Every community has its own unique culinary traditions that offer a glimpse into their culture and heritage.
Similarly, the Luhya community of western Kenya boasts an array of mouthwatering dishes that are deeply ingrained in their tradition.
In this article, WoK unveils five signature Luhya delicacies that will leave your taste buds begging for more!
Omushenye is a simple yet flavorful dish made by boiling and mashing together sweet potatoes and beans, creating a healthy and filling mixture that is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins.
To make the dish, start by boiling the beans and sweet potatoes separately until tender.
After boiling the beans, cut the sweet potatoes into pieces and boil them together to form one mixture.
The cooked beans and sweet potatoes are then mashed together with a mortar and pestle or mashed potato masher.
Omushenye can be eaten hot or cold and is often served as a main dish with a side of vegetables or stew.
It can also be enjoyed as a snack.
Ugali with Muduya
Muduya is a bean stew delicacy that’s treasured among the Maragoli sub-tribe of the Luhyas.
It is made using split decorticated beans, munyu musherekha (a traditional lye made by leaching ash), water, and salt.
The beans are first cooked until soft, then the munyu musherekha is added and the mixture is stirred continuously until it becomes a thick paste.
The muduya can then be served as is, or it can be fried with tomatoes, onions, and other spices.
You can use any type of split beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans.
If you don’t have munyu musherekha, you can substitute it with baking soda or lye water.
Be careful not to add too much munyu, as it can make the muduya bitter.
You can add other vegetables to the muduya, such as carrots, potatoes, or spinach.
The dish is best served with ugali.
Amabere amasatse, also known as sour milk or fermented milk, is a traditional Luhya drink.
It is made by letting fresh milk sour naturally for a few days, typically 3-5 days.
The souring process is caused by lactic acid bacteria, which gives the milk a slightly acidic taste and a thicker consistency.
Amabere amasatse is a good source of protein, calcium, and other nutrients. It is also said to have several health benefits, including Improved digestion.
While souring, the guard is shaken constantly to produce a heavy fine mixture.
Fresh milk can be added on regular intervals depending on how sour you want the milk to be.
The sour milk can be eaten with Omushenye, Omunyobo (A paste made from mashed roasted monkey nuts), and ugali.
Nothing will earn your way into the hearts of your Luhya friends more than a well-cooked meal of Bwoba.
Bwoba is a clutch of wild mushrooms that often crop up during the rainy season and are traditionally used by Luhyas as food.
To cook the dish, start by cleaning the mushrooms by soaking them in water for about three hours. 4 handfuls of mushrooms are enough.
Next, Melt some beef tallow (Isiachi) in a pan and fry the mushrooms while stirring continuously. Two tablespoons of Isiachi are enough.
Next, add about one cup of munyu musherekha and cover to simmer until the munyu reduces.
Add about one cup of milk and let it simmer to the desired thickness and the mushrooms are soft, then season with salt.
Finally, garnish the mushrooms with spring onions and serve hot. This dish is best served with Ugali.
Ugali With Kienyeji Chicken
According to adage, Ugali with chicken is the signature delicacy for the Luhya community.
The Ugali, traditionally known as busuma, vuchima, or obusuma, can be made brown by mixing whole maize (Kisiagi) with a little bit of brown flour, such as that of cassava or millet.
The ugali should have no lumps, and when cooked, the final product should have a delightful taste – somewhere between well-salted popcorn and perfectly roasted maize
In traditional Luhya custom, it was the norm to match the chicken with the occasion.
For instance, hens were appropriate when celebrating the birth of a girl child while cockerels were the unfortunate victims during the birth of a boychild.
It was also important to prepare the ingokho properly by first roasting it over an open fire like that of a jiko.
The chicken was served in different ways depending on the occasion.
For instance, among the Maragoli, it would be an abomination for a groom to be served a chicken without the emondo (gizzard) and the head and feet intact.
Finally, the chicken had to be seasoned with munyu musherekha (maize cob – kamasokoro, plantain peelings, groundnut shell- kamakhobolio or beans stalk ash lye) to tenderize the meat and improve the flavor.