Pilau and Kachumbari

 

 

This rice dish isn’t found everywhere in Kenya, but if you happen to find it you need to try it. I would describe it as a fusion of Indian spice and fried rice. The flavor is what gives this dish its unique quality, and this spice blend is (or seems to be) the only Kenya-specific spice creation available to purchase. Found as pilau masala, it is a fusion of cumin, cloves, black pepper, cardamon, cinnamon. The dish, pilau, is made as a fragrant fried rice with bits of onions and tomatoes and beef, served with a side of kachumbari or greens.

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Kachumbari is essentially pico de gallo (chunky salsa). It is made with tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, a little oil, and cilantro, sometimes with hot peppers, served alongside many dishes as a garnish, or you can ask for it separately with your meal. It sounds easy enough to make but believe it or not some places just don’t produce good kachumbari. The secret is the daniya (cilantro), not enough makes the chopped tomatoes and onions simply that and very bland.

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