COCONUT WATER AND MANGO COOLER

A semifreddo is a partially frozen  fruit drink that can be turned into a dessert.

Semifreddos can be made from fruit juice,ice cream,cake,custard or whipped cream.

They are the perfect coolers to the hot days that January is infamous for here in Kenya.

You can find a strawberry and shaved chocolate semifreddo here.

Use this recipe here for the coconut and mango fruit mix,  double the ingredients and you have a perfect drink to keep you rehydrated this January.

The drink can be sweetened using a simple syrup.

You can use your favourite fresh fruit juice,pour it into a freeze proof container and pop it into your freezer.

Keep checking every 2 hours  and if mixture looks like it is about to freeze,scrape it with a fork till it’s a crystallised slush.

Do this  2-3 times till you are left with crystallised bits of the juice without any liquid left in the container.

Scoop  this into a chilled champagne or wine glass and top with some more of the fresh fruit juice and enjoy.

THREE FLOURS-PUMPKIN CHAPATIS

This recipe was inspired by my sister in laws who make the most amazing pumpkin chapatis.

It uses a sweet pumpkin that I picked from my kitchen garden but you can use butternut or whatever type of pumpkin is available.

The three flours i have used in the recipe are locally available and give the chapatis depth in terms of texture,flavour and colour and the added benefit of using whole wheat flour which is that you get dietary fibre,calcium and iron.

Ingredients

1 cup  pumpkin,cubed

3 cups water

1 cup whole wheat flour/amaranth flour

1 cup regular four

1 cup semolina flour

1 teaspoon salt

 1 scant tablespoon  sugar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

vegetable oil for frying

Method

1.In small saucepan put 2 cups of water then add the 1 cup of chopped pumpkin and bring it to boil.

Cook till pumpkin is tender about 15 minutes.

2.In a mixing bowl add the three flours,salt and sugar and mix together with a fork.

3.Once the pumpkin is cooked you are left with about 1 cup water,blend this or mash with a fork till it looks like a paste .Add half a  cup of water(cold) and then add it to the flour mixture,retaining half of it incase you need more water for the dough.

Make a well in the middle of the bowl with the flour and pout this pumpkin water in.

4.Incorporate flour into the pumpkin water with a fork, then once mixed use your hands to knead dough  for 5 minutes till the dough is soft and smooth.

5.Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and knead again about 2-3 minutes.

6.Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered.

7.Get a large platter,sprinkle some flour  and using knife or kitchen scissors snip off dough and roll little dough balls the size of a small egg placing them on the platter .It makes about 12-14 chapatis.

8.On your rolling board roll out the chapatis into thin discs the size of a small dinner plate,brush with vegetable oil and roll into strip.Then roll the strip round into a round ball and place back on the platter.

9.Repeat this with the rest of the balls.

10.Heat a heavy frying pan.skillet/girdle over medium heat then take one ball of the dough roll it out into the size of a small dinner plate then place on the hot pan.

11.Watch for bubbles on top of the dough and you know it’s now time to turn the chapati over.

12.Brush the cooked side with some oil,turn it over.Brush the second side with oil turn it over,by now both side of the chapati should have lovely patchwork of brown.Turn it onto a clean platter and cover with a kitchen towel.

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

Serve with your favourite stew

SCRUMPTIOUS BEEF GOULASH

If you have been looking for the perfect chapati recipe look no further….

This beef stew is a kind of a  goulash, the famed Hungarian meat dish minus  the potatoes.

If you love meat this is the perfect stew to go with this flat bread and it requires only three special items:grated pumpkin,ground cummin and garlic  the tomato paste is an optional ingredient.

The grated pumpkin adds extra depth,flavour and density to the stew and the added  nutrition from the Vitamin A pumpkin provides is certainly good for your immune system.

This items will not bust your bank and will leave you with more than enough change in your wallet.

So here goes.

Ingredients

500 grammes beef cubed

2 medium-sized tomatoes cubed

3 cloves garlic minced

1 medium-sized onion,sliced

1 cup grated pumpkin

1 tablespoon tomato paste(optional)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 level teaspoon ground cumin

salt and black pepper to taste

1 table-spoon tomato paste

Stock or water

Preparation

1.In a medium sized sauce pan heat the two tablespoons of olive oil,then add the cumin and   lower heat.Wait for 30 seconds till the spices infuse the oil.

2.Now add the minced garlic and let fry over low heat till garlic turns slightly translucent then add the cubed beef.

