My Grandmother’s Home: African Cooking PotMay 17, 2017
I miss meals cooked in earthen pots over a three stone fire!!
I know, it has been a while. And no, I do not have a legitimate excuse and I am sorry.
I… I miss meals cooked in earthen pots over a three stone fire!!
I lived with my grandmother for a while when I was younger. And every once in a while, she’d light up a fire, and make some of the best food I have ever had. Those clay pots and that kitchen smoke always added some authentically african twist to the meal. Some smokey Bbq-esque hints that would make my tummy come alive. I should probably go to shaggz and have her feed me… 😏
Pots or pans?..
Deep cooking pots are a central piece of equipment for African, and indeed other, cooking.
These pots can be balanced over the fire using stones or placed directly into the fire or on hot coals. The pot serves as an oven, a frying pan, a roaster and communal bowl, all at once. It is most often used to make porridges and stews using meats and vegetables.
There are several recognisable and popular cooking pots in Africa.
Traditional clay cooking pots across the continent usually have a rounded bottom which increases the surface available for heat transfer and therefore are heat transfer efficient. Rounded bottoms were also more stable on a three-stone fire – which was ideal for areas with limited fuel as they use little biomass – because their centre of gravity is deeper.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo these clay pots are known as “Marmite bombée”, while in other parts of central and eastern Africa the traditional clay cooking pots were known as chungu or nyungu, and in parts of southern Africa the shambakodzi. In Nigeria, amongst the Yoruba, the same pot is called ikoko.
They are able to retain low heat which is ideal for making various stews that, have long cooking times, and ideal for porridges which are a staple part of many people’s diets.
That aside, i live in the city and when these wants come about, and I am not willing to go out and get the said earthen-smokey taste from the city’s abundant African dish restaurants, I have to improvise. But up until today, I had no idea how to do said improvisation. But not any more.
…. So, there I was, minding my own business, scrolling through Facebook, catching up with “society”..just really doing my thing. Then on one of the groups I am in, an angel dropped what I now term as the “urban clay pot”.
Said angel had a little earthen pot covered in aluminium foil, cooking up what seemed like the tastiest juiciest most succulent meat. This was the kind of meat that slides..not falls.. but gracefully slides off the bone in the most amazing fashion. Oh, did I freeze, pause, rewind, play that video so many times.
Then i thought, The Maasai market has these lil pots up for sale and I can easily marinate and cook up something scrumptious in the little pot. Forget the three stones, how about I add a well chosen, heated (not ashy) piece of coal-charcoal- then do a remix of my grandma’s pot.. Then I did a quick YouTube search and found that quite a number of us have a liking for the earthen pot.
Now to just get that Ngong, Smokey-ness in..
Also, I have options…Wish me luck 😉