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Cooking Indo-Kenyan Cuisine.

Cooking Indo-Kenyan Cuisine.
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For the readers of Indians4africa, I present here a compilation of a few interesting recipes that are a combination of Indian and Kenyan flavours. Indians, mainly from the state of Gujarat and Punjab came to Kenya more than a century ago, and with them they brought not only their crops, plants and spices, but also their method of cooking.

Following are two recipes that have beautifully captured the local ingredients cooked in an Indian style resulting in a delicious culmination.




This is a combination of a sauce, lentil fritters, potato balls and coconut chutney.

Ingredients for zanzibar sauce: 4 cups water
6 tbsp bengal gram flour (besan) 1/4 cup unripe mangoes, finely chopped

2 tbsp fresh coconut, finely grated 1 tsp chilli paste
1/4 turmeric powder
,1 tsp salt or to taste

To make this sauce, mix water and gram flour with a whisk. Mix remaining ingredients and boil until it thickens or remains about 3 cups. Stir continuously and keep aside.

For lentil fritters:
1 cup black eyed bean lentils,
1 cup green gram lentils
,1/2 cup fresh fenugreek, finely chopped 1/2 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped 1/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped 1/2 cup spring onions, finely chopped
2 tsp chilli paste
.Salt and lemon juice to taste.
Oil for deep frying

Soak both lentils separately overnight. Wash lentils and remove and drain the water. Grind coarse by adding little water and make a thick batter.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Fry spoonful of batter to make small fritters until golden brown.

For Potato balls: 
These are balls made out of boiled potatoes coated with a thick gram flour batter (besan) and fried.


Ingredients for potato filling Ingredients for batter
500 gms potatoes, boiled and coarsely mashed 100 gms gram flour
1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
4 tbsp fresh coriander, 3 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chilli paste 1 tbsp hot oil
5 tsp lemon juice A pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp cinnamon-clove powder salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds 1 1/2 tsp sugar
A pinch of asafetida
1 1/2 tbsp oil
3 tsp sugar
salt to taste and oil for frying

Heat oil, add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add mashed potatoes and remaining ingredients for filling. Mix well, remove from heat. Make 20 balls. Mix all the ingredients for batter and make fairly thick batter using required water. Dip each ball in batter and fry until golden brown.

For coconut chutney, grind a coconut with a little water, corriander leaves, lemon juice, salt and a chopped green chilli until its comes to smooth paste.

Once the above things are ready, serve it as follows:

Serve Zanzibar mix in individual bowls. Half fill the bowl with Zanzibar sauce, add lentil fritters and potato balls. Add a handful of potato or cassava crisps. Top up with coconut chutney.



Mamri is a Kenyan version of what Indians call ʻpuriʼ. Its ingredients and shape, though, are slightly different. Mbaazi is a curry made out of pigeon peas with coconut milk. What ʻAalo Puriʼ is to Indians, ʻMamri Mbaaziʼ is to Kenyans.

Ingredients for Mamri: 2 cups plain flour
, 5 tbsp sugar
, 1 cup coconut milk,1 tsp cardamom, coarsely grounded

1 tsp dried yeast ,3 tbsp oil  for deep frying

Mix all ingredients with coconut milk to make a soft dough. Leave dough in a warm place for 4-5 hours to rise. Knead dough and roll out into 15 cm diameter of 1cm thickness. Cut into triangles, leave to rise and deep fry.

Ingredients for Mbaazi: For Seasoning:
500 gms pigeon peas soaked overnight 1/2 cup raw mangoes, grated
2 small onions, chopped 1 tbsp. ginger-chili paste
1 cup thick coconut milk 2-3 green chilies, chopped
1 tbsp oil A pinch of turmeric powder, salt to taste
Fresh coriander to garnish

Pressure cook beans with water and then drain. Heat oil and sauté onions until tender. Add all seasoning and cook for 3 minutes. Add beans and cook well. Add coconut milk and cook until sauce becomes thick. Serve with mamri.


Cooking Indo-Kenyan Cuisine.
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About Nidhee Datta

Nidhee Datta
Nidhee Datta, a graduate in Bachelors of Home Science, has been actively involved with her school and college magazines. She is an ardent reader and has been in Africa for more than a decade. She has been a part of organisations that promote Indian music and dance and has a keen interest in sharing the rich heritage of her country with people at large.

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