Many of us have gathered around for Thanksgiving dinner not too long ago. Whether it was traveling to visit relatives, hosting your own gathering, or meeting the youngest additions to the family, we’ve shared special moments by gathering together over a meal.
Preparing dishes and sharing a meal together make us feel at home – and that is a universal concept. We’ve asked our team from Kenya to share their favorite traditional holiday dishes that reminds them of family gatherings and home. With their help and some commentary from Mike and Anne from the Kenya team, we’ve pulled together a list of adapted Kenyan recipes that can warm up any outdoor gathering.
One of the largely popular holiday dishes in Kenya is nyama choma, which is roasted meat. This dish is associated with a warm celebratory cheer and is very easy to make. Nyama choma is traditionally either beef or goat meat. This adapted recipe will use short ribs, but you can feel free to substitute it with any protein of your choosing.
"Nyama choma is 'a weekend with friends' meal, and is also for special occasions like weddings and events. It is great to catch up with friends over. It goes very well with a beer. When you think of nyama choma you think of friends, and you think of beer." - Mike
- 1 lb beef short ribs, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Hot pepper flakes
- Curry powder, to taste
- Turmeric, to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- Paprika, to taste
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For a fresh side salad to accompany the nyama choma, add kachumbari to your holiday dinner. Similar to salsa, kachumbari is Kenya’s popular vegetable salad that serves a refreshing kick to the meal.
"Kachumbari is an everyday dish and goes well with nyama choma. You offer kachumbari when you have visitors to make a nice, well-rounded meal. I remember delicious kachumbari during my sister’s wedding. Mike’s aunty also makes an amazing kachumbari which is very memorable." - Anne
- 4 small hot peppers, de-seeded and cut into small pieces width-wise
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 small red onions, diced
- 5 tomatoes, chopped into small cubes
- A cup of water with 1/2 tablespoon of salt
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heat water in a pot over the CampStove 2 and add salt.
- Place and swirl the onions in the hot water for about a minute, and drain the water.
- Mix the onions, tomatoes, chili, cilantro, and lime juice in a serving bowl.
Another Kenyan holiday dish is matoke, which means green banana. The texture of this dish is similar to mashed potatoes, which serves as an exciting alternative for your holiday dinner. A perfect accompaniment to matoke is chapati, a flaky Kenyan flatbread that ties together the meal, making every bite enjoyable.
"This is the staple food for Kiisi people. This dish connects them with their people, since every homestead has it for breakfast and eat it every day. Anne thinks of her sister when she sees matoke. Anne's sister is married in Kiisi so when they go to visit her, they have it for breakfast every time." - Mike
- 3 green bananas/plantain
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Chop the green bananas into 1-2″ chunks and slice off the peels.
- Pour the lemon juice and water into the KettlePot. Add the bananas and bring the pot to a boil over the CampStove 2 until the bananas are soft and ready to be mashed. Once soft, drain and mash.
- In another pan, sautee the onion and garlic over oil, then add the dry spices.
- Add the peanut butter and stir continuously. To prevent the sauce from thickening too much, add some water while you’re mixing.
- Pour the sauce into the mashed matoke and mix.
Chapati is a staple in Kenyan homes and restaurants, and is a perfect complement to the matoke dish. Chapati is a flatbread that’s similar to pita, and makes any meal fun and heart-warming.
"Chapati was once associated with festivities and the rich. Now you see it everywhere and is no longer exclusive. It reminds people of home and of growing up eating chapati during special occasions. Everyone at my home used to fight over chapatis during dinner. There weren't enough so if you didn’t get any, you wouldn’t see them until next Christmas. Babies love it, too — when Mike’s daughter sees chapati, she runs for it and will come back over and over asking for more." - Anne
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- Add flour to a large bowl, add salt and mix.
- Add the water and keep mixing to starting forming a dough. Begin to knead the dough to create a soft consistency that’s not too sticky.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the dough and continue kneading until the oil is evenly spread. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Cut the dough into six pieces and form balls with them. Place them aside.
- Sprinkle flour onto a rolling board or flat working surface. Roll each ball using a rolling pin to a flattened circular shape.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over a CampStove 2 until it is hot.
- Pour a small amount of oil into the skillet and place a flattened dough onto it. Push the chapati around until the oil is evenly distributed onto it, and flip it over to distribute the oil on the other side.
- Cook for about a minute on each side until some browning on the chapati appears. Repeat the procedure for the remaining dough.
What dishes do you make that make you feel home for the holidays? Give us a shout over on Instagram using the hashtag #ThePowerOfHome and you might be featured in an upcoming Instagram story.