By religion, Muslim Swahilis are prohibited from eating pork or drinking alcohol. The Swahili’s staple food is of Arabic descent, so most of their cooking is rich in spices. Popular Swahili cuisine includes pilau and wali (rice cooked in coconut milk) served with a thick meat stew or fish.
A classic favorite among Swahilis is the Rice Pilau (Rice Pilaf) dish, which we found a recipe for via KenyaCentral.com.
Ingredients (6 servings)
1 lb goat, mutton or beef cubes
4 garlic cloves
9 cardamom pods
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups rice
10 whole black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ cup cumin seed powder
4 small tomatoes
6 cups water
Boil the meat in salted water until tender. Crush the garlic and cardamom together with 2 tbsp water using a mortar and pestle. Saute the onion until it is golden brown. Add the rice, meat, garlic and cardamom mixture, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and cumin seed powder. Cook covered over medium heat until all are nicely brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook and stir until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked down to the consistency of a sauce. Add the 6 cups water to the rice mixture, bring to a boil and then cook over very low heat, (while covered) for another 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Serve with kachumbari (also known as “East African cole slaw” and made of fresh tomato and onion salad).
We found a simple kachumbari recipe via FoodNetwork.com.
Kachumbari Ingredients (4 servings)
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 red chile, seeds removed and chopped
1 white onion, sliced thinly
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into half moons
Mix all ingredients together with a large spoon and season with the salt. Refrigerate 20 minutes before serving to let the salt draw the moisture from the vegetables to create its own sauce.