3.Let brown for 3  minutes then adjust heat to medium high and add the tomatoes,onion and grated pumpkin and add enough salt and black pepper to taste.

4.Cover saucepan for 5 minutes and then stir the softened vegetables making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.

5.Add enough stock or water to cover the meat and more (about an extra half cup)

6.Lower heat and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until meat becomes tender.

Serve with a vegetable serving of creamy spinach and corn,mchicha or sautéed cabbage

CRISPY ARROW ROOT BHAJIAS

Growing up in the 90’s the only thing we wanted as kids when my mother made her visits to Nairobi city was not pizza,it was bhajias!

There was a fast food restaurant that unfortunately has now closed that specialized in just bhajias.

They were served with Kachumbari and boy were they something!

I tried to recreate the recipe many times until a few years back i discovered the secret..gram flour

Gram four or chick pea flour is the secret to great tasting bhajias.

It has more protein that regular flour and gives a really crisp finish to fried food.Read more about gram flour here.

Gram four is sold in Kenyan supermarkets in 1 kilo packet and it is definitely worth every penny.

You can also use it to coat other vegetables you want to  fry like onion rings,potato bhajias or fillets.

Ingredients

2 medium-sized arrow-root pieces

1.5 cups gram flour

2 table spoons chopped coriander

1.5 tablesppon ginger/garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 pinches cayenne pepper

2 pinches baking powder

Enough oil for deep frying

Preparation

1.Clean the arrow roots under running water,then use a potato peeler to remove the outer skin.

2.Use a slicer to thinly slice the arrow roots and soak then in salty water for 30 minutes.

3.Meanwhile in a large bowl mix the chick pea flour,garlic paste,chopped coriander,cayenne , black pepper and the baking powder and salt with a fork.

4.After 30 minutes drain the arrow roots and transfer them to the bowl with the gram flour mixture.

5.Using clean hands rub the flour all over the arrow-root slices and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

6.Heat deep frying oil/fat in a large sauce pan  enough to fry the bhajia pieces,fry  for 5-6 minutes over medium high heat  till they float to the top and they turn crisp and lightly brown ,then transfer to paper towels using a slotted spoon.

7.Best served hot/warm with a side serving of kachumbari or tomato and red onion salad with lemon dressing.

HALE AND HEARTY SUKUMAWIKI

Kale is  becoming a popular food in the US and someone has even created Kale chips!Americans are discovering this leafy green when Kenyans have had it for years ,kale is everywhere in Kenya ,anywhere you turn from the mama mboga kiosk(vegetable vendor) to the supermarket grocery section,this vegetable is enjoyed by Kenyans of all means.

Kale is very nutritious and is rich in antioxidants and is rich in Vitamins A.C and K which is great for building strong bones.Read more about  9 reasons why you should be eating more kale.

I have found two recipes that have intrigued me and maybe you may want to try them Aarti’s Massaged Kale and Kale Chips.
But for me sautéed kale is tops!

With just some tomatoes,onion and salt and pepper this vegetable can steal the show of any meal!

Curly Kale

SAUTEED KALE

3 cups shredded kale

1 large onion,chopped

1 medium size tomato ,cubed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

1.Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and pour the oil.

2.Add the chopped onions and saute’ them till soft and translucent then add the tomatoes,salt and pepper tot aste.

3.Cook the vegetables till soft about 2 minutes then add the shredded kale.

4.Cook covered for 5 minutes,let steam cook and shrink the vegetables then stir them together.

5.Cook for an additional 2 minutes then serve.

Kale like all vegetables should not be over cooked,you need to see the bright green color on them when the are served on your plate,that way you are sure you are getting full benefits from this very nutritious vegetable.

ALL GROWN UP CHICKEN WITH PUMPKIN AND BROCCOLI STEW

The only reason this is called a grown up recipe is because it uses a glass of dry white wine,feel free to make it kid friendly by omitting the wine.

Try the Sweet n’ Sour Chicken if you have little ones.
It’s also a time saver as you have everything in one pot,the vegetables and protein and all you need is to make some pasta or rice and you are done!

This chicken has to spend some time in a marinade first …..

I had a broiler that weighed about 1.2 kilos which i then portioned into individual serving portions but you can do the same with what you have in hand be it chicken wings,drum sticks or chicken breasts.

Place them in a bowl and then use the marinade below .

