Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cooking Day

Here at language school, they not only teach us how to speak Kiswahili, but we have cultural lessons too.

Yesterday, we spent the morning in the campsite kitchen learning to cook 12 different traditional Tanzanian dishes. We had a lot of fun! Cooking methods here in Tanzania are a little different than what I'm used to, but both Paul and I really enjoyed being back in the kitchen. (We both LOVE to cook!) Here are some pictures from our day:

The first thing we learned how to do was crack open a coconut (nazi). It took me several whacks with the pestle, but I was able to get the job done. Paul opened his in two or three whacks. Many of the dishes we prepared were made with coconut, so everyone in our class had the chance to to learn the coconut-cracking method.

After we cracked open the coconuts, our teacher, Mosi, showed us how to remove the meat. We used a tool called an mbuzi (which is also the word for goat, believe it or not) to scratch the meat out onto a platter.

We all got to give it a try.

There was a lot of preparation to be done before we cooked. Here some of the teachers and our classmate, Tina, are cutting up vegetables.

Another exciting event of the day was preparing chickens (kuku). In general, when you want to serve chicken here in Tanzania, you have to start with a live bird, and butcher it yourself. That's what we did. Paul was given the job of butchering one of the two chickens we prepared. (I'll spare you the picture of the actual deed.) Then, he plucked it and cut it up.

Another new experience for us was cooking on the stove in the campsite kitchen. It is a stone stove, heated by charcoal. The cook here even bakes cakes (and pretty good ones) over the coals. All of us were definitely taken back by how hot the stove gets. Below is Georgina, the assistant cook, standing in front of it.

Another fun part of the morning was making visheti. Visheti are little fried coconut donuts, covered in a sugar syrup coating. My friend, Ellen, and I got to fry them.

One of my favorite parts of the day was making chapatis. Chapatis are a fried flatbread, sort of like a tortilla. I love eating them, so it was fun to be taught how to make them. My teacher even congratulated me on my nice dough circles.

After we rolled them out, we fried them on a small charcoal stove called a jiko.

We all had a really great day! It really makes me miss having my own kitchen.


  1. that brought back memories of my chicken butchering days... my parents would raise chickens in the spring then in late summer we'd have a chicken butchering party. i'll be praying that God will make that part of cooking fun for you!

    and those coconut donuts sound so YUMMY!

    thanks for the update!

  2. Oh my. I don't think I could handle that chicken business. Did it make you sick? Or are you just tougher than me? :)

    I love the skirts you all are wearing. I know they're probably called something different, but they are beautiful!