Friday, 21 December 2012

FEAST LIKE A KENYAN THIS CHRISTMAS- ROASTED LEMON CHICKEN AND MY JIKO ADVENTURE

It is a world known fact that Kenyans love chicken and especially "Nyama choma"- meaning "Roasted meat". There are hundreds of "Nyama choma" corners in Nairobi. The awesome smell is really inviting. This time I tried to cook and try this at home with my small "JIKO" meaning "stove" in Kiswahili. Jiko is nothing but a simple stove used by Kenyans each and every day for their daily living right from cooking at home or to sell food in the streets. It is just like a barbeque grill and uses charcoal.

 I really cherish the moments when I cook food in a Jiko. I should call it as an adventure as lighting the Jiko is very challenging for me.Though it is tough to make fire in the Jiko I love the fact that it is super quick than my cooking range. Above all when I cook in the Jiko my whole family is with me talking and waiting to try a piece of chicken which gives me lot of joy.

Nyama choma is the hot favorite of an ordinary Kenyan. Roasted beef is an absolute delicacy here followed by chicken and mutton. Kenyan roasted meat is very simple and does not have too many dressings or ingredients. Salt, oil (mafuta) and that's it.Everytime when the meat is turned during roasting the  meat is brushed with plenty of oil and roasting happens even for hours.On a friday evening what a Kenyan would all ask for is Nyama choma and a bottle of beer and when it is Christmas the feasting never ends.





Lemony Nyama choma

Kenyans prefer to celebrate Christmas with their parents and relatives in a simple way upcountry(village). Whether they are a great business man or a millionaire they would prefer travelling to their village 2 to 3 days before Christmas, spend time with their parents, greet them and go around their village, talk to their old village friends . When there is a big gathering/ get together they sing their traditional Christmas songs and then dance and of course enjoy eating "Nyama choma".
Ingredients:

1 whole chicken(skin peeled)

Juice of 3 lemons

Paprika- 1 tbspn

Salt to taste



About to be roasted
Method:

Marinate the chicken with the ingredients and leave it overnight in the fridge. The next day prepare the fire in the jiko and roast the chicken from 30 minutes to 1 hour very slowly by turning the sides to avoid charring. I have not used oil here completely. The fat in the chicken was good enough. I like this way of eating the chicken rather than to fry it. Make sure the chicken is cooked properly. Slow roasting will help to achieve this.






Getting ready
Ready to relish
Serve with salads of your choice.  It tasted better with cut slices of cucumber, tomatoes and onion.
Eat responsibly this Christmas!
Merry x'mas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

LEMONY PRAWNS

This is a very easy ans simple way to have a quick starter in a matter of  10 minutes provided you have your prawns cleaned and deveined. If you have the prawns ready in the freezer it's much more easier. The tangy  flavour says it all..................


Lemony prawns
Ingredients:

Peeled and deveined prawns- 500 gms

Zest of one big lemon

Juice of 2 big lemons

Soya sauce- 1 tspn

All purpose flour- 1 tbspn

Oyster sauce- 1 tbspn

Finely chopped chives- 1 tbspn

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tbspn

Sesame oil- 1 tbspn

Paprika- 1 tspn

Salt to taste


Method:
1. Heat the wok and add the oil.

2. When the oil is hot add the ginger- garlic paste followed by the prawns.

3. Toss the prawns with salt and lemon juice.

4. Keep on tossing for a minute or less until the prawns are done.

5. Now add the lemon zest, soya sauce, oyster sauce, flour, paprika and give a stir. Cook for a minute or less by constant stirring.

6. Sprinkle the chives and serve.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

VEGETABLE SPAGHETTI

Kids are on their holidays. At times I really get stressed out thinking what to cook? My sons always want something different and tasty. This simple vegetable spaghetti is a good option for lunch with vegetables and olives in it. My boys helped me out to take this pic by choosing a good background- their play mat and their favorite dinosaurs too. 



Vegetable spaghetti- background courtesy (my sons- "I was told to do this")
Ingredients:

Cooked spaghetti- 2 cups

Finely chopped vegetables- 1 cup( I have used French beans, baby corn, carrots)

Onion- small(finely chopped)

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tspn

Dark soya sauce- 1 tspn

Finely chopped chives- 1 tspn(to garnish)

Oil- 1 tbspn(any vegetable cooking oil)

Salt to taste


Method:


1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the ginger- garlic paste followed by the  onion.

