Kampala restaurant week this year is phenomenal with great and talented chefs outdoing themselves to create culinary masterpieces. We were delighted to get a chance to sample Le Château’s Kampala Restaurant Week menu for dinner yesterday. Two hungry and inquisitive people, two signature dishes to tear apart.
Our beautiful night started with a refreshing juice cocktail. It was followed by a starter of freshly baked bread.
My dinner date had the iconic organic beef with assorted nuts and endives salad, pepper sauce served with sweet potato fries. I had the chicken fillet with plantain in peanut sauce served with fresh garden broccoli. First and fore most I would love to commend the chef for the innovativeness that he brought to both the dishes. I am a huge advocate for fusion cuisine and this was my comfort zone. Paring sweet plantain with well seasoned and cooked chicken and a glass of sweet white wine were pure bliss
The service, as always, was topnotch. Our waiter made sure we had what we needed.
There are still a few days remaining before the restaurant week is over. I highly recommend trying both signature dishes. You will be in for a delightful surprise. Visit this website to know more about Le Château and its offerings: http://www.lechateaukampala.com/
Also do not forget to vote for the restaurant on The Pearl Guide (thepearlguide.co.Ug).
The beginning of the week found me at the market in the wee hours of the morning. If you don’t already know, I love going to the market. It inspires most of the vegetable recipes here. I told my self this week’s recipe will be entirely based on something I found at the market. And luckily I found these red amaranth, called bbuga in Luganda. They just looked so gloriously fresh I had to just get them. Now these vegetables are tricky to prepare because they have a raw earthy smell and a taste that is sometimes repulsive. I went on the socials and asked you asked how you would prepare them. I got a number of responses which I will be trying out since I plan on making the vegetables a staple in my diet. First off is this hearty stew that I think you will love. It is thickened with groundnut paste, flavored with ginger and cooked in palm oil.
What you will need:
4 handfuls of red amaranth
1 cup diced carrots
1 Tbsp. Groundnut paste
1 green paper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1Tsp. Ginger, grated
1Tbsp. Palm oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place pan on high heat. Add oil and let it melt. Add garlic and onions and let them cook till translusent. Add the tomatoes and let them cook till soft and tender. Next add the amaranth. Stir well. Toss in the carrots, green pepper, salt and pepper and cover pan. In a bowl, dissolve the groundnut paste till runny. Add the paste in the cooking stew while stirring. Add water or stock (if you have some available). Cover pan and let the stew boil for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the fire and let the stew simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the water has reduced to half.
Remove from fire. Serve hot with desired carbs.
Have you ever tried cooking this kind of amaranth?
I have, for the longest time, wondered whether dessert or anything baked/fried can be made from maize flour alone with out adding any other flour like wheat. And my recipes with maize flour on its own have failed because maize flour does not have gluten to bind it when water is added. This little triumphant experiment started out as me wanting to make churros because they seem extremely easy to make and ended up into these sweet bagiya because I have no other name for them really. Also because the sweet aroma of lemon grass is irresistible. I borrowed the churro making method but instead used plain maize flour. These sweet bagiyas are a fun and useful way to utilize your maize flour and they make a great easy to make snack. I could not stop munching away at these.
What you will need:
1 C. Maize flour
1 C. Water
1 Tbsp. Butter/margarine
3 Tbsp. Sugar
A handful of lemon grass leaves
½ Tsp. Vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Oil for frying
- If you are using a plastic, like I did, cut a small hole at the corner of the plastic and pipe your batter into the hot oil.
- If you are using a piping gun, select a nozzle with the tiniest hole and attach it to the gun.
- Wait for the mixture to cool down before adding the egg so that the egg does not cook.
- Make sure the heat is medium because maize flour burns easily.
- Do not over crowd the pan.
- Add water to a saucepan and add the lemon grass.
- On high heat, bring the water to a boil.
- In a bowl, add maize flour, sugar and salt and mix.
- Once the water has boiled and has released a sweet fragrant aroma, remove from fire and sieve the lemongrass leaves.
- Pour the hot water immediately into the flour mixture and mix until there is no flour visible.
- Add the vanilla and butter and mix well.
- Set the mixture aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
- After the ‘posho’ has cooled down, add the egg and mix till a clear batter is achieved.
- Place your batter in a plastic/Piping gun and pipe into hot oil.
- Fry the bagiya till golden brown.
- Remove the bagiya from the oil and drain.
Let them cool then snack away!