Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diwali in Kenya

With lots of Patels and Mehtas in Kenya their influence have considerable economic influence and are a well-respected minority. They also celebrate the major Indian or Hindu festivals of the Hindu solar calendar.

They usually celebrate their festivals the same way India does. The significance, customs and belief related to the festival of light, therefore is almost same like that of India. Illumination, worshiping of God and Goddess of wealth and prosperity are some of the common practice. Diwali is also declared as a national holiday in Kenya.

Delicacies are:


The traditional Kenyan accompaniment to meats and stews.

2 Cups maizemeal or cornmeal or semolina
4 Cups of water
salt & pepper to taste
In large saucepan boil the water. Sprinkle maizemeal into boiling water, stirring. Cook porridge for 20 minutes until it is very thick and smooth. Stir continuously to keep the mixture from sticking or burning. Cover the pot and leave on a very low heat for 10-15 minutes to finish the cooking. Serve hot.

Vegetable Curry

2 large onions, finely chopped
2 tblsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds (the black kind, if possible)
8 medium potatoes, quartered
1 and 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, crushed
1 large garlic clove, minced and crushed
1 tblsp. ground cumin
1 tblsp. whole coriander, crushed
2 chili peppers or 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
4 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
4 oz. tomato paste
1/2 bowl. green beans
1/2 of a small cauliflower
1 medium eggplant
1/2 bowl. fresh green peas, shelled, or 1 small package of frozen green peas
1 bunch of fresh leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards, etc.), or 1 small package of frozen greens
1/2 cup dry chickpeas, cooked (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large, heavy skillet or pot, brown the onions in moderately hot oil along with the cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
Add the potato pieces (peeling is optional), and stir to coat each piece with the spices. Now add the remaining spices and continue to stir for several minutes.
Thin the tomato paste with about 2/3 cup of water. Stir into the pot. Add vegetables, one at a time, cooking for a minute or so between each addition, and put in the cooked chickpeas last.

If your pot is not oven proof, transfer mixture to one that is.

Cover with a lid or seal with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, checking after the first 20 minutes.

The consistency should be rather thick, but add liquid if necessary to prevent burning. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Serve over rice or with Chapatis

Khate Raho
Amrutha Langs

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