New Cookbook

Click on image to Look inside

 

I photographed,wrote and published a cookbook! yay!

Brief synopsis:

Explore the Kenyan Kitchen – Authentic Recipes for the Home Cook is a collection of the very best of the Kenyan cuisine and it has easy, step-by-step and well-explained instructions on how to prepare each recipe. It also includes colourful photos – all of which are photographed in my kitchen and hand edited by me – and a pantry list of things one should have for the daily use.

The perfect cookbook for the home cook as well as any one who would like to explore the Kenyan kitchen in a deeper authentic way, this book has something to suit everyone!

Explore the Kenyan Kitchen – Authentic Recipes for the home Home Cook is finally out and available both on Print and as an ebook. See below where for where you can find it! Tag your photos with #explorethekenyankitchen so I can see what you make!

Here is where you can buy it

Download E-Book HERE  (PDF-File 92 pages) for only USD 4.99
BUY HERE on Amazon.com (92 pages) for only USD 19.90
BUY HERE on Amazon.co.uk (92 pages) for only  £ 15.36

For Kenyans

Want the book delivered at your doorstep anywhere in Nairobi or any other city in Kenya? Simply visit www.vitumob.com and oder your book from Amazon UK or US, Vitumob will ship on your behalf and deliver it within no time! Don’t have an Amazon account? No problem. Reach out to; contact@vitumob.com or call 0717 363 433 for them to shop on your behalf!

Happy Shopping 🛒

Happy Cooking!

One pot Matoke (Plantain) with Beef, Bone Marrow, Potatoes, Carrots and Spring Onions

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cooked matoke with carrots and beef

A heart warming and filling dish. One that looks messy but tastes great. My mother came back from her holiday in Kenya and brought me Kenyan Matoke/Plantain. As a foodie and a strong advocate for Kenyan food, I was in heaven. It has been years since I last had this dish and I cooked and ate it (between photographing and styling) with so much joy! Even our little Henry loved it!

If you follow my page on Instagram or Facebook you are probably aware that our little Henry just celebrated his first Birthday. It has been an amazing one-year journey, one that I won’t trade for anything in the entire world! Although there were ups and down especially in the beginning and nights when i wished he was asleep when he was awake, or laugh when he was crying, I still would do it all over again if I had a choice. They say life changes when you become a mother, and they were certainly right! Henry not only transformed us but also those around us took other positions in life, a sister became an aunty, a mother a grandmother a grandmother a great-grandmother and so on….

Back to this classic of a dish, as a child, I always enjoyed this it with a piece of bread on the side and even up to date, I do so.

This recipe would be best in cold rainy days as it very filling and contain quiet a number of starch but this is just a personal reference, you do you.

Sometimes Matoke might be a little dry even when completely cooked that is why I added bone marrows to this recipe, it gives the complete dish that buttery, silky, nutty bliss taste. Try a spoon of Matoke with bone marrow to make your own experience. If the Matoke happen to be very green and hard on the outside, I would recommend leaving them for 2-3 days at room temperature to ripen and soften a little before cooking them so as to have that sweet taste of Matoke.

matoke (plantain) potaoes, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions

kenyan matoke with potatoes, carrots and beef

Ingredients 

6 Matoke

250g beef, cut into bite sizes

3-4 bone marrow

3 medium potatoes, peeled, washed and cut in quarters

2 medium carrots, washed, peeled and cut in into sticks

2 spring onions, chopped

3 medium tomatoes, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 glass of water

a bunch of fresh coriander for garnishing

a piece of bread to go with (optional)

Instructions

Start by filling a big pot with water enough to cover the plantains and bringing it to a boil. Place the plantains in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool off. Once cooled, peel of the skin and set aside

In a saucepan place beef, bone marrow, garlic and the glass of water and boil on medium heat for 20 minutes

Separate meat from broth and set aside (you’ll need the broth later)

In the same saucepan, heat up oil on medium heat, add onions and fry till soft and translucence. Add beef and fry till it starts to brown. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook until the fresh tomatoes have softened.

