Posts Tagged With: kachumbari

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.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chispi Mayai (French Fry Omelette)

Tanzanian Entree

CHIPSI MAYAI
(French Fry Omelette)

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon fresh coriander*
1 small onion*
3 eggs
⅛ teaspoon pepper*
¼ teaspoon salt*
½ cup vegetable oil (½ tablespoon later)
2 pounds potatoes

SPECIAL UTENSIL

no-stick pan or spray pan or no-stick spray before adding egg mixture.
x-ray vision

* = These ingredients are all optional. You have an unparalleled opportunity to create you own unique chipsi mayai. Go for it. Go for gold.

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Dice coriander and onion. Add eggs to mixing bowl. Beat with whisk or fork until well blended. Add coriander, onion, pepper, and salt. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended.

Cut potatoes into French fries. Add ½ cup vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil at high heat until a tiny piece of French fry in the oil starts to dance. Carefully add French fries. (Hot oil is nasty when it splatters.) Fry French fries for 10 minutes until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Remove fries. Drain oil from pan. Add fries and ½ tablespoon oil to a second, unused pan.

Ladle coriander/onion/egg mixture evenly over fries. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium heat or until bottom side is golden brown. (X-ray vision is helpful here.) Spray plate with no-stick spray. Then place plate over pan. Hold plate on pan while flipping pan upside down. The half-cooked omelette will now be upside down. Slide omelette back into pan to cook the other side. Cook for another 3 minutes or until this side too is golden brown.

Goes well with kachumbari (an East African salad), ketchup, tomato sauce, or chili sauce.

TIDBITS

1) You wake up at 3 a.m. to whispering in the kitchen. You sit up in bed. As you do so, the bed frame creaks. The little voices fall quiet. Silence, there is silence. You lie down or perhaps lay down; this is a miserable verb to conjugate. Nervous little laughter emanates from the kitchen. Then more whispering. This time it’s a little more rapid. Does it have a nasty tone? Yes, yes, it does.

2) Post traumatic stress from watching all Friday 13th(TM) makes your heart race. You get out of bed, oh so carefully. Don’t make any noise. Tiptoe to the closet. Get that baseball bat. Go the kitchen. Turn on the light.

3) Dozens of russet potatoes shriek. Their eyes are on you. It’s uncanny how they don’t blink. Is it because of an evolutionary dead end or because they’re tough?

4) They’re wearing potato panty house over themselves. Oh my gosh, your potatoes are going bad. You raise the baseball bat.

5) A potato rolls with amazing speed and strikes your shin. Ow. Another spud rolls on top of that. And then another and another until one has shoved itself into your mouth. You can’t breathe. You drop your bat.

6) In your panic, your stagger to the kitchen-utensil drawer. Your hand flails as you grab for anything to fight off your rogue, murderous tubers.

7) As contrived luck would have it, you latch onto a potato peeler.

8) The potatoes gasp in horror, drop off you and roll to a corner. You julienne the whimpering spuds one by one into majestic, harmless French fries.

9) What to do with all those fries? Why, make this entree, Chipsi Mayai.

10) Indeed, culinary historians believe Chipsi Mayai came about, in Tanzania, because of repeated potato uprisings.

11) Indeed, it is for this very reason that it is illegal to have more than two pounds of potatoes in Tanzanian homes.

12) Don’t try to cheat and say you have two pounds of taters when you actually have three. The phrase “The Tanzanian Potato Police” is a byword for terror.

13) Look at the potatoes below. Are they about to go bad? Don’t take chances. Cook them now.

Chef Paul

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.

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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