Lol. Yes. I mean it. There’s a way to make mukimo like a modern woman while still keeping them Kikuyu roots. As I have stated here before, I’m no mukimo fan but that doesn’t mean I can’t cook it. Mum has ensured that I must and can. And that’s exactly what I did some night last week. And since I was in a random photo taking mood, I documented the process.
Mukimo is pretty much the easiest thing to make. Any Kikuyu dish is easy to make. 😀 Even Karen Blixen alluded to this historical fact in Out of Africa. She had this Kikuyu young man she trained to cook called Kamande. (She writes it as Kamante though. One wonders how many more words we write the way the English taught us, instead of how the were originally. Story for another day.) She describes Kamande thus:
In his heart he did, I feel, all the time, look upon the trouble that we give ourselves about our food, as upon a lunacy.
Tell me you also don’t think the trouble people go through to transform food into something it’s not isn’t lunacy? I have sat in restaurants and tried to figure out if what I was really having was chicken only to discover bones at the end. I digress. Mukimo is a pure mixture of real food. You start with the maize. Boil the maize, preferably on wood fire. Trust me, it’s much faster that way. And tasted better. But if not, go the cooker way. We’re making it modern anyway.
Once the maize is halfway done, add potatoes, peeled, and uncut. Cover the sufuria or pot and let the mix boil until you feel they are ready. You just know. Now, there’s something we call kahurura. If you know what that is in English, please let me know. Kahurura is the best vegetable for making mukimo. You could use pumpkin leaves too, but it’s simply not the same. End of story. The old way of adding it to the mix is just peeling the spiny parts and placing the leaves on top of the potatoes.
Enter the “modern” way. Got a blender? Perfect. Cut the kahurura and boil it separately. Let it cool and then blend it until it’s an even mix. Haya. Back to our main pot. Kerura i.e. strain the water out of it. Get armed with your mwiko. Add the kahurura uji into the potato-maize mix. You can take out some of the potatoes to eat. Hehe. Mum loves doing that.
Add salt. Mash. Mash. Mash. Kima. That’s why it’s called mukimo. At this point, it’s all about mashing. Otherwise you’ll have potatoes all over the place. You should not leave any potato unmashed. Otherwise there’s no point mashing it in the first place.
Now, this dish is ready as it is. But, if you want to give it an extra nice taste. Chop some onions and fry them until, of course, they are golden. Add them to the mukimo and mix.
And that, my friends, is how you make mukimo nice and modern. Forget about food colour and that other stuff I see in hotels.
If you want, you can add beans too. For some reason, beans are not that popular in my house nowadays, despite the fact that back when dad was young, he claims they would eat githeri with beans thrown very far apart from each other, compared to the maize. Let us not go into that topic. Also, he loves cabbage, so every meal has to have cabbage. Another Kikuyu stereotype, reinforced, ladies and gentlemen.