This is by far my favorite food. It’s also the first food I got to learn from my late grandma. At first I was terrible but with time and practice, my chapatis come out soft and circular cause I have seen chapatis that look like the map of Africa. I won’t mention anyone but they do know themselves, anyways here’s how I prepare mine:


✓ 500g Flour
✓ Oil
✓ Water (Lukewarm)
✓ 1 tbsp Salt


✓ In a bowl, add flour and salt, using your hand mix it up then add 4 tbsp of oil and mix well.

✓ Add water bits by bits while mixing until you form a dough. Place the dough on a floured flat surface then knead. Once done, divide it into small balls(size should depend with your pan).

✓ Flour your surface, take one small ball then roll it just a little not much. Apply oil on top of your flat rolled dough.

✓ Use a knife, and slice it in the middle not all the way through just 3/4 of it from on end to the other. Roll and then press it(Repeat the same process to the remaining balls). Leave them for 30 minutes.

✓ Now prepare your pan and place on fire. Take a ball on floured surface and roll it in a circular shape then place it on the hot pan. Let it stay for a minute till it turn slightly brown then turn the chapati.

✓ Apply oil on slightly brown side, once done turn it so as to cook while you apply oil on the other side. When done let the other side cook to until golden brown. Repeat the same process to all the balls till you’re done.

Ps: Too much oil makes them crispy and hard and a little makes them hard that is when you’re mixing the flour so learn to balance the oil.

It’s best served with beans, meat, chicken or any stew.


Tamarind (Ukwaju) Juice

Growing up in Kilifi, tamarind juice was easily available and cheap cause it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients to prepare.


✓ 50g Ukwaju
✓ 750ml of water
✓ 4 tbsp of sugar
✓ 5 pieces of cardamon


✓ In a cooking pot add the tamarind, water, sugar, cardamon and then boil for around 30min – 1hour.

✓ Let it cool then using your hands squeeze then sieve it so as to separate the seeds.

✓ Put it a bottle or any equipment you use to put your juice and store in the fridge. Once it’s cold, it’s ready to be served.


PS: A good friend of mine taught me on how to use a small amount of sugar not just on tamarind juice but on all kinds of natural juices. This is mostly helpful for those who sell juice, boiling sugar before adding to juice saves you from using too much sugar.

Viazi Karai Recipe

Viazi Karai is a popular street snack in the Coast and it’s very easy to prepare. If you’re looking for something tasty, you are in the right place.

All you need is;

√ 6 Medium sized potatoes
√ 1 Cup of flour
√ 1/2tsp of food colour of your choice
√ A pinch of salt

Here’s how to prepare;

√ Wash the potatoes and then boil them. Once ready, drain the water wait for the potatoes to cool then peel them. After peeling, cut them into pieces (whichever size you prefer).

√ In a different bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour,food colour and salt) and mix. Add little water while mixing to make a smooth but slightly thick paste.

√ Heat oil in your deep frying pan then dip your hand in the mixture and pick a potato one at a time while dropping into the hot oil (Don’t overcrowd them). Fry on both sides until golden brown. Repeat the same process until the potatoes are done.

√ Add the cut potatoes in the bowl (with thick paste) and mix with your hand or a spoon so that the paste coats or covers the potatoes.


It’s best served with ukwaju sauce, chatini or mbirimbi sauce.

Let me know if you’ve tried this beforeand how did you like it, if not is it a recipe you’d want to try?

Another Mbirimbi Sauce (Cucumber Pickle) Recipe, Siki

I know what you are thinking, another mbirimbi sauce? Yeah! and in my mother tongue we call it Siki.

I’m sure you guys know what mbirimbi is by now so it doesn’t need much introduction, if you haven’t read the previous recipe check it out HERE.

Last time I told you that there’s a lot of ways of making Mbirimbi Sauce. I thought I’d show you a different and more simpler way of preparing the sauce. The best part is it requires zero effort, no heat just natural sunlight.


✓100g Mbirimbi
✓1/4 Onion (diced)
✓ 2 medium diced chillies (or more depends on whether you like it hot or mild)
✓ 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)


Step 1:
Cut both ends of the mbirimbi then slice into half from the top to bottom.

