All posts filed under: East African Dishes

Chilli Lime and Garlic Mogo

Chilli, Lime and Garlic Mogo

My favourite Sunday afternoon snacks consist of anything that goes with with a cup of masala chai. Whether it’s something deep fried and delicious like samosa or kachori, or a pile of fluffy steamed dhokra, I’m a sucker for savoury snacks. These East African-style Mogo Chips are a childhood favourite. It’s the kind of food we’d prepare if we have guests coming over because it’s so simple to throw together. I’ve also never met anyone who doesn’t love fluffy mogo. Mogo (a.k.a Cassava) is a staple carb in Africa, in many parts of South America where it is known as Yucca and of course, in my house. Countless Indian restaurants all over the UK serve it up in all kinds of ways, popular choices being Tandoori and Indo-Chinese style (with soy sauce). Personally, I think the simpler it is, the better. What I love about mogo is its earthy flavour, which truly comes to life when it’s gently steamed or boiled. It’s so distinct, you’d know within a split second that someone is making ‘bafelo …

Mombasa Kachri Bateta

Mombasa Kachri Bateta

I’ve always strived to be a great cook like my grandfathers. My parents tell me their Gujarati and East African classics like Mombasa-Style Daal Kachori, Jalebi Paratha, gathia were inspiring. Their tips and tricks are recalled in the conversations of our extended family with a joy that I cannot even describe. I wish they’d have been here long enough for me to watch them at work. Someone who had the pleasure of spending many hours in the kitchen with my Bapuji (paternal grandfather) was my wonderful aunt in Mombasa, Kenya. She’s an incredibly-talented cook with an edible garden I could only dream of. Packed with mangoes, coconuts, bananas, tree tomatoes and herbs, she’s an expert at cooking everything from Gujarati classics, to East African staples. When I visited their family home last year, I was treated to it all and my word was it dreamy. One of the dishes she cooked up was this Mombasa Kachri Bateta – a light potato stew with sour green mangoes, topped with coconut fresh from the garden and fried …

Daal Vada

Bullet Banana Daal Vada

Happy 2014! It’s a new year and time to start getting excited about the adventures ahead. This year I get to marry my best friend and biggest supporter in all my work and passions. I have never felt so excited and nervous in my whole life. I thought it would only be right to begin the year with a recipe that’s close to my heart; one which combines my love for Gujarati and East-African food in a beautiful way. Traditional Gujarati Daal Vada are crunchy, spicy and perfect for dipping into yoghurt. My East-African version incorporates bananas to add a hint of sweetness against the intense chilli and lemon heat. The magical thing about adding ripe banana to the batter is that it reacts with the lemon and baking powder, creating a puffy, fluffy-in-the-middle fritters that still have an incredible golden crunch on the outside because of the ground mung daal, urad daal and rice. For me, rice is an important addition to any Daal Vada recipe because it ensures the fritters are crispy on …

Mandazi Barazi

Swahili Breakfast: Mandazi and Barazi

I spent some time in Mombasa almost five months ago. It’s safe to say I’ve missed sipping on fresh madaf (coconut water) on Bamburi beach, eating fried cassava crisps doused in lemon juice and chilli on the side of the road, and feasting in mind-blowing authentic Swahili restaurants by moonlight. I ate a lot that week. For me, the most incredible thing about East African food is the simplicity of ingredients that go into a dish and the unbelievable flavours that are produced. Basic seasonings like salt, sugar, lemon and chilli are paramount to everyday cooking. Spices like cardamom and turmeric are also popular, although they are used sparingly. Whilst cassava, beans and ground rice make up the majority of the diet, fruit and veg are showcased in such a simple, yet delicious way that vegetarian food is an absolute pleasure to eat. My wonderful aunt and uncle in Mombasa are blessed to have a garden full of palm trees, banana trees and fresh herbs, which allow them to indulge on the freshest exotic ingredients …

