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Thursday, 24 July 2014

How to Make Kenyan Mandazi

Since mandazis are very popular in Kenya and one reader requested that I share a recipe for making them, here is a simple version which makes very tasty snacks.

The mandazis are great in the morning for breakfast or at any time of the day. They are normally served with a cup of hot tea or any beverage of choice. Mixing and kneading does not take long and it requires few ingredients.

  • 4 cups of wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons margarine/butter
  • 5 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 cup of water/milk

  1. Put the black pepper in a small mortar and pound till roughly grounded.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Use a spoon to add the margarine/butter to the flour mixture and mix well using your fingers. Take some amount of the margarine and run it through the flour mixing the two with your fingers. Do this until all the flour has been mixed with the margarine.
  4. Pour in the milk/water into the flour bowl and mix. Knead the dough to a smooth consistency.
  5. Let it stand for about thirty minutes then divide the dough into four smaller portions.
  6. Add oil to a deep frying pan and bring the oil to high heat.
  7. In the meantime apply some flour on a rolling board or flat surface, then using a rolling pin roll out the first dough to a circular shape.
  8. Cut the dough into four equal pieces as shown below.

9.   Once the oil is quite hot, carefully drop each piece into the pan. Notice as it immediately starts browning on the first side and after two minutes turn it over to cook the other side. Depending on the size of your deep frying pan, you can cook four or more mandazis at the same time.
10. Once both sides are browned, remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
11. Serve.

The above images show one circular dough being divided into four equal pieces. However, you may cut the dough into smaller pieces  and cook them together depending on the size of the pan.
The black pepper gives the mandazis a nice flavour. 
Since this recipe takes less than an hour to prepare and cook, these mandazis can be made early in the morning before breakfast and served with a cup of tea, milk or a glass of fresh fruit juice.
They can also be carried by the kids to school as a morning snack, or to the office.

Make yourself these delicious mandazis and please let me know how it went in the comments below.

Friday, 6 June 2014

10 Amazing Reasons Why Coconut Oil Is Good for Your Health

Coconut And Coconut Oil Royalty Free Stock Photography - 21262607
Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Coconuts and coconut oil have been used by many people the world over for many years due to their numerous health benefits. They are especially popular in tropical areas where the coconut trees flourish. A number of studies have been conducted to research on their nutritional properties with positive results. 

Coconut oil is extracted from the white fleshy part of the mature coconut fruit. It can be used in cooking and other purposes. The white fleshy part is pressed either manually or mechanically to extract coconut oil. 

The following are ten reasons why coconut oil is good for your health:
1. It aids in the digestion process and the proper functioning of the bowel system. This is because coconut oil contains saturated fatty acids which help in killing bacteria and fungi present in the stomach which inhibit digestion. This also helps in preventing constipation. 

2. It helps in preventing obesity and overweight related complications because the saturated fatty acids are easily converted by the liver into energy and not into fat deposits like other oils. It is the accumulated fat deposits which normally lead to obesity. 

3. The conversion of fats into energy increases the rate of metabolism and cell regeneration. Cell regeneration refers to the formation of new body cells to replace old and worn out cells. 

4. Coconut oil helps in the normal functioning of the heart. It contains safe saturated fatty acids which unlike other oils do not clog the heart and have low cholesterol levels. This ensures that the heart functions properly and can pump blood to the rest of the body without being overworked.

5. It helps in the assimilation of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and amino acids into the body which help in protecting the body against harmful bacteria and strengthening bones.

6. It helps in improving the functioning of the immune system. This is because coconut oil is composed of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antibacterial and antiviral properties. This helps in fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses which cause diseases like herpes, influenza, measles and hepatitis. 

7. Since the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil are easily converted into energy, this speeds up the functioning of the liver thereby reducing its workload and preventing diseases associated with the liver.

8. Coconut oil improves the secretion of insulin which is important in the regulation of the amount of glucose in the blood. It is very useful to patients suffering from diabetes. Coconut oil therefore aids in reducing the likelihood of being diagnosed with the disease.

9. Coconut oil is used in treating both internal and external infections. It has antibacterial properties that help in faster healing of skin infections, cuts and bruises as well as throat and urinary tract infections. It also helps in the repair of damages cells.

10. Coconut oil is used in preventing wrinkles and sagging of the skin. It can be applied to the entire body in place of a body lotion. It supports the natural chemical balance of the skin and makes it soft and reduces flaking.

In conclusion, coconut oil is very nutritious and provides many health benefits. Many nutritionists and health experts recommend the use of this oil for cooking, as a salad dressing and as medicine for treating various ailments.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

How to Cook the Best Muthokoi

Muthokoi is very popular among the Akamba tribe. It refers to:
           a) Dry maize whose husks have been removed
           b) A cooked mixture of this maize with peas/beans

Making muthokoi takes a few hours and the process starts by boiling the maize with the peas/beans. It is then cooked with vegetables like onions, potatoes, cabbages,  cowpeas leaves or pumpkin leaves; the choice is yours.

In this recipe, we will be cooking muthokoi with the following items:

Ingredients (Serves 3)

  • 1 cup muthokoi (dry maize with husks removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry pigeon peas
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
The maize and peas can be soaked for two hours to soften them and make cooking easier. After soaking the water is discarded and clean water poured into a saucepan where they are boiled for about one and half hours.

Equally, they can be boiled for about three hours. Add water continously if it dries up. Once fully cooked, the muthokoi is drained with the water being poured away. If the water is not thrown away it could make the food go bad and have a foul smell.

  1. Boil the muthokoi and peas, adding water continously until cooked.
  2. Once the excess water has been drained, saute the onion in another large saucepan.
  3. Add the crushed garlic and once a delicious aroma fills the air, add the carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.
  4. Cook until the potatoes are almost done.
  5. Add salt, royco and a little water and bring to a boil.
  6. Pour the boiled muthokoi into the vegetables and cook for about ten minutes.
  7. Serve
Muthokoi can also be cooked with cowpeas, green/fresh pigeon peas or any variety of beans.

If you decide to use green peas/beans, make sure that you cook the muthokoi (dry maize) for about thirty minutes before adding the beans/peas. This will ensure that the beans/peas do not become too cooked or mushy since they cook faster than dry maize.