On the Fried Deliciousness that is Kenyan Food

June 27, 2013
culture, kenya, volunteer
On the Fried Deliciousness that is Kenyan Food

 

foreign-correspondent badge finalI have decided I am definitely going to gain weight while I am in Kenya, and it has absolutely everything to do with the food.

Every day at tea time, as long as we are at OLPS, chai and chapatis are served. The chai is made from boiled sugar water, so is always so sweet and compliments the chapatis well.

In Kenya, the cuisine is heavily influenced by Indian food. Because India was a major British colony, the Indians came here in droves when Kenya was under British rule. Roughly a quarter of the Kisumu population is Indian, and incidentally own the majority of the buildings and large businesses in the area.

The first day I had no resistance. I wolfed down my two chapatis with a speed that would shame any professional eater. Afterwards my hands were slick with ghee and I felt so satisfied.

Now these chapatis… the first time they were delivered to us, we were unaware of the pandora’s box of heart attacks we were about to open. They hid unassumingly between two plates, and when you lifted the plate the flat bread shone with grease and tastiness.

The first day I had no resistance. I wolfed down my two chapatis with a speed that would shame any professional eater. Afterwards my hands were slick with ghee and I felt so satisfied.

Since then, I have tempered myself to a single chapati at tea time, squirreling one away for dinner where Katrina, my traveling companion, is becoming a master at the modified burrito. I have to say you haven’t had a burrito until you use a chapati as a tortilla.

Alas, I cannot have milk in my chai, but Katrina always dips her chapati in her milk tea and she says it tastes very good.

Samosas are another Indian fare that has been introduced into Kenyan culture and will likely be the ultimate culprit of the impending weight gain. Samosas are fried pastries traditionally filled with vegetables, chicken, or beef. My favorite is by far the beef.

On the Fried Deliciousness that is Kenyan Food

One of the first foods I was introduced here was actually ugali (oo-GAH-lee), which was not brought over from India and I believe may be my only saving grace from the other fried foods. Ugali is basically maize-flour dough, nothing more or less. It can range anywhere from bland to sweet, depending on the maize it is made from. Maize is a major crop here so ugali is a staple food and is very filling. I was not careful enough with this the first time I ate it and was suddenly overly full before the meal had even finished.

Despite all of this other wonderful food, nyoma choma has to be my favorite so far. Simply put, it is roasted goat. Now I had never had goat before so initially I was concerned, but I was so hungry by the time the plate came that I grabbed some ugali to scoop the meat up with and chowed down. I am going to miss nyoma choma when I leave Kenya!

There is much more here to sample and try and I truly hope that I will still fit into my clothes when I board the plane to head home. I think my next big adventure, will be learning how to cook all of these delicious foods!

kenyan food
Kenyan Food

On the Fried Deliciousness that is Kenyan Food

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Have you traveled to Kenya? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com to share your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Sydney Gray

AvatarAfter graduating from UC Berkeley, Sydney Gray volunteered in Kenya.

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