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20 recipes every household should try this festive season

By EVELYNE MUSAMBI December 26th, 2014 10 min read

With the festive season upon us and most families getting together, here are a few meals that will make your Christmas memorable:

1.Homemade Mandazi
1kg Mandazi Flour/Self Raising Flour
6 tablespoons (tbsp) of Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1-2 teaspoons (tsp) of Cinnamon powder(optional)
1.    Mix the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a suitable bowl.
2.    In a separate bowl whisk the egg into the milk.
3.    Make a well at the centre of the flour and add the milk and egg mixture and slowly mix to form a dough.
4.    Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes or until it stops sticking to the sides of the bowl and you have a smooth surface.
5.    Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
6.    Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1cm thick piece.
7.    Using a sharp small knife, cut the dough into the desired size setting aside ready for deep frying.
8.    Heat your oil in a suitable pot and gently dip the mandazi pieces to cook until light brown on the first side then turn to cook on the second side.
9.    Serve them warm or cold

Home-made mandazi

2. Dry Fried Pork
Pork Ingredients:
1/2 kg Pork Leg Meat(choose one with some fat/skin) Cut into cubes.
1 Onion(Diced small)
Garlic/garlic Paste
1 Tomato(cut into small cubes)
Seasoning(Salt and Pepper)
1.    On a hot pan and with NO OIL, select and cook the pork with the skin on first. The idea is to ensure the skin part gets more time to cook to be edible. (If you are using skinless meat, add little oil).
2.    The pork fat will help in the browning of the meat. Add the skinless meat and cover the pan to allow the meat to cook.
3.    When all the juices have evaporated and the meat starts drying, add the onion and garlic.
4.    Allow for the meat to brown as you keep on stirring to prevent from sticking.
5.    Add the tomatoes and seasoning, stir and cover to allow the tomato to cook.
6.    Taste and correct the seasoning. The meat should be cooked by now. Avoid adding water during cooking but do so only to give the meat more cooking time.
7.    Just before turning off the heat, add the optional coriander then serve hot.
8.    The cooking time should not be long owing to the fact pork is not a tough meat so avoid overcooking it.
9.    Serve with Cinnamon Rice and Creamed Spinach

3. Pasta Primavera
Primavera, in Italian cooking, basically refers to cooking with a variety vegetables. This is a delicious dish that is good warm or cold as a salad. You can use any vegetable that is available such as courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, red/green/yellow peppers etc the trick is to balance the vegetables with the pasta so that you don’t have too much of one.
The dressing is what makes the flavours come alive and just take care not to put too much of it as it will just settle at the bottom of the bowl.
This recipe Serves 3
•    200g Dried Penne or any other short pasta
•    1/2 Red onion(Sliced)
•    Green Beans/French Beans(Cut small)
•    1 Carrots(cut julienne/thin strips)
•    1/2 Red/Green Peppers(cut julienne)
•    1/2 cup Sweetcorn(Optional)
•    1/2 cup Peas(Optional)
•    Any other vegetable(cut in small even pieces)
For the Vinaigrette
150 ml Olive Oil(or any other good oil, but NOT vegetable oil)
5 Tbsp Wine Vinegar(or any other good quality vinegar)
1 Tbsp Mustard
1 Garlic Clove(Finely Chopped)-optional
Salt & Pepper
1.    Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until cooked(check the pack for instructions). If serving the warm, don’t cool the pasta under running water.
2.    Steam/simmer the mixed vegetables in salty water until tender but still crisp. Take care not to overcook them by cooking the vegetables depending on how small/big you have cut them.
3.    Drain the vegetables and place in a large bowl while hot.
4.    For the Vinaigrette, mix all the ingredients in separate bowl with a fork/whisk.
5.    Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables, mix well, before adding the 1/2 the dressing into the mixture. Give it a good toss before serving WARM or placing in the fridge to serve it COLD!

