Popular Kenyan Dishes- What have you or Haven’t Had?

written by Njoroge Muigai 14th August 2013


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This is arguably the most common Kenyan food and is somewhat a staple food on the Kenyan menu. It is made from cornmeal added into boiling water which is heated until it turns into a dense block of cornmeal paste. The final product has the consistency of grainy dough and has some mass. It has been fondly nicknamed as ‘African white cake’ due to its final serving presentation which makes it look like a cake.

It can be served with many accompaniments from greens, stews and meat. The most common accompaniments are kales known as sukuma wiki in Swahili another treasured staple.

Sukuma Wiki


This is a Swahili term for kales that literally means push the week. They are so called because they can be eaten for a week.

It is one of the most popular vegetables on the Kenyan menu and is best served with Ugali. The green leafy vegetables are cooked oil with diced tomatoes, onions and flavored with spices, although this goes with the cooks preference.

Sukuma wiki can also be eaten with rice and a host of other dishes.



This is a very simple but nourishing Kenyan dish made up of boiled beans and corn/maize with some bit of vegetables. Depending on tastes and preferences the meal can be prepared with other ingredients like potatoes, chillies and pepper.

It can be eaten with a varied range of accompaniments like chapati (a Kenyan favorite)  rice, sukumawiki.


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This is a Kenyan form of flatbread which traces its origins from the local Indian population in Kenya. Chapatis are made using a flour dough, wound into a coil the rolled into a flat round circle. The dough is fried on a skillet with plenty of oil so that it turns crispy on the edges but remains moist and doughy on the interior.

Chapatis are a special Kenyan treat and they never miss on the menu for occasions. They can be eaten with cabbages (fried), pulses or on their own with a hot beverage.



This is cooked rice that has been flavored with a combination of spices namely cardamon cumin, cinnamon and cloves. The pleasantly smelling rice is great to eat with various forms of meat stew and ‘kachumbari’ which is a salad like dressing made up of a mixture of fresh sliced onions and tomatoes sprinkled with some lemon.

It is another Kenyan delicacy that is served on special occasions like weddings, birthdays and holidays.

Nyama Choma



This is Swahili for roasted meat a delicacy that is often eaten in social gatherings. The two most common forms of nyama choma are goat meat and beef although chicken and fish are also offered.

The meat is often consumed with a gracious helping of Ugali and ‘kachumbari’ served next to some salt for flavoring. For the brave a special chilli and pepper can be used to spice the meat.



This is plantain banana stew which has many variants on how it can be prepared. The most common ingredients are plantain bananas, potatoes cooked together in a pot with some oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic with the option of meat.

Some variants of the dish incorporate other ingredients like yams and peas but this is largely dependent with the cooks tastes and preference. The resulting dish can be eaten with rice, chapati or stew.

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