From the land of giraffes and zebras via several college hostels in India comes our guest chef . He kicks it off here with his first recipe; a crisp and fresh kachumbari salad reminiscent of his days as a young lad in Dar-es-Salaam.
Kachumbari – An East African Salad
Saturday mornings in Dar-es-Salaam were often a trip with my brother and father to Kariakoo market - a bustling food shopping experience. We spent time buying vegetables for the week, and milk in tetrapaks, to freeze. "Habari ya shamba" - how is the farm - was a common greeting to our sellers. Bursting with the flavors of summer (all year, in equatorial countries..) this simple dish brings back happy memories.
- Prep Time : 20-30 minutes
- Cook Time : - minutes
- Yield : 3-4 servings
- Cucumber - 2 - Seeded, sliced
- Tomato - 3- Ripe, chopped
- Finely Chopped green or white cabbage - 1 cup
- Carrot, grated - 1/4 cup
- Fresh Serrano Chiles diced - 2
- Chopped cilantro - 1/4 cup
- Lemon (Medium), sliced - 1
- Salt, pepper - To taste
- Cumin - 1/2 tsp
- Paprika - Splash for color
- Gingelly oil( til or sesame oil) - 3 tbsp
- Spring Onions - 3-4, chopped
Start with some fresh veggies, that are a time tested hit in many cultures.
- Cucumbers to core, seed and score the outside before cutting into half-moons. Beware of some versions of kachumbari recipes that don't have cucumbers in them by the way.. what do you think kachumbari (from kachumbar) means?
- Tomatoes, ripe. Pick your favorite. Chop them.
- Spring onions - for a milder kick. You could use red or white onions as more authentic, my Tanzanian friends like food with a bite. Some versions had garlic. I left it out here.
- Cole Slaw - You know that bit about cabbage and shredded carrots? Well, I cheated. Read my bio. In Tanzania at least kachumbari always featured cabbage.
Spicing - I added a few twists.
- Serrano chiles - I took down the heat a bit by seeding and ribbing them, so the kids would try these flavorful chopped wonders.
- Lemon - You'll need some wedges and some juice. Limes are good too.
- Cilantro - No such thing as too much, if you ask me. I chop it coarse.
- Spice mix - Salt, coarsely ground black pepper to taste, cumin seeds, paprika. Cumin seeds weren't always in kachumbari. Interestingly, I didn't see ginger either, though it could kick it up a notch.
- Dressing - sesame oil and lemon juice. I guess olive oil could work, but I like the dark sweet note sesame oil brings in here.
So I do remember seeing kachumbari served both pre-mixed, and in a make your own version like this - you could vary the ingredients as you liked.
Kachumbari is a salad popular through East Africa, served with many varieties of meals - from the staple ugalli (a polenta like mush) to nyama choma (a meat-heavy outdoor barbecue fest), with just kachumbari for vegetable respite, and even for breakfast. Here, I paired it with chapati and a dal bukhara with peas and carrots.
The Usual Suspects Spicing. The dressing is sesame oil and lemon juice. Self-Serve Kachumbari Station