How do I even start this? It’s about sufurias, cooking oil and Omena… This is not a recipe. I don’t even know what it qualifies to be. On one of the many frazzled days recently, I decide to cook for stress relief. Cooking is among the stress relievers I indulge in. After swimming, Flight SIM, reading, writing and the rest – in order of merit. The meal I decide to cook is among the hardest ever. Never tried before actually. Not that I am the best of chefs around, and also not that I have many dishes in my database of skills. But I cook almost everything else that is under the category of basic food. I might have made that up for the purposes of this. But I mean Githeri, Ugali, Rice, Pasta et al. – basic food. I love Omena only that I have never had the guts to prepare them by myself. It involves a lot of work. Every time Omenawas on the menu, I always picked the Ugali roles. I have had Omena all over this country. All that time, I never had it in me to prepare the meal by myself. I would call it a tricky affair. Be it the washing, or those who opt for ‘beheading’ them it’s a demanding affair.
This is what I did for my Omena. First, I washed them for like five times in cold water. I knew washing was the trick. I was regretting why I was never keen enough when others were doing it. I wanted to get rid of the smell or most of it, before I could put it in my sufuria. Later I would read on Kaluhi’s Kitchen that the wash is done with hot water. Well, I had also learnt that from Peter – he has done this very many times. Actually, I thought washing many times in cold water would just be equivalent to washing twice in hot water. I was not ready to boil water yet because it was around 4.30pm and I was not ready to start cooking yet. After that fifth wash, I left my fish for later. Left the house to the shops to get the rest of the stuff needed for my meal later…
It’s after the shopping that I decided to check out what others do with their Omena online. I had a bad feeling about the whole process so far, and I felt I needed to do something about it. I hit Kaluhi’s Kitchen to search for something related. That blog makes food come alive. Something in there about rehydrating the Omena and eliminating the smell in a low heat boil got me to rethink my wash. I decided to rewash them. In hot water this time. This was from the extra water boiling in the ugali sufuria. By this time, the water was clean even with the Omena inside. Meaning they were clean too. I worked on the ugali while my Omena was in the ‘hot water bath.’ After the ugali was done, I went ahead and dealt with the Omena. That ka low heat boil nini nini… Then strained the water. While my ugali is getting ready, I usually take this time to prepare the tomatoes, onions pepper. Etc. I could not believe I was doing this. It’s like I was cooking for someone and I expected approval afterwards. By this time, the house was smelling like Eastlandsafter a storm, or the fish section at City Market.
The usual frying process started. Onions and oil. Fry till golden brown… The only part of my cooking that has approval from people who have had the chance to play audience to my cooking acts. Unless when I am on phone and I get distracted – and they burn . In went the tomatoes until they had formed a paste then I added my semi cooked Omena. That boil was no joke. Mixed this up and then added eggs. Yes. Eggs. Everyone doing Omena recipes had either milk or some other rare things, spices, herbs and additives I only see online… For instance at the washing scene… Where would I get the eerr… Apple Cider Vinegar or later how would I zest a lemon that was clearly suffering from some weird skin disease? There was a ginger root in the house alright, but how to crush it? I could have got garlic easily from Wickie’s. I don’t have a pestle and mortar – excuses right there. We have been doing it with eggs. By ‘we’, I mean Peter, while I am just watching and working on the Ugali. We use one for a meal serving four. By four, I mean two people twice. Due to panic however, I overdid everything. Lemon juice for instance should be just a little. I did the whole fruit. Eggs, I put two, pepper I had three for a fairly small meal. Then I let this to boil/heat up/ get ready… Whatever people call it in the cookbooks. When this combination is well done, it’s an awesome meal. After all that preparation, I forgot the most basic ingredient. I remembered when serving. Salt!!! I was too worried with how it would turn out, that I messed up the very thing that gives food it’s basic taste.
Even with the salt, I did not like it. Maybe because I was the one who made it? Remember I was making this meal to relieve stress, I ended up worse. Who forgets salt really? Nkt! Again, the quantity I referred to earlier as small was too much, and I could not finish it even in two sittings. I had fun while at it though. Meaning I can do it! But it was a disappointment. I think I washed them too much that they lost their ‘fishy taste’ and Omenabitterness that gives Omena it’s “edge” so here I was just crushing things I don’t know in my mouth. However, I will try again sometime. The sufuria involved in the creation of this meal has since been suspended from the kitchen until further notice.
A picture of the result was not necessary. It was not healthy enough for public viewing.