Sunday 31 January 2010

Vaghareli Kitchri


1 table spoon oil
1 leek; finely chopped
2 green chilies; split horizontally in two
1/2 tspn mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
2 tomatoes; skinned and chopped fine
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 inch ginger; grated
1/2 tspn tumeric
2 tspn coriander and cumin powder
2 cups leftover kitchri
1 cup water

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the mustard seeds, chillies and curry leaves, as soon as they splutter, add the chopped leeks (or onion).
2. Fry the leeks until golden brown, add the tomatoes and the garlic and ginger, cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the tumeric and the coriander/cumin powders, cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Add the kitchri and the water, mix well, turn down the heat, and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Serve with papad (papadoms)
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Leftovers Cuisine

We always cook more than we need; it is probably a habit from when we had more people in the house. However we never throw food away, if we can’t use it, we give it to the birds (or to Muni’s chickens these days).

Here are some examples of re-cooked food, almost always tastier than the original


Vagarela chowka / Rice

Egg Fried Rice


Kitchri Bhajia

Vagharela kitchri

Roast meat

Stuffed Paratha

Vegetables /Roast potatoes

Spanish Omelette

Chapatis / mani

Vaghareli mani

Sunday 24 January 2010

Kuku Paka / Chicken in Coconut Sauce

I recently had a request for Kuku Paka, it definately remains a favourite with the East African Asians.


  • 1 chicken; skinned cut in quarters
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 inch Ginger; minced
  • 3-4 Green chillies; crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Medium onion; chopped fine
  • 6 medium potatoes; peeled, and cut into quarters
  • 2 Tomatoes; blanched; peeled and chopped fine
  • ½ tspn turmeric
  • 400 mls of warm water
  • 1 400 gm tin of Coconut
  • Chopped Coriander for garnish


  1. Cut the chicken quarters into small pieces; (breast into 4, leg into 3) and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, salt and lemon juice, mix and marinate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
  3. Heat the oil, and fry the onions until golden, add the chicken and mix and cook for 10 minutes so that the chicken is sealed and then add the tomatoes, and mix.
  4. Add the potatoes and mix cook for another 5 minutes. add turmeric, cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the water and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut mix and let it simmer for 10 minutes
  7. Garnish with the coriander

Serve with rice or makate mimina

Traditionally boiled eggs are also included in this dish, if you want to you can include 4-6 boiled, shelled eggs, to be added at point 6. (when you add coconut). Makai Paka is similar, with sweetcorn instead of chicken and potatoes

Sunday 17 January 2010

Ringra, mutter ne bateta jo shaak / Spicy Aubergine, peas and potatoes

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2 medium onions; chopped fine
4-5 cloves garlic; minced
3 inch ginger; grated
4-5 green chillies; minced
1 400g tin peeled tomatoes; liquidised
2 large aubergines; cubed
2 large potatoes; cubed
1 cup peas
1 teaspn cumin seeds
1/2 tspn mustard seeds
2 heaped teaspns cumin/coriander powder
1/2 tspn turmeric
2 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin and mustard seeds. After they have popped add the onion and fry until golden brown.
2. Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chillies, decrease the heat and cook for 7-8 minutes, until it is like a thick sauce, then add the cumin, coriander and tumeric powders, and mix and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, mix so the potatoes are coated with the tomato sauce, cover and cook about 7-8 minutes. Then add the aubergines and peas mix.
4. Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes and the aubergine is cooked.
Serve with
bajra rotla, puris, or chapati

Thursday 7 January 2010

Bajra / Bajri jo Rotlo (using a press)

Recently Chachi aquired a mani / chapati press, composed of two formica blocks (see picture below), to test it we made mani and rotla. The mani / chapati was quite difficult to press, but the rotla turned out a treat.

3 cups millet flour
salt to taste
1 and 1/2 cups water
butter or Ghee to spread on the rotla

1. sieve the flour and salt, add water slowly to form a soft dough.
2. Divide the dough into 3-4 portions
4. Form a ball, place on the bottom half of the open press, close, press the handle down and voila you have a rotlo read to cook.
5. Place carefully on a medium hot tava (griddle) ensuring no bubbles are trapped underneath, turning it when it after a few minutes. Turn again a couple of times times until cooked, remove and spread some butter or ghee on it.
We ate it with ringra, mutter and bateta jo shak (aubergine, peas and potato in a tomato sauce). yummm!

Sunday 3 January 2010

Old Family Tales from Uganda

Recently I have been obsessed by my East African heritage, first trigger was the picture of Aga Khan Primary School, and then reading these wonderful blogs by:

Kalwant Ajima (East African Asians the new Wahindi)

Vali Jaffer (Viva! East Africa)

Sultan Somjee (Splendours of Dawn in my English Suitcase).

Reading these has triggered many memories from the recesses of my brain.