Mombasa-style Kachori

Mombasa-style Daal Kachori

Spiced Daal and Green Mango in Flaky Pastry Deep fried starters; once you eat one, you’ll always go back for a second. Fact. Kachori are like the forgotten little sister of samosa – the underdog starter that accidently slipped through the fingers of Western restaurateurs. I cannot emphasise enough how good lentils are with sweet, hot and sour flavours. The addition of sour green mango cuts through the richness of the daal and spices and balances the deep heat of the chillies, ginger and cinnamon perfectly. These kachori are inspired by those sold at the famous Bhagwanjis sweet mart in Mombasa, Kenya. My entire family raves about Kenya-style kachori and these, along with Bateta Vada, are guaranteed to put a smile on my dad’s face. And I can vouch that he has great taste. Kachori come in all flavours, shapes and sizes. You can stuff the classic flaky pastry with crushed green peas, urad daal or even potatoes. They can be made into UFO-like patties and topped with yoghurt, chopped onions and tomatoes to make …

Vitumbua - Tanzanian Doughnuts

Vitumbua – Tanzanian Doughnuts

Jambo! Flicking through rare East African cookbooks fills me with that familiar, comforting feeling of when I cosy up with my favourite Indian ones. Being nourished with a mishmash of Indian, African and British food has all my life, allowed me to connect and experiment with the culinary cultures of all these cuisines. In other words, I’ve been spoilt and have loved every minute of it. Hell, I’ve been rabbiting on about it to you all since 2009. For my generation, it feels like the Indian influence on East African cooking is a hush-hush camp, with recipes hidden away inside the spirits of expat grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles. As sad as it may sound, I’m a 23-year old girl worried that Zanzibar Trail Mix, Malindi Halwa and Ugandan Kasodi will one day be forgotten by my Indo-Chinese-obsessed peers – and that’s deep, bro. In the name of doing my bit to preserve the East African cuisine my family are so proud of, I’d like to introduce you to Vitumbua. These Tanzanian rice flour doughnuts …

Crispy Potato Bhajia (2)

Crispy Potato Bhajia

Served in paper cones with fried green chillies for that ‘bhajia on the beach’ feel I’ve always been a sucker for ordering too many starters in restaurants, especially when it involves Crispy Potato Bhajia (paper-thin potato slices coated in a bespoke spice blend), Hara Bara Kebabs (pea and cauliflower cakes) and Daal Kachori (spiced daal in semolina pastry). I’m told my eyes are bigger than my belly and I’ve never been one to argue with legitimate allegations. Although I love eating out as much as I love home cooking, there’s always one question lingering on my lips as I attempt to make a choice of which restaurant to spend my Friday evening in  – do they serve decent starters? In all honesty, I think I can judge an Indian restaurant menu by the starters they have to offer. If the vegetarian appetisers are limited to samosas and onion bhajis (to this day, I still don’t understand onion bhajis – what are they and where did they come from?) I know I’m not going to be …

kasodi

Kasodi- Ugandan Sweetcorn Cobs in a Peanut and Coconut Sauce

This is vegan. Just had to mention that shocking fact as this is by far one of the creamiest, richest, most delicious dishes I have ever tasted. Having recently posted the Gujarati-inspired African dish Hot and Sour Tamarind Cassava, I have decided to share a little more of these rare combinations with you. Note: I’m currently considering coining this sort of food under the term ‘Gujafrican’ cuisine- pretty accurate if you ask me. These recipes have been simmering in the karahis my family of cooks for year upon years, and now everyone loves a little cassava, sour mango, coconut milk and other delicious East African ingredients. Gujafrican cuisine is light, moreish and perfect for long summer evenings. Let me warn you, once you start cooking these dishes they will leave an everlasting impression upon your tastebuds, which you will never forget. This recipe uses no onions or garlic, and so the dish is flavoured using alternative aromatic spices. Sweetcorn and cumin are like bride and groom; they hold hands, dance, and totally love each other, …

tamarind-cassava

Hello and Hot and Sour Tamarind Cassava

Oh how I’ve missed all of you and your amazing comments! I’ve been itching to get back to cooking and blogging and now exams and university are over I’m here to fatten you all up again! My brain is currently swollen with confusion, not knowing what to do next. After seventeen years of full-time education it’s time to close the gate on that part of my life and open a new one leading to a future full of new adventures, ideas and possibilities. First on my list of priorities is to get back to my favourite hobby- blogging and sharing recipes with you. During the past few days I’ve been basking in the sunshine and enjoying the usually short-lived English summertime. In this type of hot weather I love to eat light dishes like salads, cold pasta, rice and other grain pilafs and lots of fruit juice. In order to spend as much time outside as possible, quick dishes are essential. Eating outside is something I cannot even remember doing (how can it have been …