It’s time for Around the World in 12 Dishes, our culinary trip around the world. This month we have landed in Kenya, and I have to say we have had a fun time. My daughters came up with the recipe for this month’s food adventure. During the school year my eldest daughter’s teacher had each student bring in a recipe from their “home” culture. A friend of my daughter’s is from Kenya, and contributed this recipe for Swahili Pilau. The class even had a heritage food day and each brought in a sample of their dishes…my daughter loved this Kenyan rice and meat dish. So, when she heard that Kenya was going to be this month’s country we knew exactly what we would be cooking. The original recipe can be found at African Cook, we made a few modifications to fit the food we had on hand.
Swahili Pilau Recipe
2 chicken breasts
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 large onion sliced
12 grape tomatoes
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp pilau masala or garam masala
12 small potatoes, halved
1/4 cup coconut milk
1. Poach the diced chicken in 4 cups of water until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain and keep the liquid.
2. Saute the onions, in canola oil, until soft…add garlic and ginger…continue to cook down onions, about 5 minutes.
4. Return diced chicken to pan and add 3 cups of the reserved poaching liquid and bring to the boil…once boiled add the rice. Let the dish simmer until the rice is softened and the liquid has been absorbed. If the liquid is absorbed before the rice is cooked add the coconut milk.
This aromatic dish makes a perfect one pot meal. Traditionally this dish would be made using goat or mutten, however we substituted chicken and it worked just fine. The flavours and the way of cooking the food is reminiscent of a curry dish from India. My daughter said that her friend’s dish was a little bit better than mine…of course. That being said both my girls ate most of their food…I just can’t convince my little one to eat cooked onions.
Swahili Pilau Recipe
- 2 chicken breasts
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 large onion sliced
- 12 grape tomatoes
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp pilau masala or garam masala
- 12 small potatoes halved
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Poach the diced chicken in 4 cups of water until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain and keep the liquid.
- Saute the onions, in canola oil, until soft...add garlic and ginger...continue to cook down onions, about 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes and tomatoes...cook until potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes...sprinkle in pilau masala or garam masala...stir and cook another 3 minutes.
- Return diced chicken to pan and add 3 cups of the reserved poaching liquid and bring to the boil…once boiled add the rice. Let the dish simmer until the rice is softened and the liquid has been absorbed. If the liquid is absorbed before the rice is cooked add the coconut milk.
What did we learn about Kenya through making this dish? We learned that Kenyans know how to use their resources wisely. Saving and using the poaching liquid in the dish was a great idea. We could also see how this dish was absolutely packed with filling foods…potatoes and rice both in one dish! One bowlful was more than enough, this pot of food could be stretched to feed a lot of people. All in all, we really enjoyed learning about Kenya.
Now the fun begins. Have you ever been to Kenya? Do you enjoy cooking Kenyan cuisine? Share your stories with us on the Around the World in 12 Dishes Facebook page. Have you written a post about Kenyan cuisine or culture? Please link up your post, we would love to see how other people have been cooking around the world.
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