Kenya cuisine


Since Kenya had a long-standing relationship with foreign settlers and its colonization by the British, cooking and presentation of Kenyan foods have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, and Europeans. Also before Kenya became an independent nation in the 1960s, tribes and communities lived and migrated around the entire eastern African region. For that reason, some recipes are common also to Uganda and Tanzania.


Another fact about the Kenya cuisine is that Kenya is made up of more than 40 different tribes, all with various histories and traditions; so Kenyan food is mainly traditional and nearly all of Kenya's tribes own a specific meal as their staple food.


Ugali is probably one of the most common foods in Kenya cuisine. It's a simple staple made from corn or maize flour and water. Depending on how it is being served, it can be thin like porridge or fairly stiff and doughy. Though it can be eaten with a spoon or fork, it's usually eaten by hand with meat or vegetables, like a bread. Similar dishes are known in the United States as polenta, or grits.

Sukuma Wiki

The name "Sukuma Wiki" actually translates to "stretch or push the week". It's a dish used to make meals last longer. A pan of kale or other local greens if fried with onion and tomato. Sometimes it's just all simmered together in some water.


Today, Githeri can be found all through Kenya but the dish was originally eaten by the Kikuyu tribe in the central regions of the country. It's basically corn and beans, usually boiled together. It's served like a stew, usually as a main dish in Kenya cuisine.


Another Kikuyu dish is Irio, made from corn and potatoes. Other greens and vegetables may be added, depending on the season. Everything is boiled and simmered together, and then mashed into a thick paste. It's typically a side dish, served with roasted or grilled meat (Nyama Choma)

Nyama Choma:

Not a specific dish, but rather a way of preparing meat in Kenya cuisine. Nyama Choma means grilled, broiled or BBQ'd meat. It can refer to any kind of meat, though its usually beef, lamb or goat. The famous Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi specializes in all kinds of grilled meats, including local game.


You can find Kachumbari served as either a condiment or a side-dish. There are many specific recipes, but the general dish is made up of shredded onion and cabbage, with tomatoes and peppers. The cold vegetables are tossed in a dressing of lemon juice and coriander. Kachumbari is a common side for Nyama Choma.


A sweet dish of fried dough is a popular breakfast food in many parts of Africa, including in Kenya cuisine. Mandaazi is also eaten as a dessert at other meals. It's a lot like a western style doughnut, though not usually covered with sugar or icing.