2. When the onion turns brown add in all the chopped vegetables and salt.

3. Saute for a minute and add the cooked spaghetti.

4. Add the soya sauce and the chopped chives and give it a gentle stir.

5. Add some olives and serve with tomato ketch up.


Friday, 14 December 2012

MULTIGRAIN DOGS AND PARSLEY CHUTNEY



 This is the treat for my kids after a long term's work. They were really very happy and appreciated my love. They talk a lot. Everything I had prepared is of their choice(I mean what they like). In the mean while I wanted the meal to be healthy and so decided to make the hot dog healthy by dipping and frying them in the multigrain flour batter. We too enjoyed it with the parsley chutney.

Multigrain dogs


The treat






 Ingredients:

For the hot dogs:

Semolina- 1 cup
Rice flour- 1 cup
Gram flour- 1/2 cup
Millet flour- 1/4 cup
Egg- 1(beaten)

Cumin seeds- 1 tbspn

Ginget-garlic paste- 1 tspn

Chicken franks or sausages of your choice

Bamboo skewers to prick and hold the sausages

Oil to fry


Salt to taste
For the parsley chutney:

Fresh parsley- 1 bunch

Green chillies- 2

Curd/ Greek yogurt- 1 cup

Salt to taste



The flour batter and the sausages
Multi grain flours




My son was so excited to see the dogs get fried

 Method:

1. Mix all the flours together in a bowl and add salt, cuminseeds.

2. Add the beaten egg to the flour and some water to form a smooth batter.

3. Dip the sausages in the batter and fry them.

4. Once done prick the sausages with the bamboo skewers and serve the kids.

5. Prepare the parsley chutney by grinding all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender.




Multigrain dogs with parsley chutney
French fries
A simple lettuce salad to make the meal more healthier
Fryums

Thursday, 13 December 2012

EGGLESS GARLIC BREAD


Eggless white bread

Ingredients:


For the bread dough:

2 cups- All purpose home baking flour

2 cups- brown wheat flour

1/3 cups- milk

1 tspn- salt

1 tspn- yeast

75 gms- butter

1 tspn- sugar

2 tbspn- sesame seeds(to sprinkle on top of the bread)

1 tbspn- milk(to brush on top)


For the filling:

3- garlic cloves finely chopped

2 tbspn- thyme, oregano and basil each

50 gms- butter

1/2 tspn-  salt

Ground black pepper powder- 1 tbspn





The three herbs used in this bread



Method:


1. Melt the butter and add in with the milk. Add the dried yeast to the mix. Slowly fold in the flour, salt and sugar to the mix and prepare the dough to be smooth.
(remember sugar helps in activating the yeast to raise well)


2. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film and allow the dough to be double in size for about 1 hour.

3. Once the dough is double in size punch it and roll it on a floured surface to a rectangle shape.


Punch the dough




roll the dough
4. Prepare the filling by mixing the ingredients of the filling all together uniformly and place on the rectangle dough.

Place the filling on to the dough




5. Roll the dough and fit into a loaf pan and allow the dough to rise for another 30 minutes.

Roll the dough


6. Once the dough is risen brush the dough on top with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.



7. Bake in a pre- heated oven at 200 degree celsius for 30 minutes until risen and golden brown.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

MINT AND CORIANDER DIP

A very spicy dip made of fresh mint and coriander leaves. Festive season is on and this dip is really a good choice for parties, brunch.


Mint and coriander dip


Ingredients:


Freshly chopped mint leaves- 2 cups

Freshly chopped coriander leaves- 2 cups

Green chillies- 2

Tamarind- 1 lemon size

Onion- 1

Garlic- 2 cloves

Ginger- 2 inches long

Oil- 1 tspn

Salt to taste




Chopped mint and coriander leaves








Ingredients


Method:

1. Heat the oil in the pan, add all the ingredients and saute for a minute or less. Remember not to over do it as the mint leaves would leave more water and the dip might turn to be watery.

