March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
So Tamu Tamu can now be found on
Check us out there!
March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
We, Kenyans, love our chicken; for many of us, chicken being bought and slaughtered was a sign that holiday seasons were about to begin and we could indulge in delicious treats! Yum! Yum! Seeing as we’re moving close to the April holiday season, I know some of y’all may not be able to make it back home for some good Mama cooking so I’m going to help you out with this simple, but absolutely flavorful dish, that is my take on the popular ‘Kuku Wet Fry’.
First off, soak a whole chopped chicken (bones on) in brine- a solution of equal parts salt and sugar with lots of water- this keeps the chicken soft, juicy and tender during the cooking process. Make sure the solution covers all the pieces and let it sit for half an hour.
While this is going on, chop up 5 medium tomatoes in quarters, lengthwise. In a large pot, put in some fresh rosemary on the stem (we want to retain as much of the woody flavor as possible), add in 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and the tomatoes, cook over a low heat and let it sweat good, until the tomatoes reduce and release their sweetness.
After half an hour, drain the chicken and dry it with a clean dishcloth or using paper napkins. Heat up some oil till hot and fry the chicken skin side down until it’s crispy and golden brown, don’t let it cook through.
During the frying process, season the chicken with black pepper and dried mixed herbs. Once done, drain out the excess fat by sitting the fried pieces on paper towels.
Toss in 3 chopped onions and a full garlic bundle (chopped) into the pan with the tomatoes. Let it cook for 5 minutes then add in more black pepper and mixed herbs, mix and add a tablespoon of Royco and one Maggi cube. Throw in the chicken and add in a cup and a half of water. Allow to cook for 25 minutes and turn off the cooker, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Serve with courgette and rice, with some avocado drizzled with lemon juice on the side.
This meal is just a treat. However, as delicious as it is, it is fattening so don’t make it a regular menu appearance if you’re trying to maintain the figure.
March 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
Once upon a time, there was a fair lass who traveled to far-away lands, seeking wisdom from the Sensei of the kitchen.
She crossed great lands and oceans, to the coastal city that is currently know of Los Angeles, in the great land of California. Her search led her through wide streets, and narrow alleys, into the hot desert, and strangely, to a lonely cold mountain in this hot land.
And while she searched, her Sensei was perfecting his skills, knowing that one day a little grasshopper would come searching for him. He needed to pass on the knowledge to someone who would take the skills to a great people from the cradle of mankind. He knew he could trust his student to learn fast, and learn well, since she only had limited time with him. And so he sharpened his knives, laid out his bamboo mats, and prepared his chopsticks to the finest sheen.
Little grasshopper was almost ending her journey, and she might have had to go back home, had she not wandered into a little back street. As she walked down the street, everyone seemed to look at her like they recognized her. She simply nodded and walked on, as if sensing this was her destiny. At the end of the street was a little door, not too small for one to walk through, but not too big to be noticeable from a far. And on the door was a sign that said, simply, “welcome”.
Grasshopper pushed the door open, and she was almost overwhelmed by the smells that wafted through the house. The delightful smells coming from what seemed to be a kitchen in the middle of the room filled her whole body, infusing her every pore with delightful tingles. In the midst of this all, stood a man, slightly taller than her, slender in body, who with a smile, beckoned her to come closer.
She walked fast towards the table, almost running, but tried to restrain herself as she knew she had arrived at the end of her quest. Sensei simply handed her an apron and a knife, and everything seemed to fall into place. Chopping and dicing, slicing and arranging, Sensei showed her what she had come to do: learn how to make sushi. They cooked sticky rice, laughing as it covered Grasshopper’s fingers until she learned to dip her hands in warm water first before handling it. The thin slices of red tuna sliced so well, you could almost hear the swipe of the knife as it went through the meat.
In no time, Grasshopper had mastered the age old art of making sushi, with the wonderful and kind Sensei at her side, and she knew she was ready to share it with the world. Packing a bag of tools in a basket, Sensei made sure she had the essentials before she left, as well as a carefully wrapped dish of sushi rolls that he had specially made for her. She was ready for the world!
Grasshopper traveled back to her land, over oceans and vast lands, to the little city of Nairobi. The sushi rolls that Sensei had made for her were nourishment for the journey on that magical dragon machine that took only two days to bring her back home. Her family received her back in jubilation, delighting and awed by the skills she had acquired.
Soon enough, it was my turn to become the grasshopper. The original grasshopper, Suzzi, was ready to teach me as her Sensei had, a few years ago. She carefully taught me step by step: what to do, what to improvise with, and what new ways to make Sushi rolls and California rolls.
Who will be the next grasshopper?
- ½ Kilo Sticky rice
- Sea weed wrapping
- Crab sticks/Tuna/Salmon
- Bell pepper (red, green and yellow)
- Soy sauce to serve
You will need a bamboo mat to roll the sushi, and some cling wrap
- Boil the rice until cooked. Remember that it’s sticky rice, so it won’t come out in single grains.
- Julienne the bell pepper and cucumber, and also cut the tuna or crab into thin slices. Crab sticks can be used as a whole.
