Best Safari Food… and Recipes!

By Jane Pinto February 10, 1980

During our 52 years of welcoming Micato travellers to Africa the most common question Felix and I get is, “What’s your favourite African food?”

The answer? Whatever comes out of my kitchen!

(This conversation takes place in our home, of course, where all of Micato’s East Africa-bound guests are invited to dine with us.)

Beyond my affection for such home-cooked family favourites as vegetarian samosas, Goan coconut curry, Banoffee pie, crispy potatoes and fried sweet bananas, there are many more treats to try while on safari with us. To name a few:

Nyama Choma. As fun to say as it is to eat, this is a term for well marinated, succulent meats from the nearby highland ranches. Nyama Choma is often the meal of choice when one celebrates a very special occasion, like going on safari!

Sukuma Wiki. Made from simmered kale, tomatoes and whatever organic vegetables are in season. This beloved dish may also include whatever ingredients remain in the pantry be week’s end, hence this dish’s literal meaning, “end of the week.” One of my personal favourites, and healthy to boot.

Ugali. A popular, some might say essential side dish is a helping of this corn porridge that holds its shape and is thus often a finger food. Bland to some, but for East Africans (and me!) this maize is amazing.

Mukimo. Even if soft foods aren’t your thing, you may just take a shine to these mashed potatoes and vegetables that Kenyans would rather not do without in their diet.

Samosas. Most of us know samosas, of course, in Africa an extremely popular street food, restaurant item and home-cooked snack. Meat and vegetarian versions of these can be easily found with a variety of fillings.

Mogo Crisps. Mixing sweet and savoury may seem trendy but Kenyans have been doing it for ages. Crisp up cassava slices in the fryer, sprinkle them with chili pepper, and you’ve got yourself classic street food!

Mandazi. Another popular street food that you can sample on the fly, a mandazi is basically an African donut that’s something of a requirement with morning coffee and tea.

 Madafu. Quite simply, coconut milk right out of the coconut. Another staple you can find everywhere in Kenya.

My recipe vault unlocked…

Sorry, I simply refuse to part with my Goan cocunut curry recipe…

… but I would be more than happy to share my favourite preparations of potato bhajias and fried bananas. And, as a bonus, some directions for how to mix a Pimm’s Cup… because it must be done properly!

Enjoy, friends!

Image credits: Top: Nyama Choma and Sukuma Wiki by Xiaojun Deng/flickr; Middle: Samosas by Talisman Restaurant/flickr; Second from bottom: Madafu by Kungu Irungu/Wikimedia Commons; Bottom: Goan coconut curry/Shutterstock.

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