I know by the time you hit the end of this post you’ll definitely say this Kenyan girl has gone “kolo” but I can’t help it. I just love Nigerians and the most shocking part of it is that every time I think of them I think about their food – hot and spicy and the hotter and spicier the better for me!
My fixation with Nigerians started with my first bite of Egusi soup and pounded yam. You ask how that happened since yet in the life of me, I have never put my size-6 feet on the soil of Nigeria. Well, those are part of my 2011 goals and please Papa God, make it happen oo! Okay, I was talking about my first bite of Egusi soup and pounded yam…well, it happened at my best friend’s house some 10 years ago. My best friend, Martin had a Naija girlfriend who later became his wife – thank God and since he wanted me to approve her before he popped the good question, he invited me to his place for lunch. I have known Martin for as long as I know myself and I never knew him to cook, leave alone boil water but he kept on insisting saying that he had a major surprise for me. Poor me, I braced myself for the worst and at exactly 12.30pm I was knocking on the door to his 3 bedroom apartment in a Nairobi suburb estate. The door opens and then…
…yes, the most awesome, tantalizing, so ever sweet and spicy smell invites me into the apartment. Anyone who knows me know I love to eat (will not apologize for that) and eat not just any food but great food and if I may say so myself, I’m a pretty great cook too! To be honest, I quickly hugged Martin, mumbled a few words (can’t remember what they were for the life of me) and went straight to the kitchen. To cut the long story short, I made a bee hive to the pots on the gas cooker, opened the first one and I soaked myself in the sheer pleasure of the most tantalizing smell coming from that pot. I quickly grabbed a spoon and eat my first bite of Egusi soup. Gosh, it is hard to explain the sensations I felt as I savored that first taste…the combination of the spices, hot pepper, water melon seeds, spinach, dried fish and beef cooking in Palm Oil was just HEAVENLY. I didn’t even realize that my eyes were closed until I opened them and found myself staring at the most beautiful, chocolate Nigerian woman and I was totally floored! Chichi, my beautiful Naija angel didn’t need me approving her to get married, the meal of Egusi soup with pounded yam that I had for lunch that afternoon did all the approving she needed.
Two weeks later, my new best friend taught me how to cook Egusi soup and pound yam – that was something else. I will not pretend it was easy but I can promise you since then I’ve become an expert at both, pounding the yam and cooking the Egusi soup and many other Naija dishes. I’m sure my list would have become longer if not for Martin and Chichi relocating to USA after their marriage – what a damper. I miss them but then, I still have my Naija meals to comfort me when I get lonely.
My wahala is discovering where I can get Naija spices in Nairobi! So to all those my Naija people out there, can someone hook this Ken-Naija sista up with the spices?
Until next time I remain your one and only Ken-Naija sista,
CEO, Kivuli Holidays and Conferences