Friday, July 19 –
I don’t think a dinner can get much easier than this one. MyBuddy and ChinUp made the simmered greens recipe, I made the rice recipe, BestestFianceEver helped to make the grilled beef, and WingWoman brought her sweet company.
For the rice I put the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, and sauteed onion into my rice cooker with the rice and water. Press the button and let it work its magic. For the beef I bought thin strips of steak (carne asada cut), sprinkled them fresh ground salt and pepper, and gave it to BestestFianceEver to grill. Done! Served up with the simmered greens and dinner was ready. Couldn’t have been easier.
The greens were tender and juicy, but didn’t have much flavor. But they went perfectly with the rice which did have a lot of flavor. And the meat was sometimes juicy and sometimes a little crispy, but still good all around. We ate until we were stuffed and it was a lovely night.
I forgot to mention that we made it passed the two year mark. WooHoo!
And I’m changing the timing of the dinners a little to be once every two weeks instead of every week. Life is just too hectic right now and it was too hard to maintain. Hopefully this will give me a little more wiggle room and I will start to enjoy them again. Thank you to all of my followers and potluckers, I wouldn’t have the heart to keep going without you.
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com)
Nyama Choma (Kenyan grilled meat)
- Goat or beef meat, cut into bite-sized chunks — 2 pounds
- Oil — 3 tablespoons
- Warm water — 2 cups
- Kosher or sea salt — 2 tablespoons
Prepare your grill and have it hot. Toss the meat with the oil, then thread it on skewers. Stir the salt into the warm water until it is fully dissolved.
Grill the skewered meat, basting it occasionally with the salt water, until it is cooked to your desired doneness.
Remove the meat from the skewers and serve with kachumbari salad and ugali.
Nyama Choma Variations
Meat: Goat is the meat of choice in Kenya, but beef will work just as well. Chunks of meat on skewers are easiest to grill, but whole legs or shoulders are often roasted until fork-tender. The cooked meat is then pulled off the bone with the fingers. Using short ribs, spare ribs and offal for nyama choma is common as well.
Seasonings: The only seasoning used for authentic nyama choma is salt and pepper, but if you prefer, you can first marinate your meat in a mixture of minced onions, minced garlic, ground ginger, hot pepper flakes and a little lemon juice.
Pulao (Indian aromatic rice pilaf)
- Basmati rice — 1 1/2 cups
- Oil or ghee — 2 tablespoons
- Cinnamon stick — 1
- Cardamom pods — 4-5
- Peppercorns — 4-6
- Whole cloves — 3-4
- Onion thinly sliced — 1
- Water or stock — 3 cups
- Salt and pepper — to taste
Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse in 3-4 changes of water until the water runs fairly clear. Fill the bowl with water to cover the rice by 1 inch and let soak for 20-60 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Heat the oil or ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the whole spices and stir until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds. Do not burn. Stir in the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the drained rice and stir until heated through and all the grains are coated with the oil or butter.
Stir in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, another 5-10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff rice with a fork and serve.
There are hundreds of variations of this basic dish. As long as you follow the basic method and proportion of about 2 measures of water to 1 measure rice, feel free to experiment. For larger batches, a proportion of 1 3/4 measures water to 1 measure of rice works better.
Common long-grain rice may be substituted if basmati is not available. The soaking step can then be eliminated.
None of the spices is by itself essential, so use what you have. You can also add a cuminseed, mustard seeds or a pinch of saffron.
Add 1 cup of chopped assorted vegetables with the stock or water if you like: peas, cauliflower, carrots, green beans.
Add a couple tablespoons of toasted almonds or cashews and some raisins with the stock or water for a Kashmiri-style pulao.
Sukuma Wiki (Kenyan greens simmered with tomatoes)
- Oil or fat — 3 tablespoons
- Onion, chopped or minced — 1
- Kale or collard greens, destemmed and finely chopped — 2 pounds
- Tomatoes, chopped — 2 cups
- Water or stock — 1 cup
- Salt and pepper — to taste
Heat the oil or fat over medium-high flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the greens in batches, sautéing each addition until wilted.
Add the tomatoes, water or stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until tender, from 20 to 30 minutes.
Adjust seasoning and serve with a little bit of the broth.
Add a chopped chili pepper or two with the onions if you like.
Some recipes call for thickening the dish with a flour-lemon juice mixture. Here’s how: mix 2 tablespoons of flour well with the juice of 1 lemon and a little water. Stir into the greens after they have been simmering for about 10 minutes. Continue simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes until the dish is slightly thickened.
If you like, add some leftover meat for more flavor. Kenyans would most likely use goat or beef.