I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Viazi Karai

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Travelling in Kenya means going on an adventure. It means going on safari, seeing the Big five, and enjoying tropical beaches. Besides, the country is rich in variety of delicious cuisines; Viazi Karai being one of them. It is an easy-to-prepare snack, which can be done at home. It is a creative way of giving your fried potatoes a new flavour by dipping them in a batter. Viazi Karai is a Swahili popular street food originating from the coastal part of Kenya and has spread throughout the country and in the Eastern part of Africa as a whole.

The name is derived from Swahili Language and it implies to battered potatoes deep fried in a deep frying pan or Wok, moreover, the potatoes are normally placed in a basin when sold on the streets. Actually this food was borrowed from the Arabic culture. Arabs interacted with Kenyans during the colonial period while practicing trade with the Swahili people. As a result, Kenyan culture has adapted most of Arabic language and culture and food being one of them. Due to the cultural diversity from other parts of the world, the coastal people are famous for their richness of variety of delicious, flavorous foods.

Although the food originated from the coastal part of Kenya, it has spread though out the country. Viazi Karai is mostly served as a snack found almost everywhere on the streets especially in the evenings. Most street foods are sold alongside with other foodstuff in the evenings because this is the busiest time of the day filled with a lot of customers, given that most people come from work hungry during this time and they want to prepare dinner.   It can however, be served as a main dish as well for l. Most Kenyans love the food because it is tasty and easy to prepare and therefore present in most wedding ceremonies.

Ingredients for 2 Persons

1 kg Potatoes

1 cup of wheat flour

Oil for frying

Cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

1 Tsp turmeric powder

Coriander

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes, wash and cut them into halves or quarters depending on the size of the potatoes
  2. Boil the potatoes
  3. Put the flour in a bowl and add a pinch of salt; turmeric, cayenne pepper and mix them with a whisker
  4. Add water gradually to the mixture and mix it to make a moderately thick paste and add the coriander to the mixture
  5. Heat considerable amount of oil in a pan, preferably a deep one like a wok as the potatoes need to be covered with oil. The heat needs to be in a moderate temperature
  6. Once the oil is ready, dip the potatoes in the paste and put them in the oil using a frying spoon. Avoid overcrowding the potatoes as this will make them stick together
  7. Fry the potatoes until golden brown and remove them with a frying spoon once they are done and place them on a kitchen paper to drain extra oil from the potatoes.
  8. The potatoes can be served with chutney or tomato gravy as a snack and it can be accompanied with fried or chicken stew alongside with vegetables when served as the main dish.

References:

9 Incredible Meals You Should Taste In Mombasa. Afro Tourism. http://afrotourism.com/travelogue/9-incredible-meals-you-should-taste-in-mombasa/. Published August 20, 2019.
 
Kenyan Recipe: Viazi Karai. Nairobi Wire. http://nairobiwire.com/2016/07/kenyan-recipe-viazi-karai.html. Published July 26, 2016.
 

Written by Edna Muliro – Study visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Arts (English, Linguistics, literature and cultures) and Comparative linguistics in German. She is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Language and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural context in Luxembourg University.