One of my closest friends while I was growing up was a beautiful girl called Sakina. We were very close and played at each other’s homes all the time. Our parents too were very close because ours was a relatively close knit neighborhood. Like nearly every African country, one home’s celebration is the entire neighborhood’s celebration. So whenever there was a party or celebration at Sakina’s place, it was the entire neighborhood’s celebration. I absolutely loved to go to their place because Sakina’s mum always whipped up the most decadent and exotic meals I would have in a long time. Served in generous portions, she made sure that all guests had their tummies full. The parties at Sakina’s home were not to be missed. Period! The very first time I had biryani was at their home, and it really blew my breath away. Today, I relived those fantastic memories and made this unforgettable chicken biryani. This recipe is so fantastic, it will make people want to move in with you.
In my primary school, we used to wash our classrooms every Friday afternoon before heading home for the weekend. This not only instilled a sense of responsibility and cleanliness in us but made our learning environment a lot more conducive. We would wash our classroom as fast as we possibly could so that we could proceed to play for the rest of the afternoon. When we were released to go home on Friday, my friends and I would walk home instead of taking public matatu transportation. We would indulge in our silly girly musings and pass by some shops not too far from school to buy bhajias. I always made sure to save my 5 shillings so that I did not miss out. To us, this signaled the end of the school week and we ushered in the weekend with the tastiest snacks which were very popular with school going children. The bhajias we bought from the neighbourhood shops were usually served with some chilli powder and/or salt. Today, I went down memory lane and made my bhajia with a cumin infused batter together with the creamiest tatziki dip that’s both easy to make and tasty to have.
Think about your childhood for a moment… If you were like most kids, there was always that meal you never liked to eat, despite it being healthy for you. Be it pumpkin, broccoli, peas or fish, there must have been something that you could not get down your throat. For me it was Matoke. I just found it absolutely unappealing, yet a month would not go by without my mum preparing it for us. With time, however, I really grew to like it and today it is one of my favourite Kenyan dishes.
One of my readers asked how she can prepare a meal without the use of spices and still make it tasty. My answer was simple: use the original source of the spice. For instance, instead of using ground garlic, use freshly pounded garlic cloves. I always cook with spices so I took this as a challenge and decided to make one of my favourite dishes, without spices. And let me tell you, it turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
From my heart to yours, I hope you enjoy this coconut milk stewed matoke as much as I did.
Sometimes during a busy work week, all I think about is getting back to bed. I get so exhausted that alI think about be it during a break, in my fantasies, while in traffic, is that glorious moment I will finally sink into my cosy bed. I kid you not! With all that fatigue, it usually is difficult to whip up a saucy and memorable meal, hence I settle for whatever is left over, have my dinner and jump to bed.
During the weekends however, I try to break the monotony of the “weekday” meals with something exciting and tantalizing. This week I made my Matata meatballs that usher in the weekend in the most grand scale. Matata is a swahili word meaning disturbance. I named these meatballs ‘Matata Meatballs” because they sure do shake things up but in the most amazing way yet!
Trust me, you will have to eat this three days in a row before you get satisfied!