2. Let the ingredients cool down and then blend it in a blender to get a smooth paste.

MINTY MUTTON CUTLETS

This is my mom-in-law's recipe. Very simple ingredients goes in the minced mutton. Everytime when we travel back to Kenya from India she would prepare this for us. Mostly as cutlets or she would would fill in the same stuffing in the puffs. She would pack it in a container and tell us to have it through the journey. It is so very delicious that we would finish it during the transit hours. Traditionally done with lot of oil in it, but I have prepared them like "chicken tikka". I wanted them to be dry to at least lessen my calorie intake. As christmas season is on I am certainly watching my diet. Whether I lose or not at least maintaining the current weight is really a big issue for me. Weight watchers would definitely agree with me.
You can enjoy this cutlets as a snack or have it in your burger and relish.

Mutton cutlets

Ingredients: (makes 20 cutlets)

Minced meat- 2 cups(300 gms)

Cooked potatoes and peas- 3 cups

Chopped mint leaves- 3/4 cup

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tbspn

Onion- 1 medium sized (finely chopped)

Bread crumbs- 1/2 cup

Garam masala- 1 tbspn

Turmeric powder- 1 tbspn

Paprika/ chilly powder- 1 tspn (optional)

Cooking oil- 1tspn (to cook the minced  meat)

Olive oil/ vegetable cooking oil- 1 tbspn (just to brush)

Salt to taste


Chopped mint leaves
Potatoes and peas about to be boiled

Method:

1. Heat the oil in the pan, add the ginger- garlic paste followed by the onions and when the onions turn brown add the minced meat, all the spices and chopped mint leaves.





The mutton mint mix
 2. Remove the pan from fire and let the mix to cool down. Add the mashed potatoes, peas,  bread crumbs now and mix well to form a dough.


Ready to be cooked

3. Make uniform sized balls from the dough and later flatten it and cook on a thick frying pan by brushing the cutlets with olive oil.

Getting cooked

4. Cook under low fire with the pan closed with a lid. Serve with the sauces or dips of your choice.

Burgers
You can enjoy the cutlets in the burger too.....



The next day I used the cutlets in the burgers which was very yummy. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

SPINACH AND VEGETABLE SOUP

Spinach and vegetable soup


Ingredients:(serves 4)

Chopped spinach leaves- 4 cups

Onion- 1 medium sized(finely chopped)

Tomato- 1 large(finely chopped)

Carrots, potatoes and peas- 2 cups(cleaned and chopped)

Turmeric powder- 1 tspn

Garam masala- 1 tspn

Chilly powder- 1 tspn(optional)

Mozarella cheese- 1 tspn(to garnish)

Whipping cream- 1 tbspn

Cooking oil- 1 tbspn

Salt to taste

Method:

1. First cook the spinach leaves in a cooking pot with 1/4 cups of water.

2. Once done let it cool down and grind it to a smooth paste in a blender.


Spinach puree

3. Heat the oil in a pan an add the ginger-garlic paste followed by onions and let the onions turn brown.

4. Add the tomatoes followed by all the spices, salt and the vegetables at the end.

5. Give a stir and add 4 cups of water and let the vegetables cook.

6. Once the vegetables are done add the spinach puree and mix well.

7. Now add the whipping cream, garnish with mozarella cheese and serve hot.

Friday, 7 December 2012

KENYAN LOBSTER CURRY



This dish uses most of the common vegetables Kenyans use in an ordinary curry(be it beef or chicken). The curry is called "Mchuzi" in Kenya. I did not want to complicate things in a basic curry. Bought some "Rock Lobsters" which are very known for their fleshy tails from "Aloha" in Muthithi road. The lobsters were very fresh. My kids were astonished by the looks of the lobster. My little one told" Mom, this lobster looks  like a monster". Ha! Ha! when they tried it they did not realise that it is lobster. Apart from the aroma my first born said that it almost tasted like chicken. The dish is very easy to prepare and goes well with steamed rice.


Further I did not want to waste the head part and prepared some stock. Lobster shell stock is very good which you can use in any sea food soups or curry.