Add carrots and potatoes and stir the mixture well. Let it simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes stirring in between to avoid it from burning

Add the broth you had set aside earlier and stir in salt to taste. Let it boil for a minute or two. Place Matoke / Plantain (you can leave them whole or cut them in half or as you desire) in the boiling broth, lower the heat to low and simmer the mixture for about 30-45 minutes or until Matoke / Plantain are done. Gently stir in between to avoid it from sticking at the bottom of the pan but also be careful not to break the Matoke / Plantain

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with a piece of bread on the side.

Masai Mara Safari Guide

an-elephant-family

male sitting leopard in masai mara kenya

As I am typing this, it’s 5pm in this part of the world and it’s already dark outside! It has been snowing on and off since last week but today the snowing stopped and the rain started. According to the weather forecast, the next days  we are to expect more snow and even more wet days! Grey and gloomy days like this make me miss Kenya very much. I miss the feel of the burning tropical sun on my skin, the smell of over-ripe mangos and pineapples, i miss the sound of flies that follow you around when you finish eating a mango and forget to rinse your hands, i miss the sound of the rain and the smell of the earth minutes after it had poured down. I miss home.

Kenyan is truly magical in all aspects, and I sincerely mean all! from the magical sunsets, unforgettable safaris in Masai Mara, white sand beaches at the coast and the FOOD of course to mention a few. My husband and myself enjoyed a 3 day Safari in Masai Mara a while ago and the memories of it are still fresh in our minds (and they’ll be for a long time).

July – October are the perfect months to Travel to Masai Mara to witness the great Wildebeest migration. During this time, millions of Wildebeests also known as Gnus and Zebras migrate from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures in Masai Mara. The Migration has to cross the Mara River where Crocodiles prey on them.

I am no expert in writing a travel guide, all that you’ll read here is based on our own experience.

Day 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara

We flew to Kenya in July and stayed at the Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi for a couple of days before heading to Masai Mara. From Nairobi, you can either drive or fly to the Mara. We chose to fly from Wilson Airport. It only takes about 45 minutes and you are in the wilderness. The moment you land in Masai Mara, you completely forget about the busy World you’ve left behind and I mean literally. In fact, as soon as you start approaching Masai Mara and your pilot starts pointing out at all those herds of Wildebeests and zeals of Zebras, you start wondering if this is a dream or real! and if it’s real, where have I been all this while? I had never seen soo many animals in my entire life. It felt like watching a movie! It was my first time to go on a Safari and I myself being Kenyan, the whole experience blew my mind of! On arriving at the Mara, we found our Masai guide waiting to transfer us to our Camp. We stayed in Sekenani Camp where a good friend of mine who had organised our Safari worked. (You can follow this link to book a Safari with them). We had our lunch at the camp and later on that afternoon we went for our first game drive. The first night we didn’t sleep so well (especially Nick). There was an Elephant family that decided to spend the night across the Sekenani river and we were scared that they might cross over but they could not!

Sekenani Camp Masai Mara Kenya

masai worrior safari guide in masai mara kenya

Day 2: Full Day Game Drive in Masai Mara

After Breakfast, we took off to a full day game drive in the wilderness in search of the big five. We found Lions, Elephants and Buffalos but we didn’t find Rhinos and Leopards. Apparently, this two animals are becoming rare to find.

That day, we had our picnic lunch in the middle of the Jungle before driving all the way up to the Masai Mara river to watch the great Wildebeest immigration. We didn’t get to witness the crossing over.

lioness in masai mara kenya safari

lioness with its cubs in masai mara kenya

lion cubs in masai mara kenya

an-elephant-with-its-calf-in-masai-mara

buffalos in masai mara

leopard in masai mara kenya

male and female leopard in masai mara kenya

wildbeasts in masai mara kenya

wildebeasts also known as genus with zebras in masai mara

giraffe enjoying the sun in masai mara kenya

elands in masai mara kenya

beautiful eland in masai mara kenya

Day 3: Early Morning game drive and a visit to the Masai Village in Masai Mara

On our third day in Masai Mara, we started the day off with an early morning game drive before breakfast and another one after breakfast. Watching the sunrise (and sunset) in Masai Mara is an indescribable experience. The light is magic in its purest form!