Lemon cummin marinade

Juice from one lemon,freshly squeezed

1 -2 teaspoons cummin powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 table spoons olive oil

In a small bowl whisk all these ingredients with a fork and pour them over the sectioned chicken pieces and rub the marinade on the meat.

Cover the bowl holding the chicken with cling film and refrigerate for about an  hour before cooking for the flavours to develop.

Now for the stew:

1 cup of regular pumpkin or butternut grated

2 carrots,chopped 

2 medium-sized onions,chopped

3 large tomatoes,chopped

1 and half cups blanched broccoli florets

3 cloves garlic,crushed

1/2 teaspoon of ground fresh ginger

1 glass of a dry white wine

Enough chicken stock or water

salt  and black pepper to taste.

1.Over low heat place large saucepan and add a tablespoon of regular vegetable oil/olive oil and add the ginger and crushed garlic,fry for about 5 minutes,take care not to brown too much as it will give a bitter taste to the stew.

I know its time to add other ingredients when the fragrant aroma of garlic/ginger fills my kitchen .

2.Once the ginger and garlic have been cooking for about 2-3 minutes add the chicken pieces and stir them ,cook on low heat till they begin to brown .

3.It is now time to add the onions,grated pumpkin,tomatoes and salt and pepper,then cover to simmer for about 5-10 minutes till the vegetables turn all soft and mushy.

4.Add the glass of white wine to deglaze the pan ,let simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes  then add enough chicken stock or water to cover the meat.

5.Let simmer for about 30 minutes covered then add the 1 and a half cups of blanched broccoli florets and simmer for a further 5 minutes and serve.

Great with  rice,any type of flat bread or even pasta.

NOT-SO-ORDINARY TRIPE STEW (MATUMBO)

Kosewe’s in Nairobi CBD has the best goat tripe(matumbo).

After having it there a couple of years ago,I had to go and try it in my kitchen,previously I had eaten only cow tripe,but goat tripe is the real thing,packed with flavour and really tender.Sorry cows…….

Anyway tripe is eaten in many countries all over the world,in Italy it is even a street food much like we have mutura or stuffed tripe here in Kenya.And many parts of Italy have their own way of cooking tripe that is region specific.

In parts of France it is even considered a gourmet food,so you may want  to give this food another try …

It is also cheaper than beef so one more reason to enjoy this delicacy .

Now the thing with cooking tripe is that you have to clean it well and to cook in on low heat till its tender.

First you have to parboil it for about an hour or two till the meat becomes tender,then you fry it and simmer  the stew on low heat till the tripe becomes tender.

Seeing that the Christmas period is fast approaching and a lot of goats will be facing the butchers knife over the holiday season,try this recipe and delights your taste buds.

Like all animal products,tripe is nutritional benefits include it being a source of  protein ,calcium,potassium  and phosphorus well as containing small amounts of iron.

However it should not be an everyday food for anyone watching their cholesterol levels.

The pest thing for cooking this in would be an clay pot but a good saucepan would be just as good.

Ingredients.

1 kilo of tripe par boiled

2 medium-sized onions chopped finely

2 large tomatoes chopped finely

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons chopped spring onions

salt and  black pepper to taste

Method

1.Once you have parboiled the tripe and all the water has evaporated use the same pot to cook the tripe in and just add the tomatoes,onions,tomato paste,salt and black pepper and just a tablespoon of olive/vegetable  oil if necessary and lower heat to low and let the tripe cook for about 15 minutes.

2.After the vegetables have softened and released their juices uncover the saucepan and stir ,add some stock/water to cover the tripe and let simmer for a further 30-45 minutes.

3.Taste the tripe and if tender then add the chopped spring onions and turn off heat.Let the steam from the stew cook the parsley for 5 minutes then serve.

If it’s not tender enough just let simmer for a further 10 minutes then proceed as above.

Tripe can be served with anything from steamed rice to chapatis to ugali.

Enjoy!

RED “HOT” MANGO FRUIT SMOOTHIE

Nothing screams December is here, better than mangos…in Kenya atleast.

Mangoes are everywhere you turn,in fruit stalls, in wheel barrows being pushed by street vendors,you see them in all shapes and sizes and colors everywhere you look.

And they come cheap.

They remind me of the lond December holidays i had as a kid and we would go back to Nairobi with a sack ful of mangoes for our neighbours.

And no fruit vendor worth his salt would sell mangoes without some chilli powder mixed in with salt to accompany these delicous fruit.

