About my Blog

Lessons in the pot of a Kitchen Rookie. Here are simple recipes to play around with ranging from different cultures in Africa through Europe to Asia, cooking and kitchen tips. Find out secrets that make an ordinary meal extra ordinary. Entertain yourself with the different stories of my life and join me in my small and humble kitchen.

Want to bring the little kid out of you? Try Sultac

Yesterday was Eid, but for my Aunt Salma in Dar-es-salam and my friend Ameen in India, today is their Eid.
To me, from an early age Eid was all about eating and sharing. When we were little my mother who was Muslim celebrated Eid so big. On any Eid, She would make hundreds of samosas, sulu wai wai (small Nubian donuts), mandazis, pilau and all those delicious things you find on an Arab menu card. And she would call all the kids from the neighborhood to eat with us and we would play games, run around..., it is all memory of lots of fun and children screaming and all that. Thinking about those days, makes me wish I could become a kid again.
Well, every Eid I try to make something special even though just for myself and this Eid I thought to get that little kid out of me and enjoy innocence once again, I could make Sultac and share with whoever I could think of around me.

The Mayans: Are they all about the apocalypse?

Every time the word “Mayan” crosses our minds, we think “apocalypse”, cult”, mass murder and all those things associated with the end of days.

It’s been cold the past few days and yesterday, I found myself spending half of my day in bed, with my laptop watching “The Event”, a series all about science, fiction and a lot of things that can turn a sane mind into a whirlwind of confusion. I mean how does a plane take off from one state and pass through a portal only to end up landing into another state? ….Weird huh Even I think am not making sense.
Anyway so it all made me think of the end of days and that’s how I found myself thinking about the Mayans.

However, there is more to the Mayans than all those bad stories we read on the internet.
The Mayans were the only ancient American civilization with a recorded history of their own. According to, allchocolate.com the Mayans are the first true chocolate fanatics that treasured cocoa.

A 1988 Fish story

Although I speak polished English, it does not mean it was the first language I spoke as a toddler.
With so much pride I say this; I was born in Sudan to a Ugandan mother and an Indian Gujarat father and the first language I spoke was Arabic.
Sadly this date' I can’t form a beautiful sentence in Arabic let alone pronounce the words.
In 1986, my expecting mum moved down to Northern Uganda with me and found love and a great home in the company of my Indian grandfather and Ugandan grandmother. My first friend Miriam Akumu only spoke Acholi; the native language of the people that come from Gulu and on and on and on the story goes (let’s keep it for another day)

So you see, English was not the first language nor the second language I spoke but today when I speak it, believe me you will not even imagine that it was a 3rd language I learnt to speak.

From Gulu, the land of the people of Acholi (Northern Ugandans), Fish is known to be dry, smoked or ……., I had no idea what the other fish was called.
Once when I was 5, my mum asked my sister and me what we wanted to eat and

Mama's extra-ordinary Potato Salad

For 6 or 8 people, here is a simple potato salad that I make in my own way with of course a little investigation into my mum’s kitchen crime. Her potato salad was to die for.
For a long time I did not understand why I never enjoyed my own potato salad as I used to enjoy my mum’s
Then I got the secret that turned my ordinary recipe into my mum’s extra-ordinary recipe….”MILK” and “SUGAR”

ding ding ding …..yeah I know that look, I had it too the first time I realized. How do you add sugar to a recipe that contains salt addition?

Pilau Mwakenya


Tomorrow is a Sunday and family comes together for a lunch or dinner. In my mother’s home whenever we all came together she made her best pilau and no matter how hard I try, I still can not make it as good as she used to.
So if you are a kitchen rookie like I am, here is a simple recipe we can share and try out. This is the Pilau made the Kenyan way and I hope that it turns out to the best so that my Kenyan friends can eat away and say Thankyou mama, you cooked a very nice meal  and in my not so polished Kiswahili I translate it to"Asante sana Mama, we na piga chakula muzuri" .

This will serve 6
So what do we need?
  • 1 kg goat, mutton or beef cute into medium sizes
  • 4 garlic cloves pounded
  • Salt to taste
  • 9 cardamom pods
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil or just about enough
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups rice (basmati rice makes the best pilau)

Italy comes to my house tonight

Tonight I visit Italy or should I say Italy comes to my house. From the fresh bread to the different pastas and the rosemary flavored soups, Italy has the best and widest range of salads. And how can we forget the best wines come from Italy. Tonight as I welcome Italy to my house, I present this ever so romantic visitor with a feeling of home away from home serving the best pasta and meatballs sauce I have ever made.

