Fried beef liver - Maini ya kukaanga

Fried Beef Liver

Maini ya Ng’ombe ya kukaanga

I love beef liver so much. I could have never eaten enough of liver when I was a kid in Tanzania! Liver is a delicacy in Tanzania. Most of our beef is grass fed, so you can imagine how tasty the liver is. I can taste it while writing this.

The trick is to either cut thin slices and cook on very high heat; or cut chunks but cook on very high heat first then change to medium when darken outside. Over-cooked liver is hard to chew. So be very careful. In Tanzania, we do not marinade out liver with too much. Liver by itself taste very nice, you basically need only salt and garlic if you want. I personally find cumin adds a very unique flavor.

Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 lb. (3/4 kg.) beef liver (cut in thin slices, like bread slices)
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil or more

Stir-Fried Onions

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder


  1. Marinate beef liver with salt, garlic, black pepper, and ginger. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry the liver until the bottom looks cooked, then turn and cook the other side, add 2 tablespoons of water to moisten the liver. Remove and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, sauté onions, ginger, and cumin powder until almost cooked.
  4. Serve the liver and garnish with the stir-fried onions.
Mango Pickle Photo by Miriam Kinunda

Mango Pickle

Achali Ya Embe

We Tanzanians, make the best mango pickle. We use much less spices compared to the ones we buy in America imported from abroad. For that reason, I prefer to make my own. This is a small quantity to last you just enough days.
If you want, you can skip all spices and use Oil, mango, salt and hot peppers only.
Serve with with fried eggs, stews, French fries, Samosa, Fried cassava, rice, and what ever else you like.

  • 2 to 3 large green mangos
  • 1 tsp. whole black pepper
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 12 whole cardamom seeds
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp. chopped habanera peppers
  • 1½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable / olive oil or more.
  • Small glass spice jar (must be good size to make sure the dried mangos are compact inside)


      1. Wash the mangos and cut into small, thin pieces. Arrange on a cutting board or a thin wire cooling rack,
        Fresh fresh green mango pieces
        Fresh green mango pieces

        put next to stove or outside under the shade until dries. It can take up to a week to dry unless you are in Arizona where there is dry heat, then it will take one or two days to dry.

        Dried Green Mango
        Sun Dried Green Mangos


    1. Put them in a big jar with a tight lid.
    2. Heat the oil in a pan, then add black pepper, cumin seeds, and cardamom, and stir for 1 minute. Add turmeric powder and habanera peppers and continue to cook, stirring for a few seconds.
    3. Add salt and water. Mix until salt dissolves then turn of the heat.
    4. Pour the mixture into the jar that have dried mangos, cover the jar tightly, and put next to your stove for 3 day before use. (shake the jar at least once a day to mix the pickles inside.
    5. Store in the refrigeratorGET TO KNOW ME: I eat this with my breakfast (eggs), lunch and dinner 🙂
Plantain futari

Plantain Futari

Futari Ya Ndizi Mzuzu

Most Africa countries prefer fried plantain; Tanzanian however we like to cook as a side dish with coconut mil, roast or just boil with water and salt. This is the way we like our plantain. I can eat this everyday.



  • 4 large plantains
1⁄2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp. saffron or turmeric
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut milk (tui Zito walio East Africa)
2 cups boiling water