fig-tree-in-masai-mara-kenya

zebras-in-the-morning-light-in-masai-mara

masai guide in masai mara kenya

giraffe in masai mara

giraffe calf in masai mara kenya

In the afternoon after lunch and a power nap, we toured around our camp and visited their organic garden where they grow there own vegetables! oh yes, Sekenani Camp grows organic vegetables in the middle of the jungle! Later on we walked all way to the nearby Masai Village which took us approximately 1 hour. We drove our way back. The Masai have an interesting culture and are very friendly and welcoming in nature. They welcomed us with a song and gladly showed us their way of living even how to make fire without any matches!

masai young man in masai mara kenya

masai

masai in kenya

In the evening of our third day in Masai Mara, we witnessed another magical sunset from our tent and later on enjoyed cocktails in a campfire and in the company of other guests in our Camp.

The next morning we popped up to the next aircraft to Mombasa where we spent the rest of our holiday at the Whitesands in Mombasa before returning to Zürich.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you are planning a Safari or thinking of going into one, don’t think twice, for you have so much to look forward to.

Photo Credit: My Husband.

A Kenyan Inspired Christmas Table Setting + Spiced Chai Cupcake Recipe

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masai-table-setting

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This year for the very first time have decided to go with a Kenyan inspired Christmas table setting instead of the traditional one. It felt so good setting it and I just can not wait to seat and dine with my family on it.

To top everything up, I also came up with a recipe for the best cupcakes have ever had! They are full of my favourite spices that burst in your mouth from the very first to the last bite. They also have black tea in them, which gives them that extra authentic taste of home.

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kenyan-chai-spiced-cupcakes

 

chai-cupcakes

 

I honesty could not resist tasting one before taking the photos.

Recipes for Spiced Chai Cupcakes

250g flour

250g sugar

240ml milk

80g butter

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon loose black tea (1 tea bag would also do)

A pinch of salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon ginger powder

¼ teaspoon cloves powder

A pinch of black pepper

A pinch of anise powder

Instructions

1. Start by heating the milk in a saucepan together with all the spices. Let it boil for a minute then take it off the heat. Add the loose black tea and let it infuse for 5 minutes. Pass the milk through a sieve and set it aside to cool down.

2. Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with large cupcake liners.

3. In a mixing bowl mix together butter and sugar. Add the eggs one after the other and mix thoroughly. Add the spicy milk and mix everything together again.

4. In another bowl combine together the dry ingredients; flour, salt and baking powder and mix well to ensure there is an even distribution of ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients mixing slowly until all the ingredients are well  combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl after each addition.

5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

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Enjoy with a cup of tea.

Classic Kenyan Beef Stew

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kenyan-beef-stew-with-corander

Hello there from my new world! it has been a minute! I know i know.. I guess this is the longest I have stayed without posting since I started this platform. Well, it has been for all the good reasons! first thing first, we have a new member in the family! Yeah! Nick and I welcomed a little cutie, healthy bouncing baby boy on the 13th of june this year! His name is Henry. Weighed 3.4kg and was 52 cm tall of pure happiness. I fell in love with him the moment i held him in my arms, and he smelled heavenly! The first months into motherhood were extremely hard from getting to know him and him us, to dealing with sleep deprivation, postpartum blues, and dealing with the crazy hormonal changes that no one tells you about until you are in it! All of that and all at once!

They say your life changes when you become a mother and they were certainly right. My life changed all over a sudden but for the better. To me, being a mother is having the greatest job in the world, it means getting again that golden chance of seeing the world through my child’s eyes and most importantly, to practicing unconditional love that has no end.

