Holidays come and go and what better time to spend with friends and family as we reflect on the year that was and plan for the year to be.Nothing speaks a celebratory mood than hosting a roast ‘choma’ be it chicken,beef,lamb or the king of nyama choma goat meat for family and friends who became family,as we wind down the rollercoaster of a year that was 2018.
we all have to agree that Mbuzi choma is the GOAT of all ‘choma’ and no Kenyan holiday or celebration is complete without this iconic African favorite.
Nyama Choma has to be kenya’s unofficial national dish and it’s next to impossible coming across a Kenyan that doesn’t enjoy it,well apart from my mother who in her defense has never really fancied anything meat and just can’t stand the smell of it especially the ‘Choma’.
We always slaughter a goat during this period and mum’s portion always taken a bit longer over the hot coals as she try’s to cook away the gamey flavors that’s synonymous with Goat meat.
Over the years,this led to her coming up with her own ingenious methods of preparing ‘mbuzi choma’ and this time we were all in sync and had it her way.Not like there is ever a democracy when she is involved.
She first par boils the goat in garlic and salt before giving it a quick roast over hot coals.Apparently this is supposed to get rid of the gaminess off the goat while the quick sear will ensure that the meat doesn’t dry up while impacting the barbecue flavors we all grew to love from somehow charred roasted meats.Simply addictive.
In Kenya,like most of Africa,men are usually the ones manning the grill station outside nibbling on all the best bits of the barbecue, over the latest gossip be it football,politics or the prettiest lass in the village.The gossip for some reason is always sweeter washed down with a pint of beer or a drink of choice.
The ladies usually are in the kitchen taking care of the sides and complaining of how useless their men can be.’mbuzi choma’ just isn’t complete if not paired with hot ‘ugali’ alongside the only salad Kenyans have mastered the art of making,kachumbari.
Nyama Choma is a national treasure,part and parcel of our social fabric and will always find it’s way to your favorite high end restaurant’s menu to your street food vendors in their roadside shacks.And it’s this ability to cut through the social divide and the unwritten rule that you can only enjoy your ‘Nyama Choma’ eating with your hands.This brings people together creating special bonds and traditions that will be survived by generations to come.
On a normal day we would have done the ‘choma’ as has been the norm.Season it with salt,throw it over hot coals for a low and slow roast until it’s fall off the bone tender moist and succulent.
After spending the better part of Christmas Eve night catching up with family considering how rare it is to have all of us in one sitting.We retired to bed late into the night and come Christmas morning no one was eager to wake up let alone get the ‘jiko’ going for the ‘Choma’.
I take my fair share of the blame as I was on meat duty that day.In my defense hey! I have never been a morning person,they should know better by now.
That’s how mum came up with this idea,let’s boil the goat meat as the ‘jiko’ gets going.Its not like we had a choice anyway.Into the sufuria went in 5kgs of goat meat seasoned generously with salt and loads of garlic.
the goat was young and tender and in 35-40 it was done.Tender and juicy ready for the grill.
The meat is already seasoned,However always have a taste and adjust for seasoning.
With the ‘jiko’ up and running,the ‘mbuzi’ took a leap of faith straight from the sufuria and onto the fire.This is important as you don’t want your meat to cool down before searing it on the grill.This will take time and dry up your roast in the process.
The meat is already cooked almost done,so this shouldn’t take long.15-20 minutes on the grill and it’s done.You also want your coals to be on a medium high so as to char the meat without necessarily burning it.
Dissolve a bit of salt in warm water and keep basting the meat on regular as it grills to avoid it from drying out.
And there you have it.Quick,simple and true to her words it was tender,moist and packed with flavor.Most important is the fact that it was less gamey so a win for her.If mama bear is happy we all are happy.
You can always cover your ‘choma’ up with aluminum foil and set it on the cooler side of the grill.This helps to rehydrate the meat as it bastes in its own juices.
- Fresh Goat Meat
- Garlic cloves
- Take off the silver skin from your goat meat.Be it ribs or any part of the goat,the caul tends to toughen up when subjected to heat and will be tough,rubbery and chewy.
- In a large ‘sufuria’,boil your goat meat in water seasoned with salt and crushed whole cloves of garlic for about 35-40 minutes depending on how tender your goat is.
- Place your goat meat over hot coals on medium high heat to get the color and char going on the sear.The meat is already cooked so 10-15 is more than enough but the thing with ‘nyama choma’ is that there is no set time for when it’s done due to various variables that aren’t constant.
- chop up and serve hot with kachumbari and a side of choice,preferably ugali
This is how my mum prefers her’s,I will be sharing how I do mine and not to brag but it’s the bomb.There are no set methods of preparing any dish.Different people do it differently as I have come to learn from my many travels across this world.What usually remains constant is the ability of food to bring a people together.Be it family or strangers,we all speak one language.The language of food.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS LOVELY PEOPLE