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10 Traditional Kenyan Foods

Pembury Tours Blog - Traditional Kenyan Food



We’ve covered South Africa and Botswana as we go on a culinary tour through Africa. The next stop? Kenya and its local cuisine.

The Maasai Mara takes a back seat in this blog and the local cuisine takes the spotlight. Rich, aromatic spices, open fires and a wonderful combination of meats and vegetables characterise Kenya’s traditional dishes. Here are our 10 traditional Kenyan dishes you have to try.

1. Ugali

Ugali is one of Kenya’s most common staple foods. Cornmeal is added to boiling water and cooked until a paste is formed. It is dense with a grainy dough-like consistency. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to the saucy stews and vegetables Kenyans eat it with.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Ugali

2. Kenyan Pilau

Borrowed from Indian cuisine, Kenyan Pilau is a rice dish flavoured with a variety of aromatic spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and cloves, and cooked in stock. It is often served with meat, fresh tomato and onions.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Food - Kenyan Pilau

3. Sukuma Wiki

Sukuma Wiki is the Kenyan take on collard greens or kale. Greens are simmered with chopped tomato and onion and spiced with mchuzi mix (Kenyan flavouring salt). The Kenyan dish is made with a variety of leaves, including pumpkin and sweet potato leaves.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Sukuma Wiki

4. Nyama Choma

This is Kenya’s staple red meat dish. Nyama Choma is chevon or mutton flavoured with a variety of spices and barbecued over an open fire. Because it is cooked over a slow heat, the meat is incredibly tender and flavourful. It is usually served with ugali and kachumbari (a fresh onion and tomato salad).

5. Kenyan Chapati

Drawing its roots from Indian cuisine, the Kenyan dish chapati is the staple bread choice for most meals. It is made with flour, salt and oil. The addition of clarified butter gives it a more exotic, slightly sweeter taste.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Kenyan Chapati

6. Maharagwe

This Kenyan dish is a delicious combination of red beans and red onions simmered in a rich sauce of coconut milk, tomato and aromatic spices. Maharagwe is often eaten with ugali but can also be enjoyed with rice or chapati.

Pembury Tours Traditional Kenyan Foods - Maharagwe

7. Matoke

This dish originates from Uganda but is widely eaten in Kenya. Plantain bananas are cooked with tomato, onion, garlic, chilli and lemon juice until the bananas are softened and a thick sauce is formed. Sometimes meat is also added. As with most traditional Kenyan dishes, it is served alongside ugali, rice or chapati.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Matoke

8. Wali wa Nazi

This Kenyan dish is eaten mainly along the Indian Ocean island coast. Wali wa Nazi is simply white rice cooked with grated coconut. This flavourful twist on rice is best enjoyed with fish or chicken curry.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Wali Wa Nazi - Coconut Rice

9. Githeri

Another simple but tasty Kenyan dish, githeri is a combination of kidney beans and corn kernels which are boiled and stewed. The addition of salt, pepper, chilli and chapati as an accompaniment makes this a simple, delicious and nutritious dish.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Githeri

10. Mandazi

Mandazi can only be described as the Kenyan doughnut, making it one of our favourite Kenyan dishes by far. A fried crispy exterior and fluffy interior make these sweet treats the perfect dessert. They can also be served as a breakfast (no complaints here!). Kenyan coffee or chai are both great accompaniments.

Pembury Tours - Traditional Kenyan Foods - Mandazi

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