done
In the meantime, heat oil in a wok or frying pan, deep fry potatoes till soft and crispy then set aside
In the same wok or pan, fry onions till soft and golden brown, set aside as well
On a medium heat, preheat a larger sauce pan, add some vegetable oil in it, pour sliced/blended fresh tomatoes and fry  till very soft. Add Can tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Little oil may be added to prevent the sauce from sticking on the pan
Add biryani mixed ground spices and the remaining spices, stir well to blend in spices with the tomato sauce
Add chicken, potatoes, fried onions and hot water or chicken broth. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes

 Ingredients for the rice

1Kg Basmati rice
4 cups of hot water
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
A pinch of saffron or food color
2-3 bay leaves
Salt to taste

Biryani (2)

Instructions

Wash rice then soak for 30 minutes
Soak a pinch of saffron or food color in some water and set aside
Bring a big pot of water to boil, add salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and 2-3 bay leaves
Drain the soaked rice and add it into the boiling water. Partially cook rice until it is about 80% cooked. Strain any remaining water and set aside
In a large baking dish or aluminum foil, spread some oil and layer half of the rice. Sprinkle some saffron or food color and some oil on top
Repeat this process with the remaining rice not forgetting to sprinkle the remaining saffron or food color and oil on the top
Cover and steam cook the rice on low heat or put it in a preheated oven on 180°c for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with the Biryani sauce on top

Alternatively, rice and the biryani sauce can be cooked together on layers by first placing rice on a large baking dish, followed by saffron or food color, some oil and the biryani sauce. Repeat the layering till done and steam cook for 15 minutes. This process infuses the tasty biryani spices into the rise as it steams.

Enjoy ;-

Biryani (7)

Chai ya Tangawizi – Authentic Kenyan Ginger Tea

Chai ya Tangawizi - Kenyan ginger TeaChai as they call in Kiswahili to refer Tea is one of Kenyans widely drunken beverage. There are a lot of different ways of doing it. Below is an authentic recipe I learned from my mother to enjoy chai at home!

Karibu Chai

Ingredients

4 cups of fresh milk
2 cups of water
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons of loose pure Kenyan black tea (or any other loose black tea)
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves

Instructions

Add spices into a mortar and using a pestle grind or mash them into a powder like

In a wide saucepan, add water and bring it to boil on a medium heat

Add tea, ginger, spices and sugar and let the mixture boil for 2-3 minutes on a low heat

Add milk and bring to simmer, stirring with a sieve to blend in sugar and the spices. Let the chai boil again for another 2 minutes before removing it from the heat

Strain the chai and serve hot

Chai

Tip

Chai goes well with Mahamri

Sambusa – Samosa

Samosa Samosa is a triangular-shape savory pastry fried in oil, containing spiced vegetables, ground beef/lamb, ground chicken or fish. In the Kenyan Cuisine, samosas are considered as exotic snacks of all times. Below is a simple recipe for ground beef samosas which are my favorites! 

Enjoy!

Beef Samosa filling

Ingredients 
1 kg ground beef
¼kg fresh or frozen green peas
2 red onions, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, grated
1-inch fresh ginger, grated
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped (Optional)
½ teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bunch of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon (optional)
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions

On a medium heat, cook meat in uncovered frying pan or wok. Stir constantly to ensure all lumps are broken. Before the water completely evaporates, add peas, onions, ginger, garlic, chili and spices. Season with salt and pepper

Remove from heat and stir in fresh coriander and the lemon juice

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely

For the dough pastry you’ll need;

4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of any vegetable oil
1 ½ cups of warm water
*Extra flour for rolling

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt and vegetable oil until it is crumbly. Slowly add water little at a time as you knead the dough. Keep kneading for 15-20 minutes until it is soft, smooth and not sticking in either your hands or the walls of your bowl

Cover dough pastry in a slightly greased container and let it rest for 30minutes to 1 hour at a room temperature

Dived the dough into 4-5 equal balls preferably not very big

Roll out a ball into ca. 6-inch diameter circle, brush a little oil on it and lightly sprinkle some flour

Repeat this process with all the other balls of dough while gently laying them on top of each other

Use your rolling pin to thinly roll out the pilled dough into a diameter of 10-12 inches

Preheat a skillet on a medium heat and place the rolled out dough on top of it. Let it cook until it starts to bubble up (make sure not to burn it). Flip it over and cook the other side until it bubbles up too

Neatly place your half cooked wraps on a clean surface and using a knife, quarter them into 4 equal parts (with each part forming a triangle shape)

Separate the triangles very gently and cover them with a clean cloth to avoid drying up

Preparing Samosa pockets and deep frying

In a small mixing bowl, mix ½ a cup of flour with a little water and make a thick flour paste to serve as a “glue” for sealing samosa pockets

Follow the simple steps showed below to prepare samosa pockets
 


Fold all samosa pockets first in a cone shape before filling them with the cooled meat. Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to fill the samosa pockets (Do not overfill them)    

Seal using the “glue” you prepared (Seal them very well otherwise they’ll open up when frying!)

