Life. Love. Food

Kamba Wa Kupaka

A lot of what I cook is actually dictated by my cravings. Whatever I feel like cooking, whichever flavors my tongue wants to feel, whichever textures I feel in my mouth- that is what I will go with. In as much as most of those flavors do not make it to the blog, plenty of them do. And with time, I will share those that didn’t with you. I had some calamari last week during a meeting I was attending and that triggered my cravings for seafood in general. I am on that vibe now! I want anything from the sea, and best believe we are gonna make it super delicious!

For today both here and on my channel, some kamba wa kupaka *heart eyes*

I made a dope vid to accompany the blog post. Do watch below, and subscribe!

PREP TIME:  15 min   COOK TIME: 20 min    SERVES: 3


1/2 a kg of kamba (prawns)

1 red onion, diced

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 a teaspoon of thyme

3/4 teaspoon of cumin

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

2 bay leaves

1 lime, juice and zest

1 cup of coconut milk

Vegetable oil for frying

Salt to taste


In your pan, add some oil and salt. Add the red onion, followed by the ginger and the garlic. Be careful not to burn these, in particular the garlic since if it burns, the overall flavor will be bitter. Garlic and ginger go so well with sea food and all kinds of sea and inland fish too, so for sure those notes shine in my kamba recipe.

Let it sautee until it is soft and fragrant. Then add the tomato paste, followed by some hot water (or stock) mix this in then add the bay leaves and let this simmer  for a couple of minutes so that the bay flavor really gets in. I love that Tropical Heat has intoduced minis for their dried spices; a small can of bay leaves costs 44bob. Y

For this recipe, you can use fresh tomatoes in leau of tomato paste if that is what you prefer. I went for tomato paste because of the additional color and thickness it contributes to the dish in general which plain tomatoes would not lend..

After it simmers for about 5 minutes, add the spices, mix them in and then add the coconut milk. Please watch the video to see this more visually.

I bought my coconut milk form the supermarket at 120bob a pack. If you live in our coastal cities & you can find fresh coconut milk more readily, go for it love! But for us Nairobi folk, get the supermarket one. I like the coconut milk by Kara however any other brand would still be perfect.

Let everything simmer for about 5-10 minutes (it will change color from deep red to vibrant mustard) then add your kamba. I bought my kamba (prawns) from city market stall number 52. I bought 1/2 a kg and that cost 1200bob. It is expensive, but it makes logistical sense since Nairobi is an inland city. You can buy them whole, or you can have them clean them for you if you prefer. Make sure they are properly cleaned and deveined before you leave the shop, as sometimes they remove the shell but they do not properly devein so make sure you confirm.

Add the kamba into your pan then sprinkle the lime zest and then let it simmer for 3 minutes. After that, give it a mix, add a splash of fresh lime juice and then let it simmer for another 3 minutes. Literally 6 minutes and you will be done. They take a very short time to cook. To know for sure that they are done, they will have changed from colorless to white and also curled up.

Prawns cook VERY VERY fast, so do not over do it and go overboard with the time unless you want prawn porridge *weeps*.

Garnish with some fresh dania plus some fresh limes as well then serve. I love my kamba wa kupaka with rice, but truly, in my opinion, it goes with every starch!

Utamu tu!

The flavors of the lime awakened that of the prawns and I feel like that was my favorite note of the entire dish. I really enjoyed the fullness of the bay leaves and loved how assertively the ginger and garlic came through. Such a rich dish and so amazing how easy it is to put together such delicious flavors!

In case the pictures are too good to be true, maybe my YouTube video I made alongside this blogpost will prove otherwise. Come watch and I would love it is you subscribed as well!


Get your downloadable recipe here :))

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  1. jane

    thanks for the post. will try

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Awesome!! Take a pic and send it to me once you do!

  2. Kioi

    great meals and the smiles you got….wow

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Hope you try it out!

  3. Sade Ajayi

    I’m gonna try this recipe out this week! I’m Nigerian but I’m trying to learn how to make other dishes from other countries.
    What is this dish typically eaten with btw or it’s eaten on its own?

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Rice or chapati or anything. I listed the same on the blog post and in the video

  4. Mageto

    Good job there. it is worthy trying at home. Tahnks for sharing your cooking tips

    • kaluhiskitchen


  5. Faiza

    Once am back to Malindi will try this recipe

    • kaluhiskitchen

      You will love this!

  6. Meridith

    I decided to try this tonight and oh my gosh it is delicious! And so easy to make. I will definitely be bookmarking this one to make again and again.

    • Kaluhi

      Awesome boo!

  7. Madison

    Absolutely amazing, as always. Love your recipes. Made it for the blogs birthday 7/27

    • Kaluhi

      Happy to have you and thank you for celebrating with me!

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