That said, it’s yet again that time of the year (at least in this part of the world) that calls for a warm hearty Kenyan beef stew and this one happens to be the best I’ve ever had. With the simplest ingredients, some oil, a bone marrow or two and of course a beef steak, one gets a delicious dish that distract you from the bad weather outside and warms you from inside.

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beef-steak-for-stew

Ingredients

1/2 kg beef, cut into bite sizes

1 cup of water                           

4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 big red onion or 2 small ones, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

3-4 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon tomatopaste

2 carrots, diced

5 small potatoes, diced

3 Bay leave

½ teaspoon paprika powder

½ teaspoon curry powder

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Fresh coriander for garnishing

Instructions 

In a saucepan, place meat, ginger, garlic and 1 cup of water. Boil the meat for roughly 30 minutes on medium heat

Separate meat from broth and set aside (you’ll need the broth later for the stew)

In a separate saucepan, heat vegetable oil on medium heat, fry onions till soft. Add beef and fry till it starts to brown. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook till the fresh tomatoes have softened. Add the spices; curry powder and paprika and mix well. Let the mixture simmer for a minute or two for the spices to mix well with the beef.

Add carrots and potatoes and stir well, again let the mixture simmer about five minutes stirring each minute to avoid sticking in the pan. Once everything has mixed in well add the broth you had set aside earlier. Stir well and throw in the bay leaves, lower the heat to low and Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is tender stirring from time to time. Season with salt and pepper

Ganish with fresh corinder and serve hot with rice, ugali or chapati.

cooked-kenyan-beef-stew

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Mbaazi za Nazi (Pigeon Peas in Coconut Milk)

dry pigeon peas

mbaazi:dry pigeon peas

Today I woke up feeling positively energized and inspired. Inspired to follow my dreams and manifest them. Life can change in an instant, it’s the act of coping with what happened that really matters. The last months haven’t been the easiest in my life. Most of you might have noticed that since last year and today, I have only managed to post one recipe.

Last autumn, my life took a turn that I didn’t see coming and never would have thought of (that’s a story for another day). Out of the whole experience, I have learned to look at life from a different angle and accepting circumstances as they are instead of trying to change them or run away. At first I wanted to run away from it all – when I say running I don’t necessarily mean jogging – I mean running as first as I could, lung burning run. Run off my fears and anxiety… run off my anger… run off the reality… I did try to run, only to make things worse. I guess it is in our human nature to try and run away from the reality from time to time. But once we realize we cannot change things to be the way we wish/want them to be and start accepting them as they are, life becomes much more easier. Instead of lamenting of the things that we’ve lost in the past, it’s good to learn to let go and see each new day as another opportunity to being a better person that we weren’t yesterday. What seems like the end of everything, it is actually the beginning of something new, another chapter in life. Everything happens for a reason, nothing is a coincidence. I have named the autumn of last year “The Golden Autumn” and am so grateful for each and every lesson it has taught me.

Golden Autumn

The Golden Autumn

It was during “The Golden Autumn” that my mum brought me these peas from her summer holiday in Kenya. Pigeon peas are considered as one of the strongest draught-tolerant crops in Kenya and some other countries in East Africa. Even when everything else dries up; the water wells, plants and the soil, these peas continue to survive and have been a life saver in many homes. I have come to like them a lot of lately and at some point they keep on reminding me how strong I can be. That no matter the situation, we have to keep on moving and being strong. After enjoying them several times is when I remembered you guys (Lol) and just with the last half a kilo left, I happened to manage to capture and write this recipe for you.

Mbaazi za Nazi (pigeon peas in coconut milk) is the most stumble breakfast dish for most homesteads in the Kenyan coast. Traditionally they are accompanied by Mahamri.