Kenyan Lobster curry

Ingredients:



Rock lobster tails- tail of one rock lobster(cut into medium sized pieces)

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tspn

Onion- 1 medium sized(finely chopped)

Tomatoes- 2(finely chopped)

Capsicum/ green peppers- 1 (roughly chopped)

Carrots- 2(chopped_

Turmeric powder- 1 tspn

Garam masala/ Pilau masala- 1tspn

Vegetable oil- 1 tbspn

Green chillies- 2(optional)

Chopped cilantro leaves(to garnish)
Salt to taste




Rock Lobster

Method:


1. Heat the pan and add the oil.

2. When the oil is hot add the ginger- garlic paste followed by onion.

3. When the onion turns brown add in the tomatoes and add salt at this stage to make the tomatoes soft.

4. Add the carrots, capsicum and then the spices and give it a stir.

5. When the carrots are half cooked(around 1 minute) add the cut lobster and mix well.

6. Close the pan and let it cook for 2 minutes.



Note: The Kenyan carrots are very quick to cook(I mean they get cooked within 1 minute to 2 minutes). Depending on the carrots form your own place it is advisable to cook the carrots separately and then add it to the curry to avoid overcooking the Lobster.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

EGGLESS CARROT AND COCONUT BREAD

Eggless carrot and coconut bread



Ingredients:


All purpose home baking flour- 2 cups

Brown wheat flour- 1 and a 1/2 cups

Grated carrot- 2 cups

Grated coconut- 1/2 cup

Powdered sugar- 1 and a 1/2 cups

vegetable oil- 1 cup

Baking soda- 1 tspn

Baking powder- 2 tspn

Vanilla extract/ vanilla essence- 1 tbspn

Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tbspn



Method:
1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degree celsius.

2. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder together.

3. Add in the coconut and carrot to the dry ingredients.

4. Mix the oil, vanilla extract and sugar together uniformly in a separate bowl.

5. Slowly add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold in everything to combine.

6. Grease the loaf/ bread pan with little oil and pour in the mixture. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the bread is lightly browned.

Monday, 3 December 2012

SESAME SHRIMP SPREAD

sesame shrimp spread
Ingredients:

Small shrimps(peeled and deveined)- 1 cup

Onion- 1 tbspn finely chopped

Ginger- garlic paste- 1tspn

Cilantro leaves- 1 tbspn (finely chopped)

Sesame seeds- 1 tbspn

Sesame oil/ vegetable cooking oil- 1 tspn

Cream cheese- 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Method:

1. Shred the shrimp in a blender.

2. Heat the pan and add the oil.

3. When the oil is hot add the ginger-garlic paste and then the onion.

4. When the onion turns brown add the sesame seeds followed by the shredded shrimp.

5. Add the salt and stir all the ingredients uniformly.

6. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves and when the mix cools down add the cream cheese and mix well.

7. Spread on the bread slices and enjoy.



Sunday, 18 November 2012

HOT N' SOUR CHICKEN SOUP

This soup is a Indo-chinese clear soup. Spicy and sour like the name mentions it. Shredded chicken and julienne vegetables  go in the chicken stock wherein egg white is used to thicken the soup.


Hot n' sour chicken soup


Ingredients: (serves 10)

Shredded chicken- 1 cup

Chicken stock- 1 ltr

Egg white- of 1 egg

Julienne carrot- 1/2 cup

Julienne capsicum- 1/2 cup

Julienne cabbage- 1/4 cup

Julienne ginger and garlic- 1/4 cup

Sweet corn- 1/4 cup

Finely chopped chives- 1/4 cup

Finely chopped green chillies- 1tspn(optional)

Ground pepper- 1 tspn(optional)

Sesame oil- 2 tbspn

Soya sauce- 1 tspn

Salt to taste




Ingredients



Method:

1. Heat the oil in the pan and add all the ingredients except the chicken stock one by one starting with ginger and garlic.


saute'ing the vegetables and the chicken
2. Saute the ingredients for a minute. The vegetables should be only half cooked. This will give a crunchy taste to the vegetables when we take the soup.

3. Now add the chicken stock to the sauce pan and transfer the ingredients from the frying pan to the sauce pan.

4. Give it a stir and a boil and reduce the fire.

5. Now add in the egg white little by little to the soup by whisking the chicken stock so that the egg does not form any clumps. Add the soya sauce and mix uniformly.

