Mother in the Kitchen, Cooking Chapati

A friend and I found ourselves in Molo last week, a small farming town, with a close teaching friend. His family were very excited to welcome muzungus into their mix for a few days! As a female, I thought I ought to get down to business and learn how to run a Kenyan kitchen, which may I point out, is no mean feat!

I found myself in a charming wee kitchen at the back of the house. A small wooden room with a concrete floor, a large fireplace adorning one wall, large buckets for water storage on the other, and a good old coal fueled jiko on the floor for cooking.

First things first, learning how to make chapatti! Definitely a treat more than a staple, chapati is one thing Kenyans pride themselves on! This isn’t a pop to the supermarket, grab a packet of flat breads and chow down situation, there was a lot that went into it! First we took flour (plain, no baking powder) and began to knead it with hot water. No specific amounts, just enough of each to produce a firm and elastic dough. After about 15 minutes of some serious elbow grease we rolled the dough into small scone sized portions. Next! Roll the balls out in pancake like discs. Smear with oil. Wrap it back up into a ball and sit. Roll it out again into a disc and pop onto a nice hot jiko surface with lots, and I mean lots, of Kimbo (cooking fat). Fry both sides and voila, Chapati! Absolutely delicious! Though I do have to admit now, after having experience first hand the amount of fat it takes to fry one of those delicious snacks, I’ll be indulging less often from now on!

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