Monthly Archives: February 2016

Kungu Manga Mystery

The Mombasa spice “marikiti” off Digo Road is a fantastic little place. I love everything that is located along this narrow street. From the fresh, breezy streets with laid back shopkeepers in their spice shops, hawkers and shoppers to the large century old colonial market. I love everything that happens around the market. You can sense the history of the old place.

I always look forward going to this place, and I had to because my spice supplies were running on the low. Needed the usual; cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper, dried chilli, ginger, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, cloves etc.

kungu manga

Kungu manga was the least of the spices I was expecting to buy. I saw it by chance in a little spice shop I was visiting for the first time. Didn’t know what it was as it looked like any other nut to me. My inquisitiveness caught the shop attendant’s interest. I was lucky he was a cheerful happy man, he made my learning fun.

I learnt that kungu manga is also called the nutmeg in English. All along, what I always thought was kungu manga was actually something else 😀 the pomegranate, Please excuse my ignorance. But I am happy I now know.

In kenya, and I think the whole of the East African coast, the kungu manga is quite famous, mainly because of its aphrodisiac qualities 🙂 Is it a myth, I really don’t know. By gathering from my Swahili shopkeeper friend, the little oval nut is really all of what is thought of it and more. It is also a proven hallucinogen, that I now know. I was a little bit surprised as to how pricey the little nut is. They sell it at 25 shillings each!

How it’s used

Kungu manga is a favorite of men and women, mostly men wanting to enhance their sex stamina 🙂 Its main use is on food as a spice, especially on pilau. I got these tips from the man at the spice shop. A man expecting some action had to take the kungu manga some four hours before, and to maximize the effect, they add it on coffee.

Preparing it

The Kungu manga has a hard thin coffee brown cot, crack that open. Inside, you will find a nut like substance. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the nutmeg into a powder and use it alongside your other spices like you would do when cooking your pilau. One thing I noted is that it has a pungent spicy aroma when grinding. For greater action add the freshly ground powder to your coffee and enjoy 🙂

One thing though, I have not tried it yet on food or coffee. When I finally gather enough courage to try, I’ll tell.

 

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Cooking an Octopus at Home

I’ve always wanted to cook an octopus at home, so this weekend I went ahead and got one at the local fish market. Living in Mombasa makes it easier to finding fresh “pweza”. I got mine at the Likoni ferry fish shops. The best time to finding fresh octopus at the market is from10A.m to noon. That’s when the tides are low and fishermen are able to find them easily from the coral.

1The octopus is not an uncommon dish at the coast. In Likoni and the South coast, this special delicacy is prepared in many homes and a few roadside restaurants. But still, you will find that many people are uninterested in it or have no idea where to get it. How to cook it is also a problem to many.

Properly cooked octopus is well known for its delicious tender texture, it is also a very nutritious food, with a high source of vitamins and minerals! It is a lean protein source and low in fat.

Preparing it!

I asked the fish monger about this and he was happy to prepare and wash the octopus for me. When I got home, I did not like the head so I sliced it off, removed the beak and gave the “pweza” an extra cleaning with running tap water.

Cooking the Octopus

I was lucky I had a cheerful fish monger who was glad to share a few recipes on how to cook my octopus. What I gathered from him and from reading other sources is that you must tenderize the meat first before the cooking process begins. A way of doing this would be by beating it with a kitchen mallet (whatever you can find) or boiling it. I chose to boil it.

Using a sufuria large enough to submerge the octopus, I let the water come to a boil with enough salt. Then I dipped the octopus in the boiling water for 10 sec and removed it out for 3 seconds. I did this 3 times. This repeated hot and cold blanching process was very important as it tenderized the meat. Next, I placed the octopus in the boiling water (including my seasoning of ginger and garlic) and let it boil for 50min.

Cooking the octopus is very easy. If you have cooked beef, you should have no problem cooking “pweza”. The process is almost identical.

When I was sure that the octopus had cooked to my liking, I removed it from the boiling water and let it cool a bit. I then cut it to manageable sizes just as you would do when cooking beef. I had chosen to do a stir fry (from this point on you can choose to cook how you want your octopus to be; roast, stew, soup?)

I poured a little vegetable oil on the pan and let the oil heat up. I added the octopus and fried it to a brown. At this point the aroma filling the kitchen was irresistible 🙂 Next, I added the onions and continued frying till they were soft. I added green hot chilli to taste, green capsicum and served.

Delissssss! 🙂

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