Home-made Pizza
Home-made Pizza

4. Simple Home-made Pizza Recipe
To have a proper pizza it a culmination of different ingredients and flavours to come up with the final product which is loved by many.
For the Tomato sauce you need:
•    4 tomatoes(Blended)
•    1 tbsp tomato paste
•    1 medium onion(chopped)
•    2 garlic cloves(crushed and chopped)
•    Salt and pepper
You will also need:
Mozzarella Cheese
Thinly sliced Salami/ham or any other topping you like
Sliced vegetables of your choice like onion, tomatoes or peppers
1.    In a suitable pan, cook the onion and garlic until soft but do not let it brown.
2.    Add the blended tomatoes and seasoning to the onion then cook on a low heat until reduced and thick.
3.    If using chopped tomatoes, add little water and cook until the tomato has cooked and thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
4.    Allow to cool down completely.
For the Pizza Procedure:
1.    While the sauce cools down, grate the mozzarella cheese and set it aside.
2.    For the toppings, choose what you like most and the trick is to have it pre-cooked if using meat or chicken then allow to cool before using on the pizza .
3.    If using salami or any other ready to eat meat, it’s advisable to slice the meat thin so that it can cook fast.
4.    For the pizza base, you can buy(from supermarkets) the ready-made precooked pizza bread which is a good solution instead of making the dough from scratch. (Pizza dough making is very technical and may take time to master for a beginner).
5.    Pre-heat your oven to 250ºC with a baking tray on the inside to get hot as well. This helps cook the pizza bottom as the cheese cooks and melts.
6.    As it’s getting hot, spread a thin layer of the cooled tomato sauce on top of the bread.
7.    Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the pizza bread to your desired amount.
8.    Arrange whatever topping you have in an organized way then place the pizza into the hot oven and cook until it turns brown on the edges and bottom.
9.    Serve hot after diving into equal slices.

Chicken Biryani Recipe
Chicken Biryani Recipe

5.Chicken Biryani Recipe
This recipe serves 6
•    1kg Boneless Chicken(If using a whole chicken, cut it up into equal pieces so as to cook evenly)
•    500ml Mala/Yoghurt
•    2 Medium Onion(chopped fine)
•    4 Garlic cloves(chopped)
•    15gm Root Ginger(chopped)
•    4 tsp Curry Powder(you can add more if you need a deeper curry flavour).
•    Salt
1.    Place the cut up chicken in a bowl and pour about half the mala/yoghurt and let it sit for at-least 30 minutes. The idea is to soften the meat,however if you are using soft meat you can leave the Yoghurt for less time. The left over mala/yoghurt will be used to add to the food for more gravy.
2.    On a thick bottomed pot, cook the onion and ginger over a medium heat until it browns evenly while stirring constantly to avoid the onion burning from one side.
3.    Add the chopped garlic when the onion is slightly browned. Garlic cooks faster than the onion and ginger that is why we add the garlic later.
4.    Add the curry powder just before the onion is fully browned and stir to allow to cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat if too hot to avoid the onion from burning.
5.    Add the chicken in the yoghurt/mala to the pot and stir making sure the onion is fully mixed into the chicken, add the salt at this stage too. The heat should be medium.
6.    Allow to simmer while covered for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Add more yoghurt/mala to give it more liquid to cook in while occasionally stirring to avoid the chicken from sticking to the bottom. You can also add water to bulk up the sauce.
7.    To tell if the chicken is cooked, cut the biggest piece(if using bone in chicken) and if the liquid coming out is clear then the chicken is cooked.
8.    Taste and adjust the salt and turn off the heat. The sauce should be thick and rich when ready. If its too light(after adding water, cook until it reduces and thickens.
9.    To finish, in a separate pot, make layers of chicken and rice in alternating sequence
10.    Serve with Rice either on the side or mixed with Raita(yoghurt with cucumber) and Kachumbari
Chef Raphael’s Tip
•    You can use the same recipe with beef or lamb, just make sure when buying the meat, its not from the tough part of the animal.
•    When cooking beef biryani especially, you may need to consider using green papaya to tenderize the meat. Yoghurt/Mala also acts as a tenderizer as well as being the liquid in the food.
•    If you want the food to be extra spicy, add some chopped chili together with the curry powder so to cook into the sauce.

A dish of Matumbo served with ugali and vegetables
A dish of Matumbo served with ugali and vegetables

6.Quick Spicy Matumbo (Tripes)
When selecting what to buy, try find one that has been cleaned and looks fresh. Its however important to note that you also need to clean it further after you get home under running water. I suggest you buy a whole piece and it makes it easier to clean and when cooked and you can easily cut it up to desired shape and size.
½ kg Whole tripes (Washed)
1 Onion(Sliced/chopped)
3-4 Garlic cloves(Sliced)
Small piece Ginger(Chopped)
Mixed coloured Peppers-(Sliced)
2 Chopped Tomatoes(Optional)
2-3 tsp Curry Powder(you can use more/less according to your taste)