Mangoes are a great source of Vitamin C,dietary fibre ,folate and Vitamin B6.

Mangoes are some of the most commonlly cultivated fruits in the tropics and they originated from India then spread to the rest of the world.

In addition to being eaten on their own as a fruit,they can be turned into smoothies,eaten in salads,chutneys and as garnishing on ice cream.

There are even dried mango strips sold in some specialty stores and thye are delicious and great for kids to snack on,definetely better than potato crisps.

Ingredients

2 ripe mangoes

1 glass of  drinking water

Juice from a fresh lime/lemon,fresh

1/2  a medium sized beetroot sliced into quarters.

1-2 pinches red chilli powder.

Ice cubes

Method

1.Peel mangoes and slice off the flesh aound the seed then cut it into cubes .

2Put these in ablender,then add the quartered beetroot,juice from the lemon(it prevents the beetroot from turning color).

3.Add some honey or syrup for taste,2 pinches of red chilli powder  and water  to make it easier to blend the mixture and pulse for 3-5 minutes .

Add more water till you get the desired consistency.

4.Get 2 tall drinking glass,put some ice cubes and pour the drink.

COCONUT AND MANGO FRUIT MIX

You cannot mention the Kenyan coast without talking about the coconut.

I remember when my dad would go on one of his many field trips as a film producer if he ended up at the coast,he had better bring home coconuts and mangoes or maembe dodo,the oval-shaped mangoes so emblematic of the coast

Nostalgia just had to creep through in this recipe where I use  mango ,coconut and pineapple drink ..

But the star of the show should really be coconut water.

There is even an alcoholic drink at the Kenyan coast that goes by the name of mnazi,made from coconut water.

Apparentlycoconut water  is a great anti aging drink but it also has other nutritional benefits, it has no calories but is a great source of potassium,better than bananas apparently.

And is a great rehydration drink in the heat so common at the coast.

More about coconut water.

Glass of coconut water

Now here is what you need for this drink ,which would be great with a shot or two of something that is not water.

Ingredients

Coconut water from 1 coconut

1 ripe mango

1/2 cup diced pineapple

Juice from 2 limes

Some drinking water

 

Method

1.First peel mango and remove the flesh ,dicing it and  putting it into a clean bowl till you are left with the seed.

2.Split coconut and drain the water into a glass.

3.Squeeze the juice from two limes.

4.In a blender put in the coconut water and diced mango pieces.

5.If you want you may want to add a tablespoon of honey to sweeten  but the drink is fine as it is.

6.Blend the fruits to your desired consistency adding water if it gets too thick.

7.Get a tall drinking glass and if you have an extra lemon slice it in half and use one half and pass it round the rim of the glass flesh side down.

You want to dampen the rim so that the sugar sticks.

8.Place the glass rim side down onto the bowl of sugar,you now have sugar crystals round the rim.

9.Put some ice cubesthe diced pineapple pieces into the glass,  then pour the blended juice.

10.Garnish with a slice of thinly sliced lemon and a colored straw

You are off to the tropics,just make make sure you have a handful of cashewnuts to complete the picture!

MCHICHA(AMARANATH) SAUTEED IN GARLIC AND TOMATOES

This  is a great vegetable that grows wild and especially when it rains!

It resembles baby spinach but is more tender and normally i chop it roughly then  blanch it for 5 minutes t hen fry it .

Like spinach they should not be overcooked as they lose much of their nutritional value.

They are a great source of Vitamin A and C,Iron,calcium as well as sodium.

My kitchen garden is filled with these vegetables and am loving making them as side dishes with ugali and beef stew ,with rice and am even thinking of a recipe salad!

If you are tired of eating kale or spinach then this is something that will have your taste buds humming with pure joy.

Ingredients

2 cups blanched mchicha ,drained

2 medium-sized carrots ,grated

1 large tomato

2 cloves garlic minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method

1.Over medum heat in a small saucepan/saute’ pan pour the vegetable oil then add the minced garlic,Saute’ for 5 seconds and once its begins to soften and the chopped tomatoes and the grated carrots.

2.Season with some salt and black pepper and cover saucepan and let cook for 2-3 minutes till tomatoes turn mushy and soft.

3.Add the blanched mchicha cover and lower heat and let cook for 5 minutes.

4.Uncover and stir the vegetables to mix them.

5.Taste for seasoning and at this point you can choose to add some cream,an egg or even peanut butter.

Goes really well  with rice,ugali,chapati or macaroni.