The Kenya African traditional foods are as diverse and interesting as the forty-two tribes in Kenya. There is one food that cuts across all the varieties of the Kenya traditional foods and that is ‘ugali’. It is a stiff, starchy mixture of maize flour or sorghum flour and boiling water, mostly served with vegetables, meat, chicken or fish. ‘Ugali’ served with roast goat meat, ‘nyama choma’ is a popular dish in Kenya.
Kenyan African Traditional Foods
Most communities practice agriculture, hence the easy availability of the Kenya traditional foods as fresh produce. The Akamba from Eastern Province, refer to their staple food as ‘isiyo’ or ‘muthokoi’( a mixture of maize and beans or peas). The husk of the maize is removed so that it remains very soft once boiled with beans.
This mixture, ‘githeri’, is also one of the main Kenya traditional foods popular among the Kikuyu of Central Kenya. The only difference is that the husks from the maize are not removed. They also mix maize, peas and pumpkin leaves boiled together then mashed with potatoes. This dish is known as ‘mukimo’ or ‘irio’.
The beauty of these Kenya traditional foods is that they are consumed across the country, therefore, it is not strange find a traditional coastal dish being served on the dinner table of a family from Western Kenya. These Kenya traditional foods unite us a nation.
You can not ignore the spicy aroma of ‘pilau’ which is one of the trademarks of the Kenya traditional foods. This dish is a blend of spiced rice mixed with beef, chicken or goat meat. It is originally from the Swahili people at the Coast, but today it is enjoyed by every Kenyan family. A celebration is not complete without a serving of ‘pilau’ served with salsa known as ‘kachumbari’.
As you move from the coast and travel inland to the Rift Valley, you will find yourself in the bread basket of Kenya. You will also find that the Kenya traditional foods are not limited to solids only! Here, the Kalenjin, who are known for their athletic prowess, welcome you with a glass of ‘mursik’. This is fermented milk which is stored in a gourd that has been treated with a burning stick resulting with the milk being infused with fine particles of charcoal.
If you thought that you have had your fill of the Kenya traditional foods, then think twice as you have not sampled ‘saget’ (traditional bitter vegetables) grown in Kisii. The vegetables are first boiled, then milk is added to ‘sweeten’ them and served with ‘ugali’.
In the old times the Kenya traditional foods were mainly boiled, roasted or sun dried, but not fried in oil. This was how Kenya traditional foods were preserved.
If you would like to eat something else then you can have cooked green bananas ‘matoke’ with fresh ‘enyama’ (beef stew) and fermented milk. Isn’t your plate just too full already sampling from these Kenya traditional foods from different regions of this beautiful nation. Bon Appetit!