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Kenya- Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Kenyan Cuisine HistoryEdit

Kenya is situated in the eastern part of the African continent and it borders five African countries as well as the Indian Ocean. Kenyan cuisine was influenced by East India and Great Britain as Britain imporoffee, cereals, tea, fruit, and vegetable crops to Kenya and hired East Indians to oversee their properties. The most popular Kenyan dishes are called nyama choma, ugaly, samosas, githeri, chapati, or sukuma wiki. One of the most important feature of Kenyan cuisine is the fact that there is an oral tradition as far as Kenyan cooking is concerned. Men belonging to different tribes such as the Kikuyu, Abaluha, or Luo, proved to cook more than women do. For instance, the Kikuyu prepare irio, which consists of beans, greens, and corns, stewed and pureed beans, roasted maze, or potatoes. Ugali is not a popular dish only in Kenya, but also in other countries from different continents. Ugali can be served with cooked and mashed peapods, black-eyed peas, bananas, or beans and corn. In Kenya, people love eating manioc, corn, Wheat, sweet potatoes, rice, plantains, millet, or sorghum. Their dessert is as natural as it can be: fresh bananas, pineapples, or papaya; sometimes they add maziwa ya kuganda, which means soured skim milk. Another delicios dessert is called ndizi, which contains bananas cooked in their own leaves.Sukuama wiki seemes to be the most important ingredient for every meal and, together with ugali, it makes an excellent meal.

Cuisines of Kenya Edit

Map of Kenya

Map of Kenya- Click to enlarge

Kenyan cuisine started to gain more and more popularity, due to the numbers of dishes brought by immigrants. From different reasons, it can be stated that Kenyan cuisine is an indigenous one. The African name for corn is mealie and it is used in making the soft mush and batters which represent nowadays a characteristic of African and American southern foods. Fufu, which was brought to American continent by Nigerian slaves, is a stiff cornmeal or yam mush, directly related to southern spoonbreads and cornmeal. Also, cassava and yams are main root vegetables. Some African inspired foods are: stew with or without meat, mixtures of hot spices with root vegetables, and steamed greens. In Africa, peanuts are called groundnuts and feature in many dishes from a garnish to Peanut soups. Also, melon, especially watermelon are also very popular in Kenya. Kenyan recipes include fish marinated in tomatoes, ginger, and cayenne. Another specific African ingredient is okra, which is used in many dishes to thicken stews and soups. Other important ingredients are tropical fruits, especially bananas or coconuts. Among other dishes, Kenyan cuisine contains pilau rice with Beef stew, which can be prepared thus: first of all, in order to prepare Beef, you need Beef steak cut into bite size cubes, 2 carrots, 2 green peppers,4 small onions, 4 medium tomatoes, black pepper, oil, salt, and curry powder; you fry the onions, then add green peppers, tomatoes and carrots, cooking slightly for three minutes at a high temperature while stirring constantly; the meat has to be seasoned with seasoning salt and then added in when the carrots are soft enough; then you season with black pepper and curry powder. It is served hot with pilau which can be prepared using the following method: you boil 1/2 cups of vegetable broth in a large pan, adding salt and masala which is an Indian spice mix; then you heat the oil, add one sliced medium Onion, and 4 tomatoes which have to be fried until they are real soft; after this you add the seasoned broth and immediately add in the rice; when the liquid begins to boil again, add green or sweet peas, reduce the heat, cover and cook until the rice is soft. It is always served hot and you can also add cilantro.

Preparation Methods for Kenyan Cooking Edit

Kenyan foods are represented by two separate menus: irio, which is the most important, and ugali. Groundnut soup is an extremely interesting and tasty dish which generally is prepared using groundnuts, salt, water, and simmers it until it becomes thick enough. After the soup, all the remaining dishes are placed on the table, each in a decorated African bowl which is called calabash. Generally, irio is followed by a great variety of dishes like giteke, yams, bananas, Beef and Potato stew, karanga, beans and corns, or mataha. Also, dessert is not served, as fruits like succulent and juicy papaya are vital for Kenyan people. Another Kenyan beverage served after dinner is maziwa ya kuganda or sour skimmed milk. As far as the Kenyan dinner preparation is concerned, there are two basic menus from which you can choose; however you always use a bright flowered or striped tablecloth with napkins, and a tropical decor with flowers and leaves. The first dish is irio. Each course is dished out in the kitchen and then served to every person. On dinner plates oysters mombasa are served hot. Irio is also served with sauce dishes of salad relish, and pilli-pilli. Your second choice is the abaluhya menu, which should be a buffet. Generally, all dishes are served in calabash bowls which are placed on the decorated tablecloth. When serving maziwa ya kuganda, skimmed milk is added and once it has soured, it is chilled. Anyway, is is indicated that you should serve it cold. Kenyan tea and coffee are really popular, as well.

Special Equipment for Kenyan Cooking Edit

Most Kenyan dishes don’t require you to purchase any special tools. However, having a coffee grinder helps with roasting and grinding spices and maximizes their volatile oils, which, in turn, provides your food with more flavor. In Africa, there are not so many persons who use special equipment in the process of preparing different delicious dishes. This is mainly because they do not use complicated methods in order to cook or prepare a special kind of food. Everything is as natural as it can be, especially because Kenyan cuisine is dominated by a lot of fruits and vegetables. Nevertheless, there are some influences, but it seems that Kenyan people really care about their traditions.

Kenyan Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

A very important and special day for Kenyan people is represented by Jamhuri Day, which it reminds them of the places and lands they have come from as a nation ant it proves to be a symbol of unity which remains constant. Also, Jamhuri Day is also a great opportunity for the Kenyans to express their freedom and gratitude through feasting, dance, parades, or even optional public events. All these activities are also a reflection of the values that stand within the Kenyan society. As it was mentioned, unity is the core of their culture, one of their most important values. In fact, Jamhuri Day celebrates Kenya's independence from Great Britain on the 12th of December, 1963, and the establishment of its republic on the 12th of December, 1964. Kenyan society is basen on strong family ties. One of the most traditional and widespread ways of celebrating Jamhuri Day is feasting with the family; on this day, each Kenyan family comes together and enjoys one another, feasting usually on delicious Kenyan cuisine. Some of the appetizer they serve are: samosas, kale, or corn and tomato stew.

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