How to Make Kachumbali

It always fascinates me how the world is so interconnected in so many ways. You will almost find a variation of a certain food in each region. Kachumbali which is an east African staple has roots in India and the south America with just a few modifications. I personally love kachumbali because it is easy to put together and it adds a refreshing flavor and texture to any meal you eat it with. The spiciness of the raw onion coupled with the freshness of raw tomatoes and a sprinkle of lemon/lime juice for a sour punch is just all you need to elevate your meal. Today I am sharing with you my version of kachumbali because I really enjoy making it and adding other delicious elements like mangoes and cucumbers. Now Imagine with me if you will, the cooling refreshing sensation that comes with biting into a cucumber, the sweet slightly tart juicy tomato and the prickly spiciness of raw onion coming together with a touch of lemon juice, salt and mild heat from black pepper into a bowl of deliciousness. The ultimate game changer to any meal. You think your posho and beans are bland, add a tablespoon of kachumbali and all of a sudden flavor is enhanced! You cannot handle the heat in your chicken curry, add a tablespoon of kachumbali to cool it down! You think your katogo is comfortable? Good for you but I love adding a tablespoon of kachumbali to awaken all the goodness. Need I say more?

Here is a video to guide you in making your own kachumbali

How do you make your kachumbali?

Make sure to tag me (#AkitchenInUg) in your creations.

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Loaded Bean and Dodo (Amaranth) Salad

Starting this blog, I was young and naive. All I knew is that I wanted to cook exciting, interesting and delicious food. Years later,  I now understand the value of food, using local produce,  using fresh produce and being creative.  This salad was conceived after binge watching the amazing Fat Salt Acid Heat docu-series. I was blown away by the beauty of how the most basic of ingredients yield some of the best flavors.  When you think of beans and dodo and potatoes individually, a salad rarely comes to your mind.  But when the same ingredients are transformed through different techniques, what you get is a beautiful vibrant salad that is so satisfying and complex in flavors.  This is one of the main reasons I keep slaving away in the kitchen like a mad woman because the ecstasy of discovering something else a common produce can be is unmatched! I had a hard time naming this salad because it has dodo,  masala potatoes, sweet and charred carrots,  beans, green onions for a spicy kick, pumpkin seeds for a crunch and a sprinkle of cheese to marry all the flavors together. This would have made a really long title. Ha!
What you will need: 
1 C. Beans, boiled and drained
1C. Potatoes, cut into wedges
1 C. Carrots, julienned
A handful of dodo(amaranth greens), steamed
1/4 C. Green onions, chopped
1/4 C. Nuts
1/4 C. Cheese, grated (optional)
Juice from half an orange
1 Tsp. Soy sauce
1 Tsp. Ground cumin
1 Tsp. curry powder
1/2 Tsp. chili flakes
Black pepper
Salt
Observations: 
  1. Using cheese is optional.
  2. Use salt carefully keeping in mind that all the individual salted components will be combined. With that said, I salted only the potatoes. Then sprinkled salt on the finished salad.
  3. You can use any type of beans. I used red beans.
  4. You can use any nuts available to you.
  5. I recommend a non-stick pan to avoid burning
Method:
  1. Place a pan on fire, Wait for it to get hot. Add about a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Add the potato wedges. Shallow fry the wedges till half way cooked. Make sure you keep stirring to avoid burning.
  3. After they reach the half-way cooked point, add the salt, cumin, curry powder and black pepper and mix well. Let them cook till tender.
  4. Remove the potatoes from fire and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan, add a half teaspoon of oil.
  6. Add the carrots to the oil. Add the juice of half an orange.
  7. Let the carrots  shallow fry till the orange juice has reduced to a thick sauce and the carrots start to slightly char.
  8. Remove the carrots from the pan and set aside.
  9. Using the same pan still, add half a teaspoon of oil and saute the green onions.
  10. Add the soy sauce, and chili flakes to the frying onions.
  11. Fry the onions till they turn a bright green but still have a crunch.
  12. Remove the onions from fire
To assemble the salad
Layer the salad by starting with the boiled beans. Next add the potatoes. Next add the steamed dodo. Add the caramelized carrots on top. Next add the onions. Sprinkle your nuts/seeds on top. Finish off with grated cheese.
Serve with a glass of wine or iced tea.
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