This is the easiest and fastest East African food I’ve found so far.
My sister, who’s a junior at Arizona Christian University, is working on a project on Burundi for her geography class. Burundi is a tiny African nation near Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It also happens to be the country where my husband, Ben, was born. Of course, she and her project partners interviewed Ben as their expert on Burundi.
She also asked me for a recipe to bring to class, so I sent her directions to make chapati and mandazi. However, those take a long time, so I thought I’d write up a recipe for something a little quicker: chips mayai.
Chips mayai is basically a french fry omelette. It’s a popular street food from Tanzania that is also easy to find in surrounding countires. You can make it from scratch, but this is the busy college student version.
-Frozen french fries
-Oil (palm oil is the most authentic)
Thaw your french fries.
Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan. Cook fries until hot.
Beat eggs (eggs and fries should be 2:1 ratio) and add a little milk, salt, and pepper.
Pour eggs in pan. Allow to cook over medium-high heat until the bottom is cooked. Flip over. It’s fine if it’s messy once flipped.
Cook thouroughly and remove from heat. Serve with ketchup.
Today’s recipe is one of one my most successful food attempts of all time. It is close-your-eyes-and-enjoy-the-moment delicious. My husband told me that this is the best way I’ve ever made chicken and that I have to make it again.
Now, that’s what I like to hear.
I have honestly never thought of trying Persian food before yesterday. Our neighbor down the hall is leaving the island in a few months, and he offered us the spices, food, and first aid stuff he doesn’t plan to use before he leaves. Do we have the most awesome neighbors ever, or what? Some of the spices he gave us are used in Persian food. He explained their uses enough to me to be able to Google intelligently and find some yummy recipes.
Behold, zeerah polow and chicken.
Zeerah polow is rice with cumin seeds. This and the chicken should take about four hours to make the right way, but I only had an hour before dinner time, so I sped things up a bit. Here’s Zeerah Polow in cut-time.
Gather your ingredients:
Brown rice, 3 cups
Cumin seeds, 3 tablespoons
One chicken quarter or two breasts
Plain yogurt, one cup
Dried mint, 1 tablespoon
Garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon
Black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Paprika, 1 teaspoon
Salt, 1/2 tablespoon
Flour, one cup
Rinse rice until the water is clear. Boil six cups of water and add rice. Simmer. Scoop rice from the bottom of the pan to the top every few minutes.
Toast the cumin seeds in a pan. Set aside.
When the rice is done, drain rice and mix with cumin seeds.
Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Cut into strips.
Mix garlic powder and yogurt. Let chicken marinate in the mixture for ten minutes.
Mix flour and rest of spices in another bowl.
Heat oil 1/4 inch deep in a skillet. Coat chicken in flour/spice mixture and fry in oil until the chicken is cooked and the batter is crispy.
I’m not sure what one might call this dish; I’m sure it has a name somewhere, but I don’t know it. I do know that it was yummy.
Ben’s first semester of medical school is over! Many people prepared to leave for the break with a still fully-stocked pantry, and I was happy to take the food off their hands for a discounted price. I now have more types of condiments and interesting Asian food than I even knew existed, and I’m looking forward to learning to make new things! One other spouse was generous enough to sell me the entire contents of her fridge for almost nothing– including meat! Ground beef, even! That stuff is not cheap here, friends. I was so thrilled with this blessing that I hurried home and threw together a pasta dish that smelled like Heaven had a barbeque.
Here’s how to make my Meaty Noodle Thing:
Package of macaroni pasta
One pound of ground beef, cooked
One jar of pasta sauce (I used Prego)
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup of shredded cheese
1/4 cup unsweetened yogurt
Garlic salt, pepper, salt, oregano to taste
Prepare meat and pasta. Save the oil from the ground beef in the pan.
Heat up sauce.
Sauté the veggies in the beef oil. Add seasonings.
Mix cheese and yogurt into the sauce. Add veggies.