MY RUBBED IN BUTTER AND SPRING ONION CHAPATI RECIPE

Chapati chapati..how many ways do i love thee…

I could go all Shakespearean and spew odes about chapati

This Asian delicacy tha is a favourite of mine is something I could eat all week.

In a forum that I am a member of,someone asked how she could make the perfect chapatis.

Everyone gave her ideas on how to make them but they forgot to give her the measurement of the ingredients she would use to make them.

Like cake making,chapati making is a precise art,once you get the measurements wrong nothing ever seems right after that.

In a bid to correct this I have written out my fool-proof chapati recipe that has everyone asking for more.You can find a another recipe chapati recipe where i mixed wheat flour with  gram flour here .

I need also to mention that to be great at making chapatis,you need patience and lots of practice,i will never forget how first chapatis  were as hard as biscuits with time I have become good at it.

Butter and spring onion chapatis

Ingredients

2 cups each white and brown flour plus an extra 1 cup for rolling out and needing

3 level tablespoons softened butter

1.5 cups warm water

2 tablespoonfuls of chopped spring onions

1 level tablespoon of sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 cup corn oil

Method

1.In a bowl sift flour,sugar and salt together then add your butter.Using clean fingers rub in the butter in the flour till it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

2.Add your chopped spring onions and using a fork mix them into the flour.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and add the warm water and working from the centre outwards mix in the flour till you have a soft lumpy dough.

4.Turn the dough onto a clean surface and working with clean hands use your palms to kneadt he flour turning it over  frequently and making sure to dust flour  your working  surface to prevent the dough from sticking.

5.Chapati flour does not need to be kneaded for too long just work it till you have a soft ,elastic dough that does not stick to your work surface.

6.Once your dough is read,shape it into a ball .Clean your bowl,dry it and return the dough to the bowl , drizzle a tablespoon and a half of your cooking oil onto the dough then roll your dough round the bowl to make sure every inch is covered with oil.

7.Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside for 20 to 30 minutes to give it time to rest.This is what gives your chapatis a soft texture as the gluten strands have had enough time to rest from all the kneading .

Rolling out

After 30 minutes get your round ball of dough and using a sharp kitchen knife divide the dough into 2 equal halves then quarter it,each quarter gives your about 4-5 balls each of dough.

Rollout  each ball of dough out to about 1/8 of an inch round ,drizzle about half a tablespoon each of good vegetable oil and spread it evenly all over your rolled out dough, using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush.

Roll your dough into a thin  cylindrical shape and then into a spiral and set aside,repeat this with each of your balls .

Cooking

Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat,get each chapati ball and roll it out into 1/8 of an inch  round ,put it on the heavy skillet till you see bubbles on the surface then you know its time to turn,oil the cooked side then turn it over oil the second side,turn again and once it lightly browned your chapati is ready to be turned onto a flat platter and covered with a clean kitchen cloth.

Repeat this procedure with the rest of the balls of chapati.

CREAMY GARLIC MUKIMO

Mukimo…how to describe it… a food ,a staple of the Eastern and Central parts of Kenya especially to the communities living around Mount Kenya,the second highest peak in Africa that stands at an elevation of 5,199 metres.In the early morning when we visited my grandma we could actually see the mountain top from her house.

Back to Mukimo…its mashed potatoes with peas,corn,beans and some vegetables thrown in for color..There are as many ways to make it as there are to make chapatis but here is mine:

After some muscle work you get this…..

Ingredients

10  medium-sized potatoes(red)

1 cup green peas

1 cup shredded pumpkin leaves

3 cloves minced garlic

1 medium-sized onion

1/4 cup fresh cream

4 tablespoons milk

salt to taste

2 tablespoons  corn oil

 1 cob shelled sweet corn(optional)

Method

1.Put your peeled and cleaned potatoes in a medium sized saucepan and add water till it covers the potatoes,cover the saucepan and bring the potatoes to boil then add your green peas.Boil till potatoes are cooked and fork easily passes through them,may take about 10-20 minutes and peas soften.

2.Drain the potatoes and peas and in the same saucepan add the corn oil,then sliced red onion, fry till so ftened then add garlic,fry for a further 30 -60 seconds then add the shredded pumpkin leaves and salt to taste and cover.Let cook for about 5-7 minutes covered  on medium low heat.