Step 2:
Put all ingredients in a container (I recycled a small plastic bottle).

Step 3:
Set it out in the sun everyday to let it cook. Do this for however long possible. It gets finer with time.

Note: It’s best eaten with fish and ugali.



What I love about pilau is how the aroma floats in the air when cooking.


√ 2 cups rice [750g]
√ 1 large onion
√ 3 ripe tomatoes
√ 11g pilau spices [ dawa ya pilau]
√ 3 cloves of garlic
√ A small piece of Ginger
√ 1kg Beef
√ 2 1/4 cups water
√ Salt
√ Cooking oil


Step 1:
Cut the beef into cubes, add a fair amount of salt then boil. The beef doesn’t need to boil for long cause it cooks in steam when mixed with rice.
When the meat is ready, add 2 cups of water, let it boil for 5 minutes then set aside.

Step 2:
In a different cooking pot, put some oil then add your diced onions. Fry for 5 minutes then add your garlic/ginger paste and later pilau spices mix.
For about 5 minutes, mix the formed paste then add your tomatoes, let it cool for a while before you add your meat. Cover with a lid and let it cook for a while.

✓✓Ps: Pilau mix is a combination of cumin[jira], black pepper(pilipili manga), cardamom(iliki) and cinnamon(dalasini) which do come in a package already combined. So if you don’t have this, in a bowl just put in 2 cardamom, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 tbsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of black pepper and mix (Do not forget to crush them so as to give a beautiful smell). For those who don’t have the spices, grounded pilau masala is an option.

Step 3:
Measure and add water in the paste mixture.

✓✓ Ps: Addition of water should depend on how you normally cook your rices. My ratio of water to rice is 1:1

Step 4:
When the added water starts boiling, add your washed rice and then mix a bit cover with a lid and let it dry.

Step 5:
I normally use a cooking stove with charcoal (jiko) when preparing Pilau, so when it’s almost ready pat a magazine in water and place it on the cooking pot to completely cover the rice, then place a tight lid with hot charcoal on top.
Leave it for 45 minutes – 1hour.

It’s best served with Kachumbari or Mbirimbi sauce

Violla! Your food is ready.

Hope you love it 🙂

Kaimati (Dumplings) Recipe

Sitting around the fire with my siblings just to watch my dad make these, is one of my best memories from childhood.

They’re the easiest to make and do not require a lot of ingredients.


√ 2 cups flour
√ 3 tbsp sugar
√ 1 tsp yeast
√ 1 1/2 cup water

Step by Step Process

Step 1: In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients together and mix.

Step 2: Add bits of water slowly while mixing to make a smooth but thick paste.

Step 3: Cover the bowl with a lid or foil and set aside. You could either let it stay overnight then fry them in the morning or just leave them for 45mins – 1hour.

Step 4: Heat oil in your karai or deep pan whichever works okay.

Step 5: Dip your hand in the sticky mixture to form a oval-ish shapes with the dough while dropping into the hot oil.

✓ Do not over crowd them in the frying pan cause they tend to expand.

✓ Fry them until golden brown.

That’s it, your Kaimati’s are ready. They are best served with tea. Enjoy!

The thick paste I made before covering it up
Thick paste after leaving it overnight
Ready to eat!

Welcome to Cooking with Virginia

Hey, my name is Virginia and I have had a passion for cooking since I was young.

My grandmother was my role model when it comes to cooking. I loved watching her cook and I used to rush back home just to watch her.

My favourite day was Fridays cause she used to cook chapati and beans.

Growing up, I always looked up to her (may her soul rest in peace) and how even at her old age she’d cook good food.

I was born and raised in Kilifi which is on the Coastal side of Kenya. With time, I have learnt to prepare Swahili dishes. On this journey, I get to share recipes on different Swahili dishes based on how I was taught by my late grandmother, my family and even neighbors.

The reason I started this blog was to be a contributor for THE FODREAMY but after my first blog post, I decided to continue cause I want to remind people of the old generation meals, you know the ones where people didn’t know about Pizza or Tacos.

See you in the next post,