Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chapatis & Sukuma Wiki

One of my favorite food memories is chapatis and sukuma wiki...

I remember so many times, in the heat of the desert day, when ever we were in Lodwar, we would go out for chapatis, sukuma wiki, and a kubwa coca cola baridi sana (large coke cold very). It is some of the simplest food, shared all across Kenya, yet it is one of the most delicious meals I've ever had. It represents home and happiness to me. How I dearly miss my home in Turkana. So in a nastolgic mood, I was compelled to make this meal for dinner tonight.

This is my (and my mom's) take on the Kenyan meal of chapatis and sukuma wiki. Sukuma wiki is usually flavored with Royco Mchuzi mix, which as far as we can tell is bullion cubes mixed with other spices, so we did the same. Bullion cubes, corriander, cumin, and turmeric, tastes perfect. Sukuma wiki also needs to be made with what is known in America as collard greens, in Swahili, obviously, sukuma wiki.

As for chapatis, they are originally a whole wheat flat bread made in India. However, over the course of time, and with the advent of the spice trade in the middle ages, Kenya, being a coastal country, came into contact with such spice trading sea-farers. And so Kenyan cuisine reflects alot of Indian, and even Middle Eastern influences. And over time, Kenyan's adopted the chapati to be their national flat bread, served all over the country. The recipe I have here is one of the many, many, many, variations of the chapati recipe. Every region, family, tribe might make chapatis in a slightly different manner. I use a dough for mine, where I have met a man from a different tribe who claimed that he and his family prefered chapatis made from a batter. Well either way, I have never been disappointed by a chapati in Kenya.


Sift together in a bowl:

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups white flour
1 tsp salt

Cut in to make a crumbly mixture:

½ cup shortening

Add to make a dough (add the water gradually, you don’t want a soggy mess):

1 cup water

Allow dough to rest for 20 min, covered with plastic wrap. Then divide dough into 12 equal portions, and roll into snake coils.

Allow dough to rest covered for another 20 min. Roll snake coils out into flat rounds, be sure to use additional flour so dough does not stick to surface or rolling pin.

Heat a cast iron skillet till hot. Dry fry each chapati till cooked. You are looking for brown & black spots to appear, however you don't want to burn it not do you want to dry it out to a crisp. This should be a nice and pliable flat bread.

Brush each chapati with butter, place in a dish and cover with foil. Wrap dish with a clean dish towel to keep warm. Serve chapatis warm. In the event that you have left overs, you can store the chapatis in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When you reheat them, you can either put the bag of chapatis in the microwave (with the bag open to vent), or you can heat them in your oven or toaster oven.

Sukuma Wiki

Fry in a large pan:

1 large onion, sliced thin
3 Tbl shortening

Add and fry for 2 minute or so:

3 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 bullion cubes
2 Tbl cumin
2 Tbl coriander
1 Tbl turmeric


2 large bunches of collard greens, chopped into strips

Stir, and then add:

1 cup water

Simmer and cook uncovered until the greens are tender.


Pooja said...

Hi ,
dropping by here for the first time
. nice picture oof chapati and its making process.
i liked Sukuma wiki too .
thanks for sharing

Susan in Italy said...

You may say this is simple but it looks impressive and delicious. And I LOVE the large Coke cold very. Funny!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the recipe for ad-hoc Mchuzi Mix! I, too, grew up in Kenya (in Kitale) and have been craving sukuma wiki and ugali lately... I'm making some for a work get-together and am looking forward to trying your version (since I haven't seen Mchuzi in years!). Thanks!

Andy said...

This is brilliant. I came back from Kenya a month ago and I've been craving sukuma wiki and chapatis since then. I brought back two tubs if mchuzi mix but I didn't have a recipe, and the other recipes I found online were clearly missing steps and ingredients.

Thanks for being so detailed.

Ms. D said...

i will be making this tonight. just returned from my first trip to Kenya. said...

you have an excellent blog here for accurate Kenyan food- awesome... I have shared this link with many of my friends asking me about the food. Your pics are so right on the money of how I was taught to prepare the food. was not sure if it was shared elsewhere but Sukuma Wiki literally means to push the food for the week until one earns more money. Sukuma=to push and wiki=week as in days of the week. This is such a cheap staple food for many trying to make ends meet week to week or even day to day in Kenya and throughout East Africa. very cool blog and thanks.

personally if going for the soda I like the Stoney Baridi- a ginger type soda that is great.

Nestra said...

Wow, thanks for the run down on your version of Royco mchuzi mix. I have been looking for it since I moved back from Kenya ten plus years ago since it is the seasoning for so many delicous Kenyan dishes, but have never come up with anything that compares. I am going to try this sukuma wiki recipe this weekend. My tummy is all a-rumble just thinking of it!

Andra said...

I'm looking for an alternate to Royco, as we are having guests that one doesn't eat cilatro (aka coriander). I just wanted to let you know the ingredients from the Royco bottle, as you seem to short on a few things (although it probably makes it a lot easier to prepare, and if it tastes as good, then don't bother). But Royco Mchuzi Mix has in it the following: cornstarch, salt, sugar, coriander, flavour enhancers (I'm guessing that is the beef flavor), turmeric, ginger, garlic, fennel seeds, cumin, methee seeds (aka fenugreek), and cinnamon. So you might want to add a few things for a more authentic taste (assuming that the bullion cube doesn't have those extra spices).

Emily said...

I tried to recreate the Mchuzi mix according to Royco's ingredient list (to escape the "Flavor enhancers" that most probably equal MSG), but it's hard to know how much of each spice to include. I did equal parts of everything and it ended up tasting much too strongly of cumin. I would appreciate any tips as I am dying to succeed at this!

nrbian said...

i see people missing kenya n coke i can dhl u guys what u need.
was googling to see if i can make a bachelors sukuma wiki more interesting.
unfortunately i dont kno what the likes of tumeric and corriander are.this is hard work.i must be straight from mars using express shuttle.

Not for Profits said...

I love your food blog and will make some good things for my wife from Kenya.