Kenyan Recipes: Pilau + Kachumbari

Pilau is a spiced rice dish that is found all along the Swahili coast of Africa. Often it is made with shredded chicken or bits of beef, but this version is vegetarian. It is a dish that is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine, and it tastes great alongside another Kenyan specialty: kachumbari. Kachumbari is basically the African version of pico de gallo, except you make it a bit spicier and the chiles are of a different variety (unknown to me) that is not jalapeño.

2012-07-18 at 06-37-13

Here in Nairobi, you can find the pilau spice mixture at practically any grocery store or market, but you can make it at home as well. A standard recipe is here.

Also, here are a few pictures from our little trip to the suburb of Karen to visit the elephant orphanage and giraffe sanctuary last weekend.

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2012-07-12 at 16-03-55

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check out those eyelashes!

2012-07-12 at 17-28-27
this guy is such a douche
2012-07-12 at 17-28-06
that tongue – wow!

2012-07-12 at 17-17-05

Pilau 

1 cups basmati or jasmine rice (I used brown basmati rice)
1 medium red onion, diced

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil
1 1/2 tablespoon pilau masala

salt and pepper

Cook the rice per package directions.

In a large pan, sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger in oil. Once the onions are transparent, add the pilau masala and stir around until fragrant. Add the cooked rice and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional two minutes or so, until the rice is warmed and the ingredients are mixed well.

Serve with kachumbari on the side (recipe below).

Kachumbari

3 large tomatoes (the variety I find in Nairobi is similar to a roma tomato, so that is what I use), diced
1/2 medium red onion
2 small hot chiles (serrano would work well), minced
1 clove raw garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of lemon juice, lime juice, or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together well and refrigerate.

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Comments

  1. I love this food. My husband is Kenyan and from the Jibana group. I was so lucky to have his family teach me to make these! Kibera is so sad. My husband grew up in Langata…walking distance from Kibera but worlds apart. I am happy you are doing what you are doing and I hope some improvements can be made!

  2. Thanks Katie for your kind words. You are definitely lucky to have been taught these great Kenyan recipes! Kibera is a sad story, but I am also so inspired by the resilient people who live there. Change will come one small project at time, hopefully 🙂

  3. Sophie loves the elephant feeding himself a bottle!

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