- Lay the bamboo mat on a flat surface, and cover with cling wrap to avoid the food sticking onto the mat.
- Lay one wrapping of sea weed onto the mat, and cover 2/3rds of it with about ½ inch of sticky rice, leaving one edge uncovered. Handle the sticky rice with wet hands, to avoid it sticking to you.
- In the middle of the rice, lay the cucumber, pepper and fish/crab slices.
- Roll the mat to the edge of the seaweed, pressing firmly as you go to get the rice to stick together in a roll. The sea weed should be on the outer side when the mat is unrolled.
- Gently slice off pieces of the roll into bite sizes, using a sharp knife for a clean cut.
- Repeat the process until you have enough rolls and pieces of sushi to serve.
- Pour soy sauce into a side bowl, and serve alongside the sushi.
*Vegetarian rolls, are simply made by omitting the fish from the sushi.
You can refrigerate any extra slices left, since they are served cold, but being careful not to serve them too many days later, as fish spoils very fast.
March 18, 2012 § 4 Comments
Nairobi National park has always been, and is a little gem in the city. I, however, have to confess that I only went there once or twice in my childhood when I was around 12 years old. It was without a doubt a real pleasure to be re-acquainted with this timeless beauty, courtesy of the Kenya Wildlife Service while on a tour for bloggers. We used the hashtag #ConserveNNP (which stands for Conserve Nairobi National Park), throughout the whole trip to collectively document it. The experience as shown to us by Kevin, Mercy and Kama (a hilarious game driver), was one that I am absolutely grateful for. Typically, a picnic experience will cut you back just 500Ksh and you get on the KWS bus into the park. After that, the 7 picnic sites are free to frequent just carry your own food. We met an amazing array of animals as you will see below and had a delicious stop over tea and lunch that was provided to us by KWS. We also planted tree seedlings with a park warden.
Enjoy the shots below!
February 27, 2012 § 10 Comments
Today I present to you Lamb Curry. I am a spice girl! My siblings keep asking me why I stock up lots of spices and I tell them, “I enjoy spicy food more than anything.” I traveled to DRC last year and the one thing I enjoyed is the piment (hot sauce). I remember the grilled chicken served with that flavored sauce was an unforgettable experience.
Lamb is another of my favorite meats that I enjoy cooking because it has it’s own flavor and is tender so it does not require too much heat. Again it is an under-an-hour recipe with simple ingredients.
I first browned the lamb in a hot pot then threw in the garlic, ginger and onion. I added a little oil to the lamb as that was going on, then added the secret formula: the curry powder, a mix of cumin, turmeric, garam masala. This was one of the ingredients that my mom and dad taught me to cook with because I remember her many meals just came to life whenever she used it. It adds good color to the meal as well. Once the spices are cooked I added chunky tomatoes, coconut milk and yoghurt. I sprinkled black pepper and turned the heat down to allow it to simmer. Then I used coriander (dhania) to add to the color and let it cook lightly and turned it off.
I then simple fried the basmati rice and added salt to taste. On the side I made a salad with lettuce, chopped olives, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Do a little mix and prepare this before everything else so that is chills a little in the fridge. Something tangy to start the meal and just keep the flavors coming with the main course.
I hope you enjoy making this one too. More coming…
February 25, 2012 § 2 Comments
DISCLAIMER: If you have never used a pressure cooker please ensure you read the instructions before using one or use the traditional jiko and pot to cook. You will achieve the same if not better results.
Whenever I cook oxtail it usually reminds me of the days that my mom would prepare it the night before on a jiko in a pot. She would throw in all the elements necessary to make the food tasty and the one thing that I remember of the final output of that cooking was the soup. That is a recipe for another day.
Today I decided to cook a simple meal because I miss my mom. She is everything to me, something many of you would say about your mothers. She taught me how to cook, not because she was following customs but because she did not know how to cook when she met my dad. What that meant was that my dad had to teach her how to cook. So my mom wanted to change the script for her children and it resulted in us learning how to cook at an early age. I remember having a timetable that my siblings and I would use to guide us on the meals for the day that ensured we all got a chance to cook. During our family gatherings everyone is in the kitchen cooking something.
This meal can take long hours to cook if you go the traditional route of cooking in a pot and slow simmers. The final meal is too tasty and the way the meat falls off the bone leaves you so close to even chewing the bone. I used a pressure cooker that allowed me to prepare this meal in under an hour; I love simple meals. So for ingredients for the pan fried oxtail I used 1KG of oxtail, onions, tomatoes and salt for taste. For the spinach a few leaves, onions and peanut butter. 2 Cups of maize flour to deliver ugali for 2 people.
I put a cup of water in the pressure cooker and salt for taste. After 10minutes reduce the heat and release the pressure so that you do not over cook the meat. You still want the meat on bone as much as possible but achieve a tenderness. I then pan-fried the oxtail with onions and tomatoes until browned. Afterwards, I prepared the peanut butter using medium heat to achieve consistency then threw in the onions and then the spinach. As that was going I prepared the ugali and we were ready to eat: my housemate and I. I topped this up with the oxtail soup with chilli and it felt like I was back home with mom.
~We gave thanks~