Kachumbari (Kenyan Tomato Onion Salad)

Kenyan Appetizer

KACHUMBARI
(Tomato Onion Salad)

INGREDIENTS

½ cup fresh cilantro
1 medium red onion
4 tomatoes
½ cucumber
1 red chile
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 cup water
1 avocado
1½ tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Serves 4. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Dice cilantro, red onion, and tomatoes. Peel and dice cucumber. Seed and mince red chile. Add diced red onion and salt to small mixing bowl. Mix with hand until red-onion bits are well coated with salt. Add water. Let red onion soak for 10 minutes. Drain red onion.

Peel, seed, and dice avocado. Add all ingredients to large mixing bowl. Toss with fork until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) One of the most unsung trade routes of the Late Middle Ages, according to culinary, historians, was for Kenyan Kachumbari in exchange for Florentine wool. The Kenyans, or another name for Kenyans as historians had another name for the natives who lived then, prized Florentine wool.

2) For the Kenyans, made excellent KevlarTM type vests out of this most excellent wool. These vests proved impenetrable to all spears, arrows, swords, and knives. Kenya could never be conquered as long as it preserved the secret to making their vests. Unfortunately, in 1632, a kitchen maid, Machupa Mwangi, used the papers containing the secret vest formula to line her pie tins. These papers did not survive the baking. A few years later, Omani Arabs conquered Kenya. Kenya would not regain its independence for over 300 years. Bummer.

3) Florentine painters used Kachumbari to make vibrant landscapes. Unfortunately, these paintings had to be small as the ingredients of Kachumbari were quite perishable. (I don’t know how the Kenyan caravaners kept their avocados, which normally go bad in a few days, fresh on their months-long trek north. Modern scientists are eager to rediscover this lost art.) But one morning, Lorenzo Rotini, discovered paints could be made from minerals and plants. And they would last long enough to produce even the largest paints. The Renaissance began the very next day. Huzzah!

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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