So I thought I would share them with you, here goes:

Chachi (my mum) was born in Bukandula, Mpigi, Buganda. My grandfather was a dukawalla and sold a wide array of commodities; sugar, salt, soap, kerosene, fabric, medicines. When I visited Bukandula, my mama (Chachi’s brother) ran the shop. In the veranda of the shop were two fundis (tailors) sewing gomezi / busuti for women and kanzu for men. Opposite the shop was the Jamat Khana which doubled as a school. Chachi attended that school, where she was taught by Ali Mohamed Master, the same teacher who taught me at Aga Khan Primary School in Kampala. He is still alive and well and attends North West Jamat Khana!

Ali Mohamed Master (Top line, 4th from the Left)

Of course, as there was no electricity in those days, kerosene lanterns were used for light, and the windows just had wooden shutters (no glass). In the backyard there was a huge water tank to collect rain water, and a cess pit toilet (ewww!). There was also a mapara (guava) tree in the backyard, which was home to colourful weaver birds, and there were hundreds of nests in this tree. There were also a lot of hens in the back yard, I remember running after tiny little chicks in the yard, with the clucking mother hen trying to protect her young.

At dusk, the sky was filled with hundreds of bats. The nights were very dark, and the eerie sounds of the distant drums used to scare me. The best sound was the sound of the African rain on the corrugated tin roof.

My mama used to have a Peugeot box body truck. My mama and mami used to sit in the front and we children would be in the back, where they had put a mattress, no seats! It was a bumpy ride and noisy, the tarpaulin cover of truck would rattle loudly in the wind. Sometimes we would to sing; row row row your boat! It brings back such an incongruous image. Mama used to come to Kampala to get the goods for his duka, and sometimes one or the other of us would go back with him. He always brought a stem of small yellow bananas, which tasted totally different to the bananas we get in this country, we used to call them membu or menvu.

The great thing about the Asians in Uganda at that time was they were pioneers. They built their homes in the middle of nowhere. Unlike Bhuj India, there were no shops to buy anything ready made, food or clothes, furniture etc. Everything had to be made. Women would cook everything from scratch from chevro to athanu (pickle) and papad (papadom). That was why Chachi and women like her were expert cooks. In Kampala my Ma (my aunt actually – don’t ask) had a jhundher that comprised of two mill stones on top of each other. The bottom stone was fixed, the top could rotate, so that when it was spun it would grind everything in between the two stones. This was used to make flour as well as various dals. Ma was also an expert in making athanu – gunda, gor kerri, limu etc. Ma got married when she was thirteen, (she was born in Tanzania) I don’t know where she learnt her skills, but she was the person who taught chachi how to make athanu.

Our kitchen in Kampala had a built-in charcoal stove, chachi used to sit on a low stool (patlo) and make Mani (chapatti) for us. The aroma was so enticing, Malek (my cousin and 2 years younger than Chachi) used to sprinkle sugar on the hot chapattis before giving to us to eat. Kerosene primus was also used for cooking.

The khoja cuisine had to adapt to local vegetables and fruit, such as mogo and matoke. So we loved matoke in peanut sauce, or matoke and bijanjaalo, Fried mogo (dejays style) was a real treat. Local farmers would bring round various vegetables round the neighbourhood, they would scream out whatever they were selling, for example: Mboga (vegetables), Nyana (tomatoes), Bbiringanya (aubergines), Bijanjaalo (beans). Or Chachi or Ma would shout “Lasse ki?” and they would answer with a stream of vegetables they were selling.

I am amazed I have been able to remember so much………. More soon.

Saturday 2 January 2010

Ondhwo / Hondwo / Savoury Vegetable Cake

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup soji/semolina
1 cup yogurt
1 cup hot water
6 cloves of garlic; smashed
2 inches ginger; grated
2-4 chillies; finely chopped (or to taste)
4 cups of chopped vegetabes
salt to taste
I used
  1. one medium carrot; diced
  2. one courgette / zuchini; grated
  3. 3 leaves of cabbage; shreded
  4. one small potato; grated
  5. one small onion; chopped fine
  6. handful of fresh shelled or frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1/2 cup oil
2 table spoon sesame seeds
2 table spoon melon seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
7 curry leaves
2 tspn Eno Fruit Salts ( a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and sodium carbonate)

1. Mix the flours, add garlic, ginger and chillies,add yogurt and water; mix and leave overnight or at least 2 hoursPublish Post
2. Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade (375 degrees Fahrenheit), add all the vegetables and the chopped coriander to the flour mix and stir well.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the sesame seeds, melon seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and the curry leaves, let them splutter. Add to the flour and veg mix. Stir well. Add the Eno salt, mix well and place in a 9 inch tin.
4. Put in the oven for 35 minutes. Let it cool and turn in out. Taste even better the next day.

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