Mombasa style Ramadhan food
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Humi requesting to write a recipe as a guest on her blog. She is hosting an event, Ramadhan – an event to share. Obviously the first thing I did was check out her blog and instantly liked it. Loved the name, Gheza-e-shiriin, meaning sweet food. As I mentioned in my previous recipe, blogging has introduced me to more people with a common passion and that is cooking. Humi’s blog has recipes influenced by many places…. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Dubai. What an exciting combination. I love the pictures. So I will be keeping an eye on her blog for more exciting recipes.
Getting back to the invitation, I must say I was just too excited as this is the first time someone has asked me to be a guest on their blog. My mind began working overtime and I did have in mind that since Mombasa is a predominantly a Muslim town, I must give her a recipe connected with Mombasa and Ramadhan. Humi had the same suggestion but she wanted a new recipe and not an archived one, so mamri , mbaazi and kaimati were out of the question.
Mombasa is a port town with a natural harbour. This made it easy for it to get occupied over the centuries by the Portuguese, Arabs and British. The British brought Indians from India to work on the railway, in the government offices etc. This opened the doors for traders too. So it is not really surprising that the whole coastline of East Africa has a strong Arabic, Indian and British influence. The coastal cuisine is spiced up with spices brought from India and Middle East and some of the dishes are quite similar to the Indian or Middle Eastern ones with a very strong local influence and that is coconut. Most of the coastal recipes use coconut in varies forms.
During the Ramadhan month it is a common sight to see vendors selling all sorts of food to break the fast. One of them is Vibibi. Vibibi is plural name for rice pancakes. Kibibi is one pancake. Its very common to see the common man break his or her fast with a kibibi or mamri and a small cup of tea or coffee. Vibibi can be eaten on its own with a cup of tea or coffee, with a stew or as a dessert with some fresh fruit or ice cream. I am going to share the recipe for vibibi to celebrate the holy month of Ramadhan with Humi.
|cooking a kibibi|
VIBIBI (RICE PANCAKES)
makes 10 to 12
1½ cups of rice, preferably the thick variety
1 cup sugar
1¾ thick coconut milk (can used canned coconut milk)
2 tbsp grated coconut either fresh or desiccated
½ tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
1 tsp instant dry active yeast
½ cup plain flour
oil for cooking the pancakes
some hot water in a wide container
- Soak the rice overnight in lukewarm water.
- Put the rice in a sieve or strainer to drain out the water. Wash the rice under running water and let the water drain out completely.
- Put the rice and coconut milk in the blender jug and process it to a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter into a container. Add the rest of the ingredients except for oil and mix it well.
- Cover the container and place it in the hot water.
- After about one to two hours, the batter will have become a bit frothy.
- Heat a frying pan with a tsp of oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop a ladleful (about ¼ cup) of the batter into the pan.
- As it cooks tiny holes will appear on top. When the edges are light brown, flip the pancake over.
- Add a little oil around it and cook till it is golden brown.
- After each pancake is cooked, let the oil get a bit hot before adding the batter.
- Repeat steps 7 to 10 with the remaining batter.
- Dip the pancakes in sugar syrup and serve garnished with chopped nuts.
- If you want the pancakes to be gluten free, do not add the plain flour and use less of the coconut milk.
- Traditionally, water is added to the grated coconut and squeezed using a strainer or a strong cloth to get the thick milk. I used ready made canned coconut milk, as it gives a much better coconut taste.
- Most vibibi recipes do not write how the yeast will begin to ferment when the batter is not warm. Therefore I thought of placing my batter bowl in a bowl of hot water to enable the yeast to ferment. And within an hour the batter was ready.
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