So I recently traveled to my rural home. Having been a minute without doing so gave me some kind of excitement and anxiety all at the same time. Excitement because for one, I was escaping the Kitengela dust for a few days. I don’t know what the anxiety was for but I think it’s a default setting in anyone about to embark on a journey that has uncertainties and certainties.
Mine is that rural home is where you have to wake up before the first Matatu hoot. Two Matatu hoots and you’ll be arriving together with the chickens at 6;45 pm or even see people using bushes as a toilet. I know our friends whose shagz (up country) are Thika and Muranga and I don’t know kinoo/ Embu are wondering what I’m blabbing about. But you’ll never just get it.
So we drive through Nairobi and cut across the Rift. Valley, everything is beautiful. The carrots at Molo make your mouth wet! There are lakes, and forests, the ambiance is generally amazing.
We finally get home and the welcome we get rivals the welcomes Our President gets at the Airport. We are ushered with hugs and the never-ending handshake. I’m told of how I have grown to be an adult. A lady comments on when she last saw me, that I was a very little baby chewing on my thumb (my passion for food started early, it seems). Everyone laughs unanimously and we are asked about our journey just as tea is being brought to the table. The smell of the tea was so distinctive, It felt like the right kind of tea and not the mathogothanio I’m supposed to. So it was tea and bread, even the bread in shagz is different, everything has a sense and smell of freshness.
As we all know in the Luhya tradition that it’s never food if it’s not Ugali right? The evening was here and the “ugali aroma” from the kitchen was hitting my senses of smell like it had abused its mother. It penetrated my nostrils down my throat straight to my “hunger sensors”. Being a Nairobian who loves food means I’m mostly exposed to the likes of Pizza and her relatives thus decreasing my respect for Ugali and his relatives. But this particular trip woke up the Luhya in me and my love for Ugali was resurrected. I honestly didn’t know I had this passion for ugali in me. I devoured the ugali like it was my last day on earth, I didn’t care about what my relatives though, all I knew is the ugali needed to be eaten.
Two weeks pass and I had obviously added some kg, we all know that saying when we see our grandmothers we know what is going to happen……
After a few days of travel, back to the city, I decide to cook ugali. I used Tanzanian maize flour, and ohh my senses! I was overwhelmed by the aromatic smell in the kitchen. Since I had ugali, I decided to make chicken but with plain yogurt.
Chicken with plain yogurt isn’t so hard to make, just make your chicken in the normal way but afterward just add your yogurt and let it boil.
Recipe for Chicken with Plain Yogurt.
1. 2 large, ripe and juicy tomatoes.
2. A teaspoon of tomato paste.
3. Half a cup of plain yogurt, I use ilara to be precise.
4. 1 large, green capsicum.
5. 1 large, white onion.
6. 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to taste.
7. 1 teaspoon of tandoori chicken spice.
8. Half a glass of water.
9. A spoonful of soy sauce.
10. A spoonful of apple vinegar.
11. Half a cup of tamarind juice.
12. 2 tablespoons of meat tenderizer
In a separate bowl, place the pieces of chicken and score the meat using a fork and pour the soy sauce, meat tenderizer, vinegar, salt, and the tamarind juice into it and cover the bowl for 30 minutes to an hour.
Chop the onion and capsicum and place it in a hot saucepan with oil and sweat them out for about 2 minutes and add the tomatoes.
Cover for about 3 minutes and let the tomatoes sweat out. Add your tomato paste, tandoori spice and salt to taste. Stir it up, and add your chicken and let it boil for few minutes ( 5 to 10 minutes). After boiling add your ilara yogurt and stir it. Let it boil for a few minutes and it shall be ready to be eaten.