Top Tasty Kenyan Desi Dishes that You Must Try

Taking you down a cultural food trip into exotic Kenya, DESIblitz uncovers some of the most tasty Kenyan Desi dishes that you might not find elsewhere!

Kenyan Asian Dishes

The cassava is desirably fluffy and forms a crunch on the outside with an underlay of softness inside

Kenya, a land in the heart of Africa, known for its diverse climate, exotic safaris and wildlife.

The beautiful country is also known for its exquisite coastal and aromatic cuisines.

Some of which stem from the South Asian community, where they have combined Kenyan and Asian flavours to unveil amazing dishes.

These dishes are perfect if you’re looking for a cultural cuisine that has a bit of a Desi touch.

DESIblitz presents the top 10 tasty Kenyan Desi dishes, which will leave your mouth watering.

Masala Chips

Masala Chips Image

Masala chips are a speciality in many parts of Kenya.

The crispy, delicate chips are smothered in a creamy, spicy, tomato sauce. And it’s that simple to devour!

These chips are not your regular dose of French or curly fries.

The aromatic flavours of Spanish paprika and tomato sauce blend with chilli to reveal a dish that is both tasty and satisfying.

Follow the recipe here.

Mogo ~ Crispy Cassava

Mogo Image

Mogo is a simple dish made out of fresh cassava. The cassava or mogo is boiled then deep fried until crunchy and darker in colour.

The cassava is desirably fluffy and forms a crunch on the outside with an underlay of softness inside.

It is garnished with salt, red chilli powder and lemon juice.

This dish is perfectly loaded with tasty, earthy flavours. Take a look at the recipe here.

Maru Bhajia

Maru Bhajia Image

The history behind Maru Bhajias is well-known in Kenya. A man by the name of Maru had a shop in Kenya, where he used to sell his own special recipe of Bhajias.

He soon moved to UK, and opened a shop in Wembley, London, to sell the bhajias!

And the chefs who worked for Maru recreated the bhajias around Kenya!

Coriander, gram flour and other ingredients combine well in the batter. This coats the sliced potatoes in crispy, refreshing savoury flavours.

Here is the special recipe.

Swahili Asian Pilau

Chicken Pilau Image

Pilau is an Indian rice dish that is considered to be very popular in Kenya.

The dish came into popularity during the time Indians migrated from India to Kenya, during the partition.

This Swahili Asian pilau is not exactly the same as your usual pilau.

Spices like clove and cardamom give the pilau its aromatic flavour. The dish retains a new, refreshing and moist texture, which may be different from pilau that you might have already had!

Here is the recipe for this tasty pilau.

 Keema Chapati

Kheema Chapati Image

This amazing and tasty dish is famous throughout Kenya and in India as well.

Pre-cooked, spicy mince-meat is sandwiched between soft flattened, roti dough.

It is then roasted on a tava, exactly like a roti is.

Keema chapati is a perfect blend of Kenyan and Asian flavours and can be served with a khatta tamarind sauce and fresh salad.

Go ahead and make this dish here.

Grilled Makai/Corn

Maize-Makai-Image
If you ever find yourself walking through the streets of Kenya, you are bound to find a vendor roasting fresh, green maize.

The corn or makai is roasted perfectly so that it becomes slightly charred on the outside.

This gives it a really crunchy texture. But, once you bite into the makai, you are welcomed by a smooth nutty texture.

It might be difficult to find fresh, green maize outside of Africa, so you can substitute with sweet corn.

Try this dish over here.

Kuku Paka ~ Coconut Chicken Curry

Kuku Paka Image

This dish masters the coastal African flavours of Kenya with tinges of Asian aromas.

Spices and coconut milk are infused with the chicken curry to create a fragrant and creamy meal.

After being cooked in this amazing Swahili coconut marinade, then the chicken will be super juicy!

You can’t go wrong with this dish! See how to make it here.

Poussin Chips

Poussin Chips Image

Poussin, for this dish, refers to the red, spicy flavours of the sauce used on the chips.

In contrast to masala chips, these chips are infused with a more tangy flavour.

The chips are fried and then coated in a splendid, red, tasty sauce.

You won’t get these anywhere else, try them here!

Mishkakki ~ Beef Shish Kebabs

Mishkaki Image

Mishkakki is a dish that is famous all over East Africa, but especially in the hot coast, Mombasa. And Asian restaurants serve this dish phenomenally.

It is made by marinating juicy beef in lemon juice, spices and salt.

The marinated meat is then grilled to perfection, giving the meat a smoky flavour.

Truly a dish for all meat lovers. Find out more about mishkakki here.

Matoke ~ Cooked Plantain

Matoke Plantain Image

This dish stems from the roots of Africa, and Asians have come to enjoy matoke as well.

It is made out of plantains, cooked in a creamy sauce and is rich in texture and flavour. It will leave you satisfied for hours.

Plantains help in weight loss and digestion, so they are really healthy too. Try making it yourself using the recipe below:

Ingredients:

  •  5 Raw Plantain (Matoke)
  • 2 medium ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1/4 Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • 150ml Water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Coriander

Method: 

  1.  Peel plantain and then slice them into 5mm thick round slices and soak in cold water.
  2.  Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
  3.  Slit and clean insides of both the chillies.
  4.  Heat oil in a pan.
  5.  Next, add cumin seeds.
  6.  Drain plantains and add to the pan.
  7.  Then add tomatoes, salt, pepper and chillies.
  8.  Mix and then add the water.
  9.  Boil at reduced heat, simmering for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  10.  Next, add lemon juice and stir.
  11.  Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander.

The divinity of these delicious foods takes you on a trip through Kenyan culture, with the fusion of Desi cuisine.

These dishes are perfect if you’re looking to try something new.

Or, if you simply feel like trying out different variants of recipes you might already know.

Hakuna Matata, ‘have no worries’ as they say in Kenya and relish these tasty Desi dishes!

Nisaa, originally from Kenya, is keenly enthusiastic to learn new cultures. She relishes various genres of writing, reading and applies creativity daily. Her motto: “Truth is my best arrow and courage my strongest bow.”

Images courtesy of talkingtonelly, fauziaskitchenfun, kaluhiskitchen



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