Samosa

Filled and sealed samosa pockets can be stored in the refrigerator and be deep fried the next day or one can also deep freeze them  as desired

Heat up oil in a deep frying pan or Wok

Test  your oil by gently dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough stays at the bottom for a couple of seconds then rises to the surface then your oil is ready for frying but if it rises up immediately after dropping it into the oil, then your oil is too hot and you need to reduce the heat. Too hot oil will only cook the outside and the inside will be uncooked especially if the samosas were frozen

Deep fry samosa till golden brown on both sides and crispy, use a kitchen paper or a clean towel to drain off any excess oil

Serve hot or cold accompanied by a chutney of any kind or a piece of fresh lime

Samosa
Enjoy

Supu ya Malenge – Kenyan Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin SoupIn the Kenyan cuisine, Pumpkin is used in various ways; e.g to make soups, as a side dish or as a substitute for potatoes while its soft and tender leaves are used to make the famous mukimo – a Kenyan delicacy. Here is a simple and quick recipe for a tasty silky textured Pumpkin soup! Enjoy :-)  

 

 Ingredients 

  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Fresh ginger, minced
  • 1Kg Pumpkin, washed, peeled, deseeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 fresh carrot, washed, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 potato, washed, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ litres of vegetable or chicken stock (hot)
  • ½ cup double cream (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Handful dry pumpkin seeds for garnishing 

Instructions  In a large saucepan, heat 5tablespoons of olive oil then gently fry onions, garlic and ginger until soft. Add pumpkin, carrot and potato to the sauce pan and carry on cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally till its soft. Pour the hot vegetable or chicken stock into the sauce pan, stir gently then bring it to boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 20-25 minutes until tender. Add the double cream (if any) and bring to boil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Puree with a hand blender. Serve hot with a piece of bread and garnish with dry pumpkin seeds.   Tips A few drops of olive oil can be drizzled when serving to add more taste. For an extra velvety consistency the soup can be pushed through a fine sieve into another pan before served. This soup can be frozen for up to 2 months.

 

Pumpkin soup

Mahamri – Coconut & cardamom doughnuts

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailMahamri is a type of doughnut whose special ingredients include Coconut milk and cardamom. This authentic type of snack originated from the Swahili coastal regions of Kenya and Tanzania and is still very popular in both regions. Normally, it is accompanied by pigeon peas cooked in Coconut milk or a cup of typical Kenyan Chai..

Due to its special exotic taste, Mahamri is considered as one of Kenyan’s Delicacies. 

For a perfect Sunday Brunch or that special occasion or just for your family and friends, try this simple Recipe! 

Enjoy … :-)

 

Mahamri Recipe

Ingredients  

  • 3 cups of flour    
  • 8 -10 tablespoons of brown sugar (depending on how sweet you wish your Mahamris to be)
  • 1 teaspoon of instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon of ghee, butter or margarine
  • 1 medium Egg – (optional)  
  • cup of coconut milk for kneading the dough
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

Instructions

In a mixing bowl add flour, sugar, yeast and cardamom, ghee/butter/margarine and the egg. Mix the ingredients together with either clean hands or a mixture. Slowly add coconut milk little at a time, as you knead the dough

If you are using your hands to knead the dough, knead it for a minimum of 15-20 minutes until it’s soft, smooth and not sticky in either your hands or the walls of your bowl
Place the dough in a container and cover it with either a lid or a clean cloth. Let it rest and rise for at least    3-4 hours in room temperature. I normally leave mine overnight! The dough should double in size

Using a dough cutter or a knife, divide the dough into 4-5 equal balls. Coat each ball of dough with flour, cover them again with a clean cloth for 15 minutes and let them puff/rise

Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and using a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough into a circle of about 6 inches. Move with the dough and if needed use more flour to prevent the dough from sticking on the surface and on the rolling pin

Cut each rolled dough into 4pieces

Heat up the vegetable oil in a frying pan on a wok

Test your oil by gently dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough stays at the bottom for a couple of seconds then rises to the surface then your oil is ready for frying but if it rises up immediately after dropping it into the oil, then your oil is too hot and you need to reduce the heat otherwise your mahamris will burn and end up not been cooked inside

Fry 4 mahamri at a time (depending on the size of your pan or wok). Use your strainer to splash oil over the top of the mahamris in order to help them puff up. As soon as you see the bottom side of the mahamris has turned light-gold brown turn them over

Keep turning the mahamris until they have a nice golden brown colour on both sides. Remove them from the hot oil and place them in a serving plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil

Repeat this process until all the dough pieces have been fried

Allow them to cool for a few minutes and enjoy!!

Serve for breakfast with pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk or a cup of typical Kenyan Chai or both ;-)…

 Tips

  • For healthier Mahamris I recommend whole wheat flour or half white and half whole
  • If you do not like using coconut milk for whatever the reason might be, normal milk may be used. The taste will be slightly different but they are as equal as delicious!
  • This authentic Recipe is normally prepared in tropical climate. In other climates, you may need to add a little bit of instant yeast than the one mentioned on this Recipe.

 

Mkate wa Maji – Kenyan Pancakes or Crepes

PancakesIngredients

  • 3 cups of wheat flour
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 cup of fresh milk
  • 2-3 eggs
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Ghee or vegetable oil for cooking

In a clean mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar and cardamom.Add water one cup at a time and using a big whisk mix very well. Then add milk and eggs and mix thoroughly till the batter is smooth and without any lumps

On a medium heat, heat up a clean non-sticking pancake pan and add very little ghee or vegetable oil (make sure to spread the oil everywhere once its heated)

Take a medium ladle full of batter and pour it in the middle of the pan. Using the back of the same ladle, spread the batter to determine the shape and size of your pancake

Using a spatula, lift the sides of the crepes to ensure it is not sticking on the pan and gently flip it over

After both sides are cooked, remove the pancake from the pan and place it in a clean plate.

Repeat this process with the remaining batter till you are done.

Serve hot with a cup of typical Kenyan Chai

 Tips

  • For healthier crepes I recommend half white and half whole wheat flour 
  • The bigger the ladle is the thicker the crepe will be hence not enjoyable that’s why I suggest a medium to small ladle
  • Enjoy pancakes for breakfast or brunch, hot or cold with jam, honey or marble syrup.

Mkate wa maji - pancakes-4