Normally dry peas are used but even young peas would do.

cooked mbaazi

Mbaazi za nazi:pigeon peas with coconut milk

Mbaazi za Nazi (pigon peas in coconut milk)

Ingredients

½ kg dry pigeon peas or 2 cans precooked pigeon peas

Water for boiling the peas

1 cup normal coconut milk

½ cup thick coconut milk

2-3 green or red chilies

½ teaspoon turmeric or curry powder (optional)

Salt to taste

Instructions

Soak dry peas overnight and rinse them in the morning before boiling them till soft, takes about an hour. (If using canned rinse well and drain)

Drain once they are cooked and add 1 cup of normal coconut milk, chilies, turmeric powder, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on very low heat for about 10 – 15 minutes

In a separate saucepan, place the thick coconut milk and bring it to a light boil stirring constantly using a whisk until it has double thickened. Remove from heat and set aside

Scoop a few spoons of the thick coconut milk on to the pigeon peas folding it before serving

Enjoy with Mahamri or Chapati

Viazi Karai (Potatoes in Gram Flour)

Happy New Year everyone!

It is yet another year, still very young and fresh! Who knows what it holds for us?

As we find out, here a recipe of one of my all time favorite snack to kick-start the New Year with.

Viazi karai are basically boiled potatoes coated in a batter made of white flour, gram flour and saffron or turmeric powder then deep-fried. They are then served with tamarind chutney (but any other chutney would do).

These potatoes are a major street food snacks in the Kenyan coast and are among other beloved snacks in the Kenyan cuisine. They can also be served for breakfast or as a side dish.

Below is a simple recipe to enjoy at home.

Ingredients

6-8 large potatoes

1 cup of flour (white or all purpose)

¾ cups of gram flour

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon safron, turmeric or yellow food colour

salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Instructions

Place unpeeled potatoes in a sauce pan. Add enough water to cover them and boil for 15-20 minutes or till done. Drain, peel and quarter them

In mixing bowl, add flour, gram flour and salt. Combine together

Add water and whisk to make a smooth lump free batter that is not very thick

Heat up oil in a wok and reduce heat to medium

Dip potatoes in the batter and cover them with the batter  then drop them in the hot oil

Fry the potatoes evenly turning from time to time till crispy. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve hot with Tamarind chutney or any other chutney of your choice.

Tamarind Chutney

1 packet tamarind (about 500g)

2 big carrots, washed, peeled and cut into chunks

15-20 green chillis

2 cups of hot boiling water (more or less depending on how thick you wish the chutney to be)

2 cloves of garlic

1 inch of fresh ginger, grated (optional)

2 tablespoons of chilli powder

Salt to taste

Instructions

Soak tamarind in 2 cups of hot boiling water for 1-2 hours

Boil carrots till soft

With your hands, squeeze the pulp for the tamarind. Strain and set the juice aside

Place all the other ingredients in a blender with the tamarind juice and blend well.

Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken with Garlic Butter and Vegetables

roasted chicken with garlic butter

 

It’s Friday afternoon and I can feel the gentler pace of the weekend creeping in. Too often my weekends are poles apart from my weekdays. While the week is full of chaos and running from home to work and back, my weekends are spent in a slow motion. The slowdown brought by the end of the week changes everything. As I approach the weekend, everything in me inside and out slows down as well. I am openly and willingly admitting that, naturally I am a slow person. And I love it. The art of slow living gives me such inner peace that sometimes, if assigned to do something I fall in love with the process more than the final product.

whole chicken with lemon

It’s Sunday late afternoon and I am listening to Matt Simons sing catch and release on Spotify. We have just walked in the front door less than an hour ago from our usual Sunday walk in the nature, walks that I so dearly love and adore. The wildflowers blooming, the sound of the stream, the birds singing, the soft wind blowing, the quietness of the woods and fresh breath clears the cobwebs in my mind and soothes my heart. We walked in the front door and I peeled a sweet potato, chopped some carrots and halved a lemon, seasoned a whole chicken with garlic butter and threw everything in the oven to slowly roast. And now, as I lay here on the sofa listening to catch and release all I can think of is the smell that comes from the oven. Oh my! The savoury and piquant smell of a roasting chicken is just out of this space! Every time I happen to make a little trip to the kitchen, I would stand on the oven just to sniff the sensational hot air gushing out of the oven and when the long awaited minute of busting the chicken finally arrives, I’ll get all giggling as I slightly open the oven door and my nose will be greeted by that extra intense sniff. You see it’s the little things in life that makes us happy.

