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Kuku Paka + Irio #EattheWorld


I just adore the #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge. It's always fun to travel to a country vicariously through their cuisine.


In February  we kicked off the project with Cuba; in March we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a tabletop trip to Ireland! Thailand was our April destination. And this month has us headed to Kenya.

The Kenyan Feast
Kuku Paka
Typically, this dish has a coconut milk sauce that sounds amazing. But I opened the can of coconut milk and promptly spilled it on the floor...and, given our crazy schedule, I had waited until the last possible night to make the dish. So, we went without. Next time!

Ingredients serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs (I used boneless and skinless)
  • 3  small tomatoes
  • 1  organic white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1" knob ginger, peeled
  • 2  garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 hot chile or pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 2  t ground cumin
  • 1  t ground coriander

Procedure
In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, chile, salt, cumin, and coriander. Process until a rough paste forms. Rub 1 cup of the mixture all over the chicken, and let chicken marinate, in the refrigerator, for at least one hour.

Prepare and light a charcoal grill or heat a grill pan. Grill the marinated chicken, until the outside is browned and the meat is cooked through. Serve with rice or flatbread. I opted to serve it with Irio.

Irio


Irio [eer-ee-o], noun: In the Kenyan tribal language Kikuyu, irio just means food. But it usually refers to a simple dish of mashed potatoes with maize, peas, or greens.

Originally a dish of the Kikuyu people, irio is a hearty, nutritious accompaniment. It has many variations, but potatoes and peas are the staple ingredients with corn being the most common addition. Irio is often paired with grilled steak in a dish known as as nyama na irio. Other variations include using lima beans or sauteed greens. Sometimes dried peas are used instead of fresh.

Ingredients

  • 2 C fresh shelled peas
  • 1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • water, to cover
  • pinch of salt + more for serving
  • 2 to 3 T butter
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Procedure
Place the peas and potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Stir in the salt and place over a medium-high flame. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.


Mash the potatoes and peas together with a potato masher. Add in the butter and continue to mash until you have the texture you want. Add in a little of the reserved cooking liquid if the mixture gets too dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Comments

  1. That looks so delicious, my kids and I love irio.

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    Replies
    1. It was delicious and I love the possible variations.

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  2. I'm happy that there is no coconut milk included. That means it can go on my menu.

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    Replies
    1. That's great! Can't wait to hear what you think. The chicken was so tasty.

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  3. Irio is my favorite part of the dish! (I'm vegetarian ;-) ) This meal looks and sounds so tasty, and simple to make, which is a plus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super simple! It was needed...our schedules have been ridiculously crazy.

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  4. Sorry about the coconut milk! I’ve been there. Looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right?!? I'll have to do it again soon.

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  5. Sounds so good, even without the coconut milk (oh no for the mess). So happy to feel your enthousiasm!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for starting this event, Evelyne. It's so much fun.

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  6. There's something so comforting about a big heap of mashed potatoes - I love the addition of corn and peas. I could definitely go for that! Your chicken dish sounds delicious even without the coconut milk, but I imagine it would be even more luscious with it!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Margaret. I can't wait to try it again with the coconut milk this time.

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