3.Add your sweet corn if using then the drained potatoes and peas and cover for a further 5 minutes.

4.Remove from heat and using a mwiko(wooden spoon used for making ugali) or a potato masher mash the potatoes  to break them for about 5 minutes.

5.Return to heat and make a well with your wooden spoon then add cream and milk,heat till it bubbles then turn off heat,and mash till its soft and creamy.

Mashed mukimo…….thats my mwiko on your top right.

It is great with any kind of beef/chicken stew or on its own with a colorful salad.

NB:Red/pink/brown skinned  potatoes are my firm favourite for mashed potatoes as they give a better consistency

 

ALELUYA…………MAANDAZI

A few …ok not so few years ago,when i was in primary school a certain Swahili lady whom i will call Asha( which may not have been her name anyway)  would come to the playground with a bucket of warm maandazis and she would sell them to us for a shilling each.

Ah the joys of looking forward to our break time/recess time and the sight of those golden bits of delicious goodness……

They were so tasty I have spent the past 20 or so years trying to recreate them without much success but this recipe comes really close.Thanks to my sister Becky for the original recipe which I tweaked just a bit.

There is always something about dishes from the Kenyan coast…your taste buds will burst into a heavenly chorus once you have eaten one of these maandazi’s .

Here goes…..

 

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 and a half level tablespoons butter.

2 tablespoons sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

grated rind of 1 medium-sized lemon

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Preparation

1.In a large mixing bowl sieve two and a half cups of  flour,then add sugar salt and the butter which should be at room temperature.Rub the butter into the flour till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.The remaining half a cup of flour will be for kneading and rolling out.

2.Whisk the eggs into a separate bowl and add the teaspoon of vanilla essence.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and pur in the egg mixture and whisk it into the flour with a fork.

4.Gradually add the cup of milk until you have a thick batter,then use you hands to knead it into a soft dough.

5.Turn the dough onto a flat floured surface and use the palms of your hands to knead it till its smooth ,make sure to dust the flat surface with flour and knead for 3-5 minutes till it no longer sticks to the surface.

5.Gtaher the dough into ball and cover with the glass bowl for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the dough to rest.

6.After an hour divide the dough into four equal parts with  a knife and roll into a ball.

7.Roll out each ball into a round shape of about 1/4 of an inch  thickness   each and use a knife/cookie cutter / to cut it out into the desired shapes.

8.Meanwhile in a medium-sized saucepan pour your vegetable oil and place it onto your cooker  over medium high heat ,let it heat through till hot.You can test if its hot  enough by dropping a small bit of dough into the fat,if it immediately rises up and turns brown after a few seconds its ready for deep-frying.

9.Fry the maandazi’s in small batches making sure not to overcrowd the saucepan as it will lower the temperature of the oil and make you maandazi’s greasy,make sure there is enough room for them to swim around.Fry till golden brown then scoop them out and into a bowl lined with paper towels.

10.You can dust the maandazi’s with icing sugar or desiccated coconut.

Buon appettito!

NB:Never ever fill a saucepan more than a quarter full with oil when deep frying.This is so as to avoid dangerous spill overs/spatters  when food is added ,fire and oil get along like a house on fire (pun intended).

All your ingredients should be at room temperature

DATES,RAMADHAN AND MORE

Image of dates thanks to pinterest.

 

It’s the Muslim fasting period of Ramadhan and a lot of dates will be consumed during this period.

An odd number of dates is eaten to break the fast before the evening meal.According to the Muslim site Sunni.net one to three dates and 2 glasses of water is considered a healthy way to break the fast.

Dates are the fruits of the palm tree and the fruits have been a major part of the diet of the Middle east and South Asia.

Here in Kenya I have come across them thanks to the Muslim community a large majority of whom are found on the Kenyan coast.

Nutritionally dates are a source of simple sugars i.e sucrose and dextrose and that is why they are a great way of raising your blood sugars after a fasting period.

They are rich in dietary fibre and hence a good laxative if you suffer from constipation.

Dates are also a good source of iron which is essential for the formation of haemoglobin a blood component that determines the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells.They are also rich in potassium an important mineral that helps in the regulation of blood pressure heart rate.