6. Switch off the fire and serve hot.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

CLUSTER BEANS SIDE DISH

Cluster beans is rich in protein and fiber. It's an Indian vegetable and eaten for it's health benefits. So many versions of cooking the cluster beans is available.  I love this one since it's the way my MOM cooks. With garlic, fennel seeds and coconut, the masala gives a great flavour to the beans which is little bitter compared to the normal beans.

Cluster beans side dish


Ingredients:

Cluster beans- 500 gms

Coconut- flesh of half coconut

Garlic cloves- 3

Fennel seeds- 1 tbspn

To saute:

Mustard seeds- 1 tspn

Red chillies- 2

Curry leaves- one sprig

Asafoetida- one pinch

Turmeric powder- one pinch

Salt to taste




Cluster beans

Method:


1. Clean the beans and cut to 2 inches length.


2. Pressure cook for one whistle with little water.

3. In the meanwhile cut the coconut to thin slices and grind coarsely without adding water along with garlic and fennel seeds.



Ground coconut with the spices



4. Heat the pan and when the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and allow it to splutter.


5. Add in the chillies and curry leaves.


6. When they turn brown add the cluster beans to the pan followed by asafoetida, turmeric powder and salt.

7. Add the ground coconut masala now and give it a stir.





Wednesday, 7 November 2012

CREAMY COCONUT VEGETABLE KURMA


This kurma has all the winter vegetables which would warm you up on a cold day. Potatoes,

peas, turnips and carrots cooked in Indian spices and creamy coconut. Absolutely soul 

warming!




Creamy coconut vegetable kurma
Ingredients:

Coarsely chopped vegetables- 3 cups

Finely ground coconut paste- 1 cup

Chopped onion- 1 large

Chopped tomatoes- 2

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tbspn

Oil- 2 tbspn

Chopped cilantro leaves- 1 tbspn (to garnish)

Salt to taste



Spices:

Fennel seeds- 1 tbspn

Cardamom pods- 3

Cinnamon sticks- 4 small no's

Cloves- 5

Coriander powder/ curry powder- 2 tbspn

Turmeric powder- 1 tspn

Chilly powder- 1tspn


Method:

1. Heat the oil in  the pan. Add the ginger- garlic paste followed by fennel seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

2. Toss in the onion and wait until it turns brown. Later add the tomatoes and wait until they become soft.

3. Add the vegetables now, add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder and give a stir.

4. Add around 1 and a half cups of water and let the vegetables get cooked for 10 minutes.

5. Now add the ground coconut paste and add another half a cup of water and mix all the ingredients uniformly.

6. Bring the kurma to a boil and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

7. Serve with rice and chapati.

Monday, 5 November 2012

DRY CHILLY CHICKEN

Our favourite family starters. Boneless chicken marinated in dry sherry and then wok fried. Very spicy indeed. Right from the time I landed in Nairobi I have been enjoying this dish.

Initially I use to relish this chicken from the Chinese restaurant in my serviced apartment. Later when we moved out I somehow wanted to learn how to prepare this at home. You can still get this only at "Taste of China", VIP Plaza, Opposite Graffins college, Westlands right now.

The owner recognises us with this starters. I have tried the same dish in authentic Chinese restaurants like "Zen garden", " Sizzlers". The versions of this same starters varies from restaurant to restaurant. "China plate" too serves this starters. This one is a kind of  Indo-Chinese treat. Try it. If you would love to sample it first, visit "TOC" and then try it out at home with this recipe. Goes well with chicken fried rice. Hope I am helping you out.


Dry chilly chicken


Ingredients:


Boneless chicken- 500gms(cubed)


Dry sherry- 2 tbspn


Corn flour 1 tbspn


All purpose flour- 1 tbspn


Ginger-garlic paste- 2 tbspn


Chilly powder- 1 tbspn


Finely chopped chives- 2 tbspn


Sesame seeds- 2 tbspn(optional)


Chopped green chillies- 1 tbspn (optional)


Sesame oil- 2 tbspn(to fry)


Dark soya sauce- 1 tbspn


Salt to taste




Method:



1. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients and let it rest for 30 minutes.



Marinated chicken

2. Heat the wok, place the chicken and keep stirring to separate the chicken and cook for 10 minutes until done.

3. Serve hot with chilly oil and chicken fried rice.