Traditional Dish: A Simple Guide to a Meal That Turns Meru Men Fearless

  • Meru Culture
    A close-up image of traditional meal 'Mukinde' taken in a Meru household (file image)
  • There is a valuable element of culture that is on the fast lane out - local, or traditional cuisine. There's a trend leaning towards ready-to-eat foreign foods especially in urban circles. This, perhaps, is due to their ease of preparation.

    This has overtaken local cuisine, though it's no secret that native African foods are healthier.

    In the Rift, Mursik - fermented milk - is a local delicacy. It's likely that elite long distance runners' success stems from Mursik. Further west, lakeside communities dominate contact sports - like, rugby - due to a cultural leaning towards Ugali and fingerlings - Omena.

    Ugali
    A close-up shot of an Ugali dish - a favorite staple in most Luhya households (file image)

    The Meru have a variety of traditional dishes. Better still, they have perfected a 'cross-cultural' dish that's gained popularity. It's a hybrid between Luhya's favourite (Ugali), and a Kikuyu staple (Ugali).

    It's a heavy meal: all-round nourishment, 'lasts long' after a meal - ideal for manual workers.

    The Meru sub-tribes have various names for it. For instance, Imenti calls it 'Mukinde', the Igembe refer to it as 'Musambwa'. All these names have an intonation of 'strength' and 'vitality'.

    How to prepare Mukinde - Meru traditional dish:

    Ingredients:

    - 1kg Maize grains (dry, or green - anything goes)

    - 1kg Beans (dry, or green - either is ok)

    - Greens - preferably, native vegetables (managu, pumpkin leaves)

    - 2kg Maize Flour

    - Salt

    Githeri
    An image of maize and beans (Githeri) cooking in a pot (file image)

    Procedure:

    1. Mix the maize and beans in a pot (Githeri), and cook till tender.

    2. Chop the greens into small pieces, add to almost-tender Githeri.

    3. Stir the tender Githeri to mix thoroghly with the greens.

    4. Add water to the mixture. Bring to a boil.

    5. Add a pinch of salt, quantity of salt as desired.

    6. Introduce Maize Flour to the boiling Githeri and water

    7. Use a regular cooking stick to slowly turn the mixture - in the classic Ugali cooking method.

    8. Stir the Ugali-Githeri mixture until firm - hard or soft - choose your preference.

    9. Once cooked (a favorite pointer is the baked Ugali smell) overturn on a tray to cool down.

    Serve with desired stew - A wet (meat) stew, does best with the compact meal.

    P.S. The leftover meal is an ideal breakfast accompaniment. No need for bread, etc. An average lump will keep you full for most of the day.