International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma Recipe (Kenyan grilled meat)

(Kenyan grilled meat)

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In Kenya, any gathering is an excuse for eating nyama choma, Swahili for "roast meat." From the finest restaurants to roadside shacks, roast goat meat is served up as a kind of social lubricant, often aided by copious amounts of the local beer.

Nyama choma is always eaten with the hands, and common side dishes include kachumbari salad and ugali.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Goat or beef meat, cut into bite-sized chunks -- 2 pounds
  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Warm water -- 2 cups
  • Kosher or sea salt -- 2 tablespoons

Method

  1. Prepare your grill and have it hot. Toss the meat with the oil, then thread it on skewers. Stir the salt into the warm water until it is fully dissolved.
  2. Grill the skewered meat, basting it occasionally with the salt water, until it is cooked to your desired doneness.
  3. Remove the meat from the skewers and serve with kachumbari salad and ugali.

Nyama Choma Variations

  • Meat: Goat is the meat of choice in Kenya, but beef will work just as well. Chunks of meat on skewers are easiest to grill, but whole legs or shoulders are often roasted until fork-tender. The cooked meat is then pulled off the bone with the fingers. Using short ribs, spare ribs and offal for nyama choma is common as well.
  • Seasonings: The only seasoning used for authentic nyama choma is salt and pepper, but if you prefer, you can first marinate your meat in a mixture of minced onions, minced garlic, ground ginger, hot pepper flakes and a little lemon juice.