bowl of vegetables

chicken stuffed with half a lemon

In my growing arsenal of roasted meals, this chicken is among the top 3 and what makes it unique is the use of sweet potatoes, or so I believe. Their tangy sweetness seems to ooze very well with the chicken. In the Kenyan Cuisine, these vegetables are among the easiest to love and either grilled/roasted, boiled or cooked in coconut milk, they have a unique way to deliver their unique taste. Did I mention that I also added some fresh ginger to this dish? Oh and shallots! So many goodies in one pan!!!

seasoned chicken

Of all the culinary pleasures in the world, my favourite is eating a crispy, well-seasoned skin of a roasted chicken and I am firm you’ll all agree with me that is it for certain one of life’s finer things.

Below are 2 simple tips for getting a crispy skin.

1. Let the chicken stand at room temperature uncovered for one hour before cooking.

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels so skin doesn’t steam in oven.

If you do these two things, in addition to letting the bird rest for 10 minutes before carving, your roast chicken will be divine — crispy skin, golden brown all around, juicy meat.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken

6 – 8 cloves of garlic, minced

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 lemon, halved

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Vegetables

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

3 medium shallots, halved or quartered

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces

Fresh thyme for the vegetables

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Start by first preparing the chicken. Remove giblets from the chicken, trim any excess fat from and around the bird’s cavity then rinse and dry it thoroughly. The drier the chicken, the crispier the skin will be

Tie the legs together with a kitchen twine and place the bird in a baking dish or a roasting pan. Let the chicken sit at room temperature uncovered for one hour before roasting

Prepare the vegetables by placing them in a large bowl and drizzling with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to combine and set aside

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius

Generously season chicken both inside and out with salt and pepper

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add the minced garlic, fry till the garlic is soft. Brush the melted garlic-butter all over the bird including the cavity. Place the two halved lemons and the rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Place the prepared vegetables around the chicken

Roast the chicken for 1 hour basting it in between using a spoon and titling the pan to collect some juice and spooning it on top of the chicken

Once done, remove the chicken from the roasting pan and transfer it to a cutting board to serving platter.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving

roasted chicken with vegetables

Serve with accompanying vegetables and enjoy!

Kenyan Sponge Cake

simple kenyan spongcake

A few weeks ago, my friend (and neighbor) came over at my place for an afternoon tea and a catch up session.

The last time we actually had a decent girly talk and a good heartily laugh was before she had her baby! And hey, that was 9 months ago!! Not that we live far from each other, but we seemed to be too busy with our daily life’s that we didn’t realise how time had passed by quickly.  Of course, we kept in touch through phoning and texting, but that is not the same as tapping it in the air in person after a good gossip.

Since my morning was busy and I happened not to have much time to do a lot of baking, I decided to go for the Kenyan sponge cake for the occasion. This cake happens to be so simple, easy and quick to prepare that it feels like cheating.

What makes the Kenyan sponge cake special is the use of my little exotic friend named Cardamom. Now, if you have never experienced the real taste of cardamom in food, this is just the right occasion to do so.  And I promise, you won’t look at it like you used to before. Cardamom has a very unique taste with an intensely aroma and fragrance and either used in sweet or savory dishes, it captures and delivers the real essence of exotic like no other spice. Though small in size, just a few pods are more than enough to give an ordinary dish that exotic taste.

In the Kenyan cuisine, cardamom is widely used and in some parts like the Kenyan coast and the Island of Lamu, cardamom, the queen of spice, is considered essential to a everyday pot of coffee, Kahawa chungu or tea, and it’s difficult to imagine dishes like biryan, pilau, mahamari and this sponge cake among others, without some cardamom pods nestled among them.

