Dear Nairobians….


Now I have your attention.

Listen to me, no hard feelings. Keep your feelings out of this post and just go through these words from the wearer of the shoe and not the admirer. You, dear Nairobian, are the admirer of the beach, Swahili food, destination holiday and laid back way of life over here. The indigenous coastal flock and we the fellow convertees are the wearers of the shoe.

From one to another, I have been on both sides and the coasterians are right.

Respect the local culture.

You look fly in your hot pants and minis and even the locals wear them but in the right context. You look more fly in the photos posted in your various accounts on social media. I will double tap on most of them.However.

Dear Nairobian, mwanamke ni kujisitiri sio kujiuza. Stop staring at me and stop judging me. I write this because today I was at Naivas Nyali shopping with my fellow mum and faithful trolly assistant aka hubby and we felt odd staring at you strutting around in your brief garments.

When my fellow mum and I relocated to Mombasa, we were like you. We wore spaghetti tops with short skirts, shorts and sometimes just our swimming costumes with a leso around our waists. That was our error. Now yours.

We stare at you because we were also stared at. Not because we are jealous of your long legs or dainty figure, but because we learned that the locals have preserved their culture. Greet, do not wait to be greeted. It is our culture.Spiced food is the norm, watch your weight at home and pack your eeuws in your suitcase. It is disrespectful. There is an opinion about everything especially when it is not asked, tolerate it (only the healthy bit of it). How you give is more important than what you give. Some ladies will not shake a man’s hand because that is in their belief system and not because of you. Nothing personal. Siesta after lunch is the norm of the day, don’t get angry. It is our culture.

In summary dear Nairobian, they are right. We are right.

One final thing….we love tea, spiced tea. Any time, all the time.

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cardamom, cinnamon, ginger powder and cloves

These are the ingredients of a standard black spiced tea. Bring these ingredients to a boil and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add your tea leaves. Let it simmer for another 5-7 minutes before straining.

NB. These amount of ingredients make 2 standard cups of black tea i.e. chai rangi as we the locals call it.

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Serve with a squeeze of lemon and honey or sugar.

This is way better than the hot ginger craze from Java.

Dear Nairobian, since at times you order for tea with a snorty attitude, you get served snorty strong tea as we know it in bara. Be polite, you will be surprised at how much more the locals over here can offer you. The same applies to when you feign allergy to tea when we inform you that dawa ya moto ni moto. Mombasa has a juicy affair. The types and variety of juices here will leave you amazed and stupified at the same time. Be courteous.

Spices are courtesy of Marikiti.

Sincerely,

Former Nairobian (aka converted Coasterian)

Now back to what I wanted to post about today. Eggplants.

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Nairobians, at this point, if you want to log off, please don’t. You ain’t the only ones who hate this purple useless plants. Bear with me. I will make it short.

This short. Yeap.

All these are eggplants.

Ingredients

2 eggplants. 1kilo goes for 60-120/- which is roughly 3 average-sized eggplants.

1 large onion. Chopped.

3 large tomatoes. Chopped.

Half teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika or both

Half teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon mango powder. Indian shops sell it as amchur powder. (Nairobian, if pronunciation is an issue, state it in English or Swahili)

Dania. Half a cup.

2-3 cloves. Those black things in the tea ingredients at the end of the spoon.

2 green chilies

Half a lemon

Garlic ginger paste. More garlic than ginger, please.

1 teaspoon cumin

Oil – 5 tablespoons.

Ensure that the eggplants are fresh i.e. the skin is shiny and bright purple. Any signs of frailty will not give you the desired outcome.

First, take your eggplants, make small incisions around them. Apply fat and place on top of the medium flame. Let it roast until charred but not burned all around.

You can do this a day before. Make sure it looks deflated like this.

eggplant-salad-romanian-vin

Roasted eggplants. Source: Google images

Let it cool.

Heat oil until smoky in a cooking pan.

Add cumin for a second and then the onions and cloves. Mix. Allow the onions to change color but not burn.

Add ginger garlic, turmeric, chili, (paprika) and tomatoes and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Your kitchen should be fragrant at this point.

As it cooks, peel the now cooled eggplants and mash them gently to a pulp before adding to the cooking pan. Stir well.

Add your Dania, green chilies, mango powder, and salt.

Stir well and let everything cook on low heat for another 5 minutes.

Squeeze juice from half a lemon, mix well and remove from heat.

Serve with fried rice, pasta, nachos or leftover bread.

If you do not like chilies, feel free to omit.

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