  • 1 kilogram of lean minced beef
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or a pinch just to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce from your grocery store or you can make your own at home
  • 3 cups cooked pasta

Egg Curry

Yesterday we prepared a Chicken Biryana and today we shall prepare the curry I love to have best with any Biryana or boiled rice.
Ashiana is one of my favorite simple and humble Indian restaurants in Kampala. Owned by a good friend of mine Bobby Sheath and situated in Bugolobi just a short distance from my work place in Bugolobi, once in a while after work I treat myself to chicken Biryana and egg curry.
With this simple recipe, you do not need to eat out but make Egg Curry at home for you and your family.

Chicken Biryani

It is the month of Ramadan and for all my Muslim friends and family who are fasting here is a Chicken Biryana recipe to try out. You can have Biryana at dawn before your fast or at dusk to break your fast. Its spicy taste and flavor will keep you going through out your day.

 Biryana is a delicious Pakistani/Indian rice dish which is often reserved for very special occasions such as weddings, parties, or holidays. It has a lengthy preparation, but the work is definitely worth it.

 All this while I thought I needed an oven to make Biryana but sometimes when you lack one thing like a cooker and as though to add salt to injury, with the kind of unstable electricity we can not rely on an electric cooker to do your cooking. So here is a fantastic procedure in preparing my chicken Biryana without using a cooker of any kind but just my gas stove.
Points to consider;

19 Tricks up my mama’s sleeves

  1. When boiling greens, do not cover the pan. Covering greens leads to discoloration
  2. A drop of vinegar in a boiling pan of Irish potatoes prevents the Irish from discoloration
  3. Sprinkle black pepper in the corners of your kitchen. Mice and rats are allergic to black pepper, it keeps them away
  4. To remove gum that is stuck on your cloth, place the cloth in the freezer. When the gum freezes, it’s easier to pluck in off without making a sticky mess
  5. When washing the inside of your flasks i.e. between the outer part of the vacuum and the caging, use baking soda to rinse. 1 table spoon of baking soda in a Luke warm 1 minute soak can take away any odor that detergents can not remove from any utensil
  6. For vegetable meals like cauliflower, beans, cabbages, add more garlic than ginger
  7. For non veggie meals, add more ginger than garlic
  8. You can also use vinegar (I cup) in a basin of Luke warm water to soak a colored material for 1 hour and drip dry in a shade to keep the dye/color longer

A meal for a Sister on her Birthday

Today is my sister Farida’s birthday. When we were little, you could lure my sister into your van as long as you had anything beefy.
I remember once when she appeared with a torn skirt all soiled with mud and my mum who was such a clever woman she knew her daughters too well for us to even lie to her and get away with it. My darling mother remembered that
  1. She kept roasted meat in the kitchen
  2. She last saw Farida go into the kitchen and not out
  3. There is no door out of the kitchen, except for the one mama sat next to
  4. There is a window in the kitchen that one is able to jump through
That explains my sister’s appearance. My sister went into the kitchen to pinch a piece of roasted beef and got stuck trying to climb out the window. I will make sure all her future kids get to hear this story and tell them what a crazy kid their mum was.

 In Uganda when meat is roasted, grilled or dry fried in a masala, we call it Muchomo. So today am making a chicken muchomo, French beans salad and mashed potatoes in honor of my sister’s 20—something really old birthday.
Happy Birthday Farida and May you live to eat more and more of muchomo in your lifetime. xxx

One from America's Culinary History

I don’t always go out so much in huge groups, not that I don’t enjoy it, I do , I really do but I find myself taking in and watching a movie or documentaries or chatting away on a game of cards.
I have a global collection of friends. At any moment I know I took a walk through someone’s mind anywhere in the world.

Sugar Nut Squares

I always thought that everyone knew everything I knew, I kind of had this idea that what I know is not so out of the ordinary, like I thought duh!!!! Everyone knows cassava but honestly am not sure if an Australian in Melbourne who has no idea that Africa now has a new state would know about cassava, I still doubt that the middle aged African in the deepest Bungatira village (my Grand papa’s village home) is aware that even the Scottish don’t patiently line up for food during rationing that is if they even know Scotland exists.