I have enjoyedcookingbefore so this should come as no surprise, but lately I have been breaking new ground in the kitchen! Yesterday, for the first time ever, I walked into a butchery in Tala market and ordered one quarter of a kilogram of beef. I wanted to cook pilau (a spiced rice dish, usually with beef) but I didn’t know where to start. The mamas in the market were happy to share their recipes, so I collected several opinions and went home to give it a try. Result: success! I had some problems cutting the meat, I never noticed how dull my knife is because all I ever chop is veggies!
I’ve also been cooking some pretty awesome fried rice. Lots of vegetables and spices; it’s pretty tasty. I only learned how to make non-mushy rice in the last few months, so that’s helped my fried rice dish immensely. So you can see savory dishes are covered, but I’ve also made a foray into sweet. Continue Reading
I’ve been thinking about this for a while: my Spanish is gradually being replaced by Swahili. That’s pretty sad when you consider that I studied Spanish for five years in school, not to mention living in San Diego and traveling all over Mexico every year for most of my childhood. Not that I need or use Spanish here in Kenya, but I like to test myself every once in awhile. On a semi-related note, I did eat some beef tacos last week at a funny restaurant in Nairobi called “Taco Club.” My buddy ordered chicken fajitas. The salsa was fresca and the guacamole was delicious, but the rice was more like turmeric rice (Indian…?).
I think I know more Swahili than Spanish now. Maybe I’ll go walk around Mexico for a few weeks when I get back from Kenya in 2009 to refresh my skills. Any takers?
By now you know I’m not a traditional Kenyan man: I cook the food, clean the house, buy the vegetables, AND wash the clothes. I will admit that the cleaning is a pain in the ass (due to the “African” broom) and the washing is tedious, but the cooking is good fun. There is something so relaxing about coming home after work, especially when I don’t have a lecture the next morning, and preparing a nice, fresh meal. I cook anything from country potatoes to githeri (Kenyan staple of corn and beans) to Indian-inspired lentil curries. I’ve even picked up some new tools of the trade!
You can see my “jiko” in the pictures; it is basically a charcoal BBQ. The jiko is nice because some things need to simmer for a LONG time and the charcoal is much cheaper than boiling on my gas stove. Also, the two frying pans which came with my house were absolute crap. You know the kind: you have to cook one more egg than you’re hungry for because, no matter how much oil you use, one egg always remains on the pan. I was holding off on upgrading because I didn’t know how to dispose of the old ones, but recently I found out the locals collect scrap metal for recycling. I think they get a couple hundred shillings (around $5) for a kilogram. It may not sound like much money but every little bit counts here, and it saves my conscience because I was already losing sleep about the thought of burying them in my backyard!
So I may have to deal with man-eating spiders and slimy snakes, but at least I’m eating good food! I have some hashed browns, toast, and eggs cooking on my new non-stick pan as we speak! Until next time, take care!