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Githeri cooking over the cook fire.

Someone recently asked me about the diet in Kenya. I was about half way through my response email when I realized that others might be interested, and might even want to give it a try. So, I’ve decided to pull together the best list that I can based on what we generally eat while at the Lifeway Academy. Hope you find it informative. Let me know if you try out any of the dishes! Here goes:

Breakfast:

We usually had tea (I’ll include that recipe, too) and bread and butter for breakfast. Some times we might also have a banana, split an avocado or eat what most American’s would consider to be an under ripe orange (that’s how they eat them there.)

Tea (Chai)http://allthingskenyan.com/food-chai.html This is a very small batch. The Kenyans usually make it in a much larger batch and transfer it from the pot to a thermos. The thermoses keep the tea hot much longer than needed… It gets used up pretty quickly! Mrs. Sang also showed us how adding a fresh spring or two (depending on the size of your batch) of Rosemary can add a very nice touch!

Mrs. Sang, Leah and Beatrice stopping for bread and tea at the old cook house.
Mrs. Sang, Leah and Beatrice stopping for bread and tea at the old cook house. You can see the thermoses they use sitting on the table.

They also serve a porridge at the morning break for the children – it is probably their breakfast. Here is a link to the porridge: http://cookingkenya.blogspot.com/2011/07/millet-porridge.html (PS I only approve the recipe, not necessarily all of the other commentary.) This recipe calls for half of a lime. I have never seen them use that at Lifeway. The porridge is usually somewhat thick, but still thin enough that you can drink it from a cup.

Some of the younger children drink porridge on their morning break.
Some of the younger children drinking porridge on their morning break. Love how the little guy on the end has his tongue sticking out!

Lunch:

Lunch can vary a little. This recipe for Ugali says to serve it with meat stew, but they rarely do at the school. They usually serve it with Sukuma Wiki.
Ugali and Sukuma Wiki : http://kenya.rcbowen.com/recipes/ugali.html  and http://allthingskenyan.com/food-sukumawiki.html

Some of the girls eating ugali and sukuma wiki. (November, 2010)
Some of the girls eating ugali and sukuma wiki. (November, 2010)

Another lunch combo is Ugali and Githeri. This Githeri recipe says to use any type of beans, but it seemed to me that most people used kidney beans: http://www.whats4eats.com/vegetables/githeri-recipe

Rice is also a lunch item, but it is a bit more expensive so not served as often. It might be served with Githeri or a stew of some kind. (Kenyan stews are much different than American stews. Most American stews are thick, Kenyan stews tend to be more of a broth with small pieces of meat if possible. Another difference is that most of the meat in the stew will have bones in them.)

On rare occasions, we also had noodles with a thin tomato sauce over them, probably sauted tomatoes and onions.

 

Supper:

Supper was usually very similar to lunch. The rice and stew are more common as a supper dish than for lunch, but again, it is more expensive and so not served as often. One dish that was almost exclusively a supper dish (unless there were leftovers for breakfast!) was one of my favorites! Chapati!

Chapati is a fried bread. It’s like combining Russian blini and Tortillas – YUM! This looks like a pretty good Chapati recipe, although I haven’t actually tried it. http://www.livestrong.com/article/454349-how-to-cook-chapati-from-kenya/

The main cook fire. The pipe off to the side is used to blow into the fire to heat it up.
The main cook fire. The pipe off to the side is used to blow into the fire to heat it up.

Special Occasions:

One of the things that I saw most frequently when we visited in people’s home, at church gatherings or special occasions was a little, delicious morsel called Mandazi. I could eat them all day! Of the variations here I would only go with the first two and possibly the last if you are short on baking powder. The others seem westernized. I never saw them in Kenya, although you might find those variations in the city. http://allthingskenyan.com/food-mandazi.html

If you go out to eat, of course, you will find a broader selection. But this is the basic diet in the area of Kenya where Lifeway is located. Hope you find this interesting! I’m thinking I may have to make some Mandazi soon!!!

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One thought on “On the Menu

  1. This is exciting!! Thank you so much, this looks very interesting and just may do the trick. :0)
    May the Lord bless your week.
    The Dirks Family

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