After my post on Kenyan food and subsequent tweet about it, I received some really helpful feedback both from a reader named Jim00 and a responder on Twitter regarding the dish I ate. I'll break it down below.
First off, it's not spelled "yamashoma" but rather "nyama choma". So there's that. Second off, "ugali" is the term for the cornmeal, not another name for the dish overall. So there's that, too.
Other than the simple naming convention, it sounds as if the dish isn't typically a soup, but rather a roast meat dish. To quote Jim00:
"Nyama choma, not yamashoma, is not a beef soup, but very similar to Brazilian or Argentinian roast barbecue. Usually roast beef or goat in maasai type pit roasting, with Swahili Kachumbar and Luo Ugali."
I made an omission in my previous post that I now regret, given the corrections I've learned. When I spoke to Immanuel about his restaurant and his desire to teach folks about African cuisines back when profiling Nigerian cuisine, he told me that he does put his own spin on the dishes. For instance, he has Ethiopian dishes on the menu but they aren't served with the famous Ethiopian bread, injere. I also know that his bissap sorbet is the restaurant's frozen take on a bissap-based dessert. So without having asked Immanuel, I suspect that's what went on with his nyama choma dish. He took some basics on the dish and added his variation.
So what did I learn? Well, I reeeally shouldn't forget to ask about the dish I'm trying, even when it's just a one-off dish like this Kenyan one was. I probably could have avoided my mistakes and learned more about why the restaurant served the dish in its soup form.
What did I already know? Well, that I certainly don't know everything about these dishes. By no means am I a food expert -- I'd wager that at least 95% of what I've put on this blog came straight from the people with whom I've spoken. I just like trying new stuff and writing about it. So if you have some corrections to tell me, by all means speak up! I won't bite.
Filed under: One-Time Cuisine Analysis