Eggs, cardamon and flour

Ingredients

1 cup flour

¾ cup sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon ground cardamom powder

4 – 6 cardamom pods, opened (only use the seeds)

A pinch of cinnamon powder

Extras; 1 tablespoon flour and butter for dusting

sponge cake batter in a baking tin

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Add eggs and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix using an electric whisk or a hand mixture until thick and voluminous

In separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients and sift in gently into the egg and sugar mixture. Use a spatula to fold in the flour until there is no more lumps of the flour

Prepare a baking tin by lightly greasing it with butter and dusting it with flour then pour the cake mixture into it

Place it in the oven and back till golden brown ca. 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Cool completely on a wire rack before serving

simple kenyan sponge cake

Enjoy.

BAKE. EAT. REPEAT

Oven Baked Garlic & Rosemary French Fries + Masala Sauce (chips masala)

chips with masala sauceYesterday was our anniversary  (5 years and 7 months yeah!) I still cannot consider how time passes by quickly. It seems like we just met yesterday yet at some point I feel like have known him all my life and even the life before!

Since I had the day off, I wanted to prepare something special yet healthy and of course not time consuming (we all have that issue of time, I bet, don’t we?)  I had potatoes in my pantry – I always have potatoes somewhere around the kitchen since there are so many things one can do with them– and after debating with myself of weather to do some quick potato salad or baked potatoes, someone inside me was yearning silently but with an increasing frequency for something spicy! While I was tempted to do Kenyan Chips Masala, I decided to give the recipe a few twists of my own hence making it healthier.

Chips Masala is basically French fries mixed with spicy-tomato-gravy-sauce and garnished with a bunch of fresh coriander and a touch of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Instead of deep-frying the fries, I baked them in the oven coated with garlic, rosemary and olive oil to get them nice and crispy and instead of mixing them with Masala sauce – I personally don’t like mushy Chips Masala as a result of the sauce – I covered them with the Masala Sauce.

Masala sauce calls for a generous use of tomatoes and a good measure of spices. The amazing array of spices and flavours combined with tomatoes and topped on crispy French fries does surely taste amazing! Sincerely speaking from yesterday’s experience, this was one of the best side dishes have made in a while. So many flavours from the Masala sauce, rather easy, and quick to put together, AND pretty healthy.

potatoes

Ingredients for Oven Baked French Fries

1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch french-fry strips

4 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stripped off and minced if desired

4 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for Masala Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil or any other cooking oil

3 green cardamoms, 1 bay leave, ½ cinnamon stick, 2 cloves and some cumin seeds

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 onion, finely chopped

3 aroma fresh tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon curry powder (I used the original Kenyan curry powder – simba mbili)

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon dhania powder

1 teaspoon crushed chillis

½ cup water

Salt to taste

A bunch of fresh chopped coriander

½ a lemon

Preparation

First prepare the sauce by heating up oil in a medium pan over medium heat.

Add green cardamoms, bay leave, cinnamon stick, cloves and cumin seeds, let this whole spices blend with the oil while heating up. This will give the sauce a very nice and spicy aroma

Add finely chopped onions, minced ginger and garlic and toast till the onions have lightly browned evenly

Add fresh tomatoes together with the tomato paste and simmer till soft and pulpy

Lower the heat and add all the other spices and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid it from burning

Add water and salt and allow the mixture to simmer over very low heat for 30-45 minutes while stirring form time to time

Keep it warm till serving time

For a more silky texture, the sauce can also be pureed in a blender or food processor.

Preparing garlic and rosemary French fries

Mix together olive oil, garlic, rosemary and salt. Allow them to sit together for a while.

Preheat oven to 200 °c

Evenly distribute potato strips on a baking sheet and pour the olive oil mixture over them. Mix together till all the potato strips are coated with the olive oil mixture. Spread them in an even layer, place the pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until have acquired preferred brownness and crispiness

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

While serving, cover with Masala sauce and garnish with fresh coriander and a squeeze some lemon juice on top.

french fries with masala sauce

Enjoy!