Food & Drinks

Hate some foods? Just eat differently


Sylvia Wanjiru Kamau who is a chef by profession. PHOTO | COURTESY

What's the one food that you just don't like? Arrowroots, tripe, pumpkin, mushroom, chapati or githeri.

But have you tried eating it differently, being adventurous enough by adding seasonings, giving it a chance to return to your plate?

Sylvia Kamau, our Pishi Home Chef of the Week, believes the problem is not the food or the ingredients, but the way it is prepared and eaten.

"I used to dislike arrowroots until my grandmother prepared them for me with stew. The scrumptious meal changed the way I look at arrowroots," she says.

Another trick is to cover the food with seasonings or condiments. Add salt and pepper, butter, lemon juice, or any spice that you love. Be careful not to overdo the seasoning.

"Black pepper is a must-have in my kitchen. I also love vegetable cubes, vinegar, and soy sauce. They add flavor to otherwise bland dishes," she says.

For instance, pumpkin soup and baked pumpkin, seasoned with either cumin, cinnamon, garlic, or chili powder, are other ways to enjoy the rather hard-to-love fruit. But now she is a pumpkin evangelist.

"Pumpkin is highly nutritious and rich in vitamin A. It boosts immunity and it is rich in fiber. It can improve your vision and gives you younger-looking skin. The list is endless. Yet it can be hard to enjoy if cooked badly," she says.

To give her githeri a sumptuous kick, Sylvia adds pumpkin, garlic, green pepper, potatoes, carrots, soy sauce, and zucchini.

She serves the succotash with veggie salad and African Nightshade (managu).

"This meal is finger-licking and easy to prepare," she says.

While preparing githeri, make sure the maize is soft and measure the right proportions of spices.

"It is best if you natural spices. Avoid using hard maize, adding too much water, and overcooking the potatoes," she says.

For Sylvia cooking is an art. She also loves it when people compliment her food.

She hopes to build a career out of her passion for cooking.

"I have an eye for art. Cooking at home saves money. I prepare most meals and snacks that my family would crave for and buy outside hence saving on money and reducing exposure to diseases," she says.

Sylvia runs a takeaway and catering business out of her home in Nairobi. She has built a following on Instagram, thanks to the food photos she posts of various cuisines.

"Before that, I had been doing home cooking without a brand and my market was mostly neighborhood friends and family. After my market began to expand beyond my neighborhood I thought it wise to brand my business and commence my journey towards a serious full-time career," she says.



-Two arrowroots

-Five pieces of potatoes

-Peas (glass full)

-One zucchini

-One onion

-Two tomatoes

-Pumpkin (optional)

-Two carrots

-1 tablespoon veggie mchuzi mix.

-Two vegetable cubes.

-Two tablespoons Soy sauce


· Fry the onions until golden brown.

· Add the tomatoes and cover the cooking pot until the tomatoes are pasty

· Add arrowroots and potatoes then cover the pot with a lid for two minutes

· Add the pumpkin (optional) and peas.

· Add three cups of water and let it boil for 10 minutes.

· Add the vegetable cubes and two tablespoons of soy sauce.

· Add chopped carrots.

· Cover again for two minutes.

· Add one tablespoon of Mchuzi mix to a quarter cup of water mix and add to your dish.

· Let it simmer for three minutes.

· Serve when hot MASHED POTATOES Ingredients

-1kg potatoes

-One onion

-Garlic (2 cloves)

-One cup of milk

-A pinch of salt

-Butter (5 tablespoons) Method

· Peel the potatoes and cut them in halves and boil them.

· Prepare the butter mixture (melted butter plus milk, avoid boiling the milk)

· Once the potatoes are boiled put them aside.

· Fry the onions and garlic.

· Add them to the potatoes and mash using either a potato masher.

· Add the butter mixture and salt to taste.

· Serve when hot.