If you are a frequent of most local restaurants and bars,then you should be familiar with the terms ‘wet fry’ and ‘dry fry’ when discussing matters food and meats in particular.
Apart from Nyama choma,dry fry and wet fry beef have to be the other two most iconic meat meals dished up in different Kenyan households,irrespective of which part of the country you were raised up in.Be it pork,goat,chicken or lamb.Be sure to always find ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ fry versions of the different meats served up be it at your favorite local hotel,high end restaurants and our homes.
My mother growing up used to love her meats dry fried,she has never been a fan of meat and had it not being for us and our meat adoring dad,she would have comfortably opted it out of our family menu altogether.And let this not mislead you as I am yet to find someone who can prepare a mean ‘nyama’ dish compared to my loving mother,Her dry fry be it goat or beef was and will always be the best out here.My beef wet fry recipe is a simple one that she used most of the time to bring together a quick meaty dish for the old man,It was simple convenient and never lacking in flavor.A full course meal of ugali,wet fry and sukuma wiki was ready all under 30 minutes,Now this is what I am sharing with you guys today,Beef wet fry just how my mum prepared it.
One thing I noticed growing up is how food was broken down to its bare essentials.No fancy ingredients that food network opened our eyes to,Ingredients were locally sought, onions,tomatoes,salt & if lucky some freshly picked dhania leaves. Was all you needed to whip up a feast.The secret has always been in technique and never in the ingredients.
While I do enjoy the complexity in flavors you get when you use a variety of ingredients in one meal,sometimes it’s the most simple of meals that are most comforting to the soul.I am not a chef but I am passionate about tradition in food,cooking it and sharing it,venturing into the new while not forgetting the old and how our mothers before us have been doing it.
So back to my beef ‘wet fry’.What makes this meal such a popular delicacy has got to do with two main things.
- The amount of time needed to prepare the dish.Depending on the amount of time you have on you,a decent meal of beef wet fry can be whipped up in little under 20 minutes and this has to be the no 1 reason why it’s up there alongside Nyama choma as a favorite bar meal,I mean is it really a bar if it dosent serve any sort of wet fry?
- Let not the cook time mislead you into thinking that this meal will come lacking in flavor because that is where you go wrong.A quick cook time and using freshly sourced ingredients ensures for good quality flavorful eating that washes down perfectly with a beer or cold beverage of choice.Many a people walking around with beer bellies have this delicacy to blame hence the phrase ‘tumbo ya pombe na nyama’ (A beer and Meat Pot Belly)
A good quality meal alywas starts with fresh good quality ingredients.For our beef wet fry are only going to be using 5 ingredients that are a staple in any home.
Fresh organic tomatoes,onions and coriander are key.Always remember your final dish will be as good as the ingredients you put into the preparation.Try as much as possible to use fresh tomatoes from the market as I found out that tomatoes that have sat in the refrigerator do tend to be a bit flat in taste and will thus impact on the final taste.
Fresh good quality beef can’t be compromised at this stage.Ask your butcher fo the most tender cuts of the animal as speed is of the essence in this meal as a tougher cut tends to be chewy and tough resulting to longer cooking periods with ultimately alter the final product from the traditional wet fry we know and love to something new all together.
My beef wet fry gets its unique flavors from the quick sear it gets and then left to fry and simmer for a few in the tomato and onion sauce.The sweetness from the onions combined with the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes works wonders to the beef.
The cooking juices gets absorbs quickly into the beef as the juices released by the beef,flavors and helps in thickening the sauce.What comes out of this is tender delicious beefy,full of all the grassiness and beefy flavors we love,coated with a fresh light but flavorful tomato based sauce freshened up by fresh coriander leaves for that authentic finish.A perfect meal for when you are about to step out drinking with your mates,My beef wet fry will keep you fuller for longer.
It’s worthwhile noting that I have tried this recipe using boneless beef to it and let’s just say meat in bone works best not to mention it’s a cheaper cut,But that’s just my observation and you should use whichever cut you prefer.
While I do prefer par-boiling meat before using it,I do find that maximum flavor is attained when the meat is left to simmer and tenderize in its cooking sauces rather than just plain water in this recipe.
Also be sure to use ripe tomatoes in this recipe as under ripened tomatoes tend to have a bitter taste when cooked.
Cooking time varies depending on the cut of beef your butcher got for you.Tougher pieces of meat tend to take longer before being fully cooked.When faces with this scenario add a few more cups of water or beef stock at the end and let it continue to simmer until tender and the sauce has thickened up
- 11/2kg beef.
- 4 medium ripe tomatoes
- 2 medium red onions
- 1bunch coriander leaves
- 1cup water/stock
- First things first.Start off by trimming the excess fats of your meat and proceed to cube it into sizable chunks.I prefer my pieces of beef slightly larger as it prevents them from drying out while cooking while ensuring all that beefy goodness is locked in there.
- On a stove over medium high heat,place your beef inside a pot and cover.Let the beef cook in its own juices.Do not add water at this point as it’s key to let the meat cook on its own.This should take about 10 minutes before it drys out.
- Chop up your onion,tomatoes and coriander as your beef is sweating down it’s moisture.
- Once the beef has dried up and there is no more liquid in the pot,add in two tablespoons cooking oil,fry the meat constantly turning until golden brown and fragrant.
- Add in the onions,cook for a few until the onions have wilted and are slightly caramelized.about a minute or two.
- Add in our ripe tomatoes and sir in until the beef is coated all through.Continue frying u til the tomatoes are cooked through and is well broken down,Around 5 minutes or so.
- Season with salt and taste for doneness,if ready sprinkle in the coriander and take off the heat.If the meat still has a bite to it,add in 1cup water or beef stock and let it simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened,Mix in the dhania and serve.
- Serve hot with a side of choice.
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