Kuku Paka

Last weekend Greece has experienced a very rare natural phenomenon; a medicane. The word medicane comes from the Mediterranean and hurricane. It is a cyclone that can happen once or twice every year. It starts as a storm and as it moves, it turns to a cyclone. Medicanes have many common characteristics with hurricanes, those being the heavy storms and thundery winds. Just like ordinary cyclones medicanes are formed over warm waters. Contrary to the usual cyclones, they have a cold nuclear and move from west to south.

The climatic change has a big influence on such phenomena and although it doesn’t seem to increase their appearance, it strongly reinforces their power. So, in the future, it may be the case that a medicane with a “limited” power, will evolve to a hurricane with all the characteristics of the tropical ones.

Kuku Paka

It was a weekend with lots of flash floods, broken trees and torrents and we had no other choice than to stay at home and try to stay dry. It was a pretty “fallish” weekend and one with chill and humidity.

I wanted to cook something that not only would warm us up, but also shake a bit things up. Something that wouldn’t be common and ordinary. Since I had plenty of time on Saturday, I started watching older movies that made a high impression on me. One of these was Out of Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Have you seen the movie? Did you like it? I loved it. The scenery, the pictures, the actors were magnificent. No wonder it won the Academy Award for best picture!

Having watched the movie, I started wondering about the local kitchen. What are the plates, Kenyans eat? What type of kitchen do they have? What is a classic Kenyan dish?

Kuku Paka

“Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in Africa with its capital and largest city in Nairobi. Kenya’s territory lies on the equator and overlies the East African Rift, covering a diverse and expansive terrain that extends roughly from Lake Victoria to Lake Turkana (formerly called Lake Rudolf) and further south-east to the Indian Ocean. It is bordered by Tanzania to the south and south-west, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya covers 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi) has a population of approximately 48 million. Kenya’s capital and largest city is Nairobi, while its oldest city and first capital is the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu City is the third largest city and a critical inland port at Lake Victoria. Other important urban centers include Nakuru and Eldoret.” (Source: Wikipedia)

One of the dishes that are eaten in the coastal line is Kuku Paka. This rich dish of chicken in a spiced coconut sauce can be found in several variations. Kuku in Swahili means chicken. It is a very creamy, hearty dish and you can add or take out any of the ingredients to make it your own. I chose to cook this version because it is closer to our taste buds.

Kuku Paka


5.0 from 3 reviews
Kuku Paka Style Chicken
Author/ Συγγραφέας:
Recipe type/ Τύπος Πιάτου: Main Course
Cuisine/ Κουζίνα: Kenyan
Ingredients/ Συστατικά
  • 1 kilo / 2 lb. chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 150 gr. / 5 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cm / 1in. fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green bell peppers cut in four (The original recipe calls for 4 chili peppers or poblano, but we prefer the mild version)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can / 14 oz. coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Handful of parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
  • Basmati rice as a side dish
Instructions/ Εκτέλεση
  1. In your blender, combine the tomato juice, onion, ginger, garlic, bell peppers or poblanos, salt, cumin, turmeric and coriander.
  2. Process, until a rough paste forms.
  3. Cut chicken in small cubic pieces and in a bowl mix it with ¾ cup of the spice paste.
  4. Place chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 5.
  5. In a deep pan heat in medium heat couple of tbsp of olive oil and add the remaining spice paste.
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes or until its color becomes from vivid red to dark red.
  7. Add the coconut milk and sugar and simmer until the sauce becomes thick as a cake batter, about 20.
  8. In the meantime, turn on the broiler in your oven or your BBQ and broil the chicken pieces for about 10 minutes (less on the BBQ).
  9. Take them out of the oven and throw them in the sauce cook for another 10 minutes.
  10. If the sauce is too thick you can add ¼ cup hot water to thin it.
  11. Serve over basmati rice.
Notes/ Σημειώσεις
Recipe freely adapted from many sources including New York Times Cooking

5.0 from 3 reviews
Κοτόπουλο Κούκου Πάκα
Author/ Συγγραφέας:
Recipe type/ Τύπος Πιάτου: Κυρίως Πιάτο
Cuisine/ Κουζίνα: Κενυάτικη
Ingredients/ Συστατικά
  • 1 κιλό στήθη κοτόπουλου χωρίς κόκαλα και πέτσα
  • 150 γρ. χυμό ντομάτας
  • 1 κρεμμύδι, ξεφλουδισμένο και τέσσερα
  • 2 cm φρέσκο τζίντζερ
  • 2 σκελίδες σκόρδο
  • 2 πράσινες πιπεριές κομμένες στα τέσσερα (η αυθεντική συνταγή απαιτεί 4 πιπεριές τσίλι ή poblano, αλλά εμείς προτιμούμε την ήπια εκδοχή)
  • 1 κ.γ. αλάτι
  • 1 κ.γ. τριμμένο κύμινο
  • ½ κ.γ. κουρκουμά, τριμμένο
  • ½ κ.γ. τριμμένο κόλιανδρο
  • 3 κ.σ. ελαιόλαδο
  • 1 κονσέρβα γάλα καρύδας
  • 1 κ.σ. λεμόνι χυμό
  • 1 κ.σ. ζάχαρη
  • 1 χούφτα φύλλα μαϊντανού, ψιλοκομμένα, για γαρνιτούρα
  • Ρύζι μπασμάτι για συνοδευτικό πιάτο
Instructions/ Εκτέλεση
  1. Στο μπλέντερ σας, βάλτε το χυμό ντομάτας, το κρεμμύδι, το τζίντζερ, το σκόρδο, τις πιπεριές ήπιες ή καυτερές, το αλάτι, το κύμινο, τον κουρκουμά και το κόλιανδρο.
  2. Χτυπήστε, μέχρι να γίνει μία πάστα.
  3. Κόψτε το κοτόπουλο σε μικρά κυβάκια και σε ένα μπολ ανακατέψτε τα με ¾ κούπας από την πάστα μπαχαρικών.
  4. Τοποθετήστε το κοτόπουλο στο ψυγείο για τουλάχιστον 1 ώρα ή μέχρι 5.
  5. Σε ένα βαθύ τηγάνι σε μέτρια φωτιά ρίξτε δυο κουταλιές της σούπας ελαιόλαδο και προσθέαστε την υπόλοιπη πάστα μπαχαρικών.
  6. Μαγειρέψτε για περίπου 30 λεπτά ή μέχρι το χρώμα του να γίνει από έντονο κόκκινο, σκούρο κόκκινο.
  7. Προσθέστε το γάλα καρύδας και την ζάχαρη και σιγοβράστε μέχρι να πήξει η σάλτσα, περίπου 20 λεπτά.
  8. Εν τω μεταξύ, ανάψτε το γκριλ ή το μπάρμπεκιου και ψήστε τα κομμάτια κοτόπουλου για περίπου 10 λεπτά (λιγότερο στο BBQ).
  9. Βγάλτε τα από το φούρνο και ρίξτε τα στη σάλτσα για άλλα 10 λεπτά.
  10. Αν η σάλτσα είναι πολύ σφιχτή, μπορείτε να προσθέσετε ¼ φλιτζάνι ζεστό νερό να την αραιώσετε.
  11. Σερβίρετε πάνω από ρύζι μπασμάτι.
Notes/ Σημειώσεις
Συνταγή προσαρμογή από διάφορες στο διαδίκτυο συμπεριλαμβανομένων και των New York Times Cooking


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