Boiling milk in which dates have been added is a great convalescence drink too.

Read more about dates health benefits of dates.

Dried dates are best stored in an air tight container they have no need to be refrigrated though i have kept some  in my fridge for a week.

3 HEALTHY WAYS TO THICKEN STEWS

Have you ever wondered how you would get thick stews without having to resort to use of additives?

You can read my post on why i got rid of my Royco here and some comments on my blog on why some people are not using it here.

Here are some easy ways.

1.For meat stews just before frying the meat, flour it,place the pieces of meat on a flat plate sprinkle  2-3 tablespoons of flour for every 500 grammes of cubed beef then fry.

You can choose to use corn flour or any all-purpose flour but not-self raising flour.

2.Use lots of tomatoes and grated carrots they not only add color but will give you stews a thick orange color and   an enhanced sweetness.

3.Add a potato or two together with your meat and let simmer slowly till meat is tender.

BOILED GREEN MAIZE/CORN

One of my best memories as a child was going to my grandmothers during the April holidays.

Reason being that there was a lot of fresh milk for me to drink and the young cobs of maize on her farm were just putting out their hairs and if you were lucky you got her to roast some for you or have them boiled

Oh what wonderful bliss for my taste buds!

Now its April again,farmers are tilling their land for the next season but we have green maize being sold at the market from places that had their rains much earlier than we did.

So I am making these childhood delicacy for my kids and they love it!

I use the freshest cobs of maize I can get,you know you have the right kind when the seeds appear full and still milky when pressed slightly.

Ingredients

3 maize cobs

lots of water

a large enough saucepan

salt

Method

1.Start by removing the outer husks and leave a layer or two of the husks still on the cob.It lends more flavour to the corn,trust me

2.Remove all the silk hairs

3.In a saucepan add water,bring to a boil add salt(just like you do with pasta) then add your green corn.

4.Let it boil for 8-10 minutes.

5.Serve warm.

Left over can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container and eaten cold or dunk them in some hot water and enjoyed.Remove the remaining husks when serving.

 

 

MAKING YOUR OWN COCONUT MILK

Coconuts are hard nuts to crack(pun intended).

Yet they are one of the most pocket friendly things you can buy for your kitchen and that livens up your dishes  with flavour without busting your bank.

You can get the same result with dessicated coconut but the milk will be a tad thinner.

Ingredients

1-2 coconuts

3 -4 cups hot water

Equipment needed:

sieve

blender

Method

1.Split the nuts with whatever tool that you find handy,i used a hammer which is a pity because the coconut water went to waste.

2.Scoop out the flesh using a small knife.

3.Peel the brown covering on the flesh using a paring knife ,potato peeler whatever works.

4.Cut the coconut into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl.

5.Add about 1.5 cups of hot water,let sit for a 5 minutes then blend till fine in a blender.

6.Pass the pulp through a sieve or cheese cloth and wring/squeeze out as much milk as you can.

7.Set aside,this is the coconut cream.

8.Add the rest of the hot water to the sieved coconut,let sit for 10 minutes and pass through the sieve again .That will give you the coconut milk.

Like an Italian kitchen,nothing goes to waste in mine and I normally use the coconut left after all this to add to rice dishes or ugali which gives them a nice nutty flavour.Also a great addition to cookies,cakes  and breads.

PROMOTING KENYAN CUISINE

We were on a tour of the country last year when we ended up Western Kenya at one of the finest hotels there.

With two finicky eaters who love chicken I asked for chicken stew.

What did I end up with?

Roast chicken with a gravy of tomatoes ,onions and royco.

Epic fail.

But the children were hungry and so we ate it up.

Most Kenyan hotel menus feature very few Kenyan foods,devoting most if not all their time on whipping up foods that tourists visiting the country have had in every other country they have visited.

The only way Kenyan cuisine will ever et global appeal is if we engage the taste buds of visitors to the county with what we have to offer.

Tourists are adventure seekers and apart from the big 5 we need to experiment with ways in which their taste buds and palates can be seduced by Kenyan cuisine.

Let Kenyan chefs put a twist on Italian ravioli by putting in sautéed mchicha with cream or creamy pumpkin leaves  in these Italian delicacies.

Lets amp up the volume on the national dish ugali by finding new ways of making it and presenting it.