Cleaning and Pre-Cooking Tripes:
•    Check and remove the slimy green at the back of the piece while washing under water.
•    Make sure you clean till the water is clear.
•    Place the washed piece into a pan with cold water and bring the water to a boil and cook for 15 minutes without covering. This is meant to sterilize the piece.
•    Drain off the hot water then put fresh water and bring to a boil and cook the piece while covered for up to 3 hours or until it is soft to your liking. Keep adding water as it reduces while simmering.
•    To check if it’s done, cut a small piece and bite into it.
•    Allow to cool before cutting them.
Cooking procedure
1.    Cut the cooked tripes to your desired shape and size. I cut mine into stripes.
2.    Under medium heat, fry the onion and ginger in minimal oil(enough just to cook the onion)till it starts to slightly brown. Add the garlic at this stage and allow to cook. (I add the garlic last as it tends to brown faster than the onion and may burn before the onion browns, giving a undesirable bitter taste).
3.    Add the curry powder and stir into the onion for about 1-2 minutes while on low heat to avoid it from burning. Add the cut up tripes and stir into the onion and allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes. Keep the heat at medium while constantly stirring to avoid the onion mix from burning. Add a little water if it get too dry. If you have tomatoes, you can add them at this point and allow to cook and soften(optional).
4.    Add the cut peppers and stir as you allow them to cook by covering the pot. Cook for a further 4 minutes or your desired taste.Taste and adjust the seasoning and finish by adding chopped dhania(coriander) if you have some.
Chef Raphael’s Tip:
The secret to note when making tripes is to boil them till they are tender and when buying, look out for the pieces with lots of white part as they will be tougher to cook. Buy even looking pieces to make sure they cook evenly.


Creamed spinach served with beef
Creamed spinach served with beef

7.Creamed spinach
For the cream sauce
Butter about 50 gms
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 small onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of nutmeg
For the spinach
Spinach – enough for 4 people (hard to say quantity, I bought 3 bunches for Kshs. 10 each)
2 tablespoons butter
In a sauce pan start by making the white sauce. Melt the butter, do this on low heat.
Sprinkle over the plain flour and start whisking, I don’t have a whisk so I just used my handy dandy wooden spoon.
Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently till golden brown.
Add the onions and garlic.
Stir together and cook for another minute.
Finally add the milk whilst whisking.
Cook the sauce for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. It will start to thicken
Now, saute the spinach; In another sufuria, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the spinach.
Back to the sauce, season the sauce with salt and pepper and add the pinch of nutmeg.
Now spoon over the sauteed spinach stirring it in gently.
In case you find it a bit too creamy for your liking add more sauteed spinach.
Serve immediately.
For the fried bananas served with creamed spinach;
4 medium sized onions sliced
8 unripe bananas, peeled and washed
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Serves 3 people
Tip: When peeling the bananas, to avoid the sap from sticking onto your hands, you can either wear a polythene bag as gloves then peel or apply some vegetable oil on your hands. 🙂
In a sufuria, heat the vegetable oil then add the onions till translucent and not burned.
Once cooked add the bananas and coat with the onions. Cover for a few minutes to let the flavour of the onions infuse the bananas.
Add some little water to get the bananas cooking. As the bananas cook down the water will also evaporate.
Cover and let the bananas cook.
You will know the bananas are done when they flake easily when pierced by a fork.
Serve with creamed spinach and stew of choice.

8.Oatmeal cookies
3 eggs well beated – I only had two
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup mixed peel – my own addition
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
For the desired best results start by combining the eggs, raisins, mixed peel and vanilla essence and let it stand for one hour.
One hour later… Cream the margarine and sugar.
Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and mix well.
Blend in the eggs raisin mixture and oatmeal and mix well.
The dough will be stiff. Don’t be alarmed. Roll them into balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly.
Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly browned.
I used only half the dough. The rest I wrapped in some cling film then put it in the freezer. For the frozen cookie dough, always remove it about an hour before using to allow it to thaw.

Mashed potatoes served with vegetables and beef
Mashed potatoes served with vegetables and beef

9.Creamy mashed potatoes
Potatoes, peeled, washed and cubed
3 bay leaves
Cold Water
Margarine/ Butter – I used margarine
Salt and pepper to taste
Cube the potatoes so they cook faster and make the mashing process a bit easier.
In a sufuria add the potatoes, water and the bay leaves. Season with the salt and pepper.(The amount of water should almost be at the same level as the potatoes)
Cover and let the potatoes cook until they flake easily when pierced with a fork.
Once cooked, remove the bay leaves and drain the water.
To make the potatoes fluffy and creamy, add adding milk and butter/ margarine and mash them. (Ensure to add the milk in very small portions of about a tablespoon so as not to end up with potato soup)
After achieving the desired result taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Serve with preferred stew and veggies.

10.Fried Chicken stripes
2 boneless chicken breasts cut in strips
1 large red bell pepper sliced lengthwise then in half
Dried oregano leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cut the chicken into stripes. (The chicken strips are cut easily when the chicken is between frozen and thawed)
In a shallow pan or skillet heat the oil. Then throw in the chicken strips.
Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and some black pepper.
Then add the bell peppers and sprinkle over the oregano about a tablespoon will do.
Let the peppers cook down, as they cook the chicken will also brown up a bit.
Serve and enjoy.

To be continued…