Sour porridge for breakfast served side by side  with our world famous and top grade tea and coffee .

Or creamy kunde and mchicha in addition to coleslaw.

Just look at the Russians who have made caviar a luxury symbol.

We can do the same with our traditional foods.

It puzzles me why so many Kenyan hotels prefer to serve continental menus which can be had anywhere in the world when we can introduce tourists visiting the country to our cuisine.

You do not see Italians serving Tusker lager in Italy or the French serving kunde in their restaurants,they serve local produce fantastically prepared .

Why we can’t do the same in  Kenya or why there are too few restaurants serving Kenya cuisine puzzles me.

Kenyan hotels,restaurants and chefs also need to push the bar upwards when it comes to creating creative foods out of local produce.

Only in this way will we have a chance of promoting a food culture that can be as famous as our wildlife.

MATOKE STEW WITH GREEN PEAS

Anything that had green bananas i ate.

That is what my mum tells me when she regals us with our favourite foods when we were chidren.

Green bananas are cheap and in Kenya are available all season.

This is food that is low in carbohydrates and has the B2 vitamin  necessary for cell growth and engery production.

To prevent the sticky gum green bananas are famous for from sticking to your hands,apply some olive oil on both your hands and the knife you will use to peel them

Ingredients

5 green bananas,peeled and cut into halves widhtwise

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium sized onion sliced thinly

1 clove garlic,minced

1 ripe tomato chopped

2 medium sized carrots,grated medium size)

1 cup green peas(parboiled)

salt and pepper to taste

water/stock

Method

1.Fry the onions in a saucepan till the become soft and are almost turning brown,then add i clove minced garlic.Fry for 30 seconds.

2.Add the chopped tomato tomato and grated carrots and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a dash of black pepper.

3.Add enough water/vegetable stock to cover bananas and cook over low heat for 10 minutes then add the parbolied peas.

4.Let cook for a further

5 minutes or till when a fork is passed through the bananas it goes through.

Great with roast chicken,meatballs and you favourite salad

JAZZED UP GITHERI

For a total of 8 years of ,4 each in  upper primary and high school ,i spent every evening eating githeri.

Githeri is a  central Kenyan delicacy of boiled maize and beans, fried in onions, tomatoes with some potatoes put in for good measure.

Murram  as we called it in school then, was a staple and you did not have to be a rocket scientist to know what food our faithful cook Kariuki would put out to be served by whoever’s duty it was to act as  “server of food” for that week to a table of 12 hungry teenagers.

The only deviation to this routine was on visiting days and any other day  when parents trooped to school to see their young geniuses take a break from all the hard work.

Then they would bring us chapatis,pilau,chicken ,soda and anything else we were starved off in school.

Only for them to leave us with Eno to keep of indigestion that inevitably came with eating too much.

One of my first posts on this blog was turning githeri on its head and making a salad out of it in  deconstructed githeri.

Now this is another way to have this Kenyan classic ,which nutritionally speaking, by combining maize and beans it results in  a perfect protein much like rice and beans has been made famously healthy by the Mexicans.

My 5-year-old loves it and your family will love it too.

Its githeri jazzed up with some spice and lots of vegetables off different colours that make it so appealing visually.

I digress…this was meant to be a recipe.

Ingredients

2 cups dry/fresh beans parboiled

1.5  cup green corn/maize parboiled

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium-sized red onion,chopped finely

3 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon garam masala

4 medium-sized potatoes peeled and halved

2 tomatoes cubed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 small green capsicum,chopped

2 medium-sized carrots

salt and pepper to taste

stock/water

Method

1.Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat and pour the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

2.Add the red onion,saute it till it turns soft then add the garlic and fresh ginger root minced,fry for 30 seconds taking care not to brown it too much.

3.Add the garam masala and the black pepper,let cook for 15 -30 seconds taking care not to burn it, then add the potatoes and  the vegetables plus the salt and tomato paste.Let it cook covered for 2-3  minutes ,stirring often till it turns into a thick sauce .

4.Add the beans and maize and enough stock to cover and let simmer for 30 minutes till the potatoes are soft and a fork passed through them goes through and the stock has reduced to just below the level of the beans and githeri.

Serve with some creamy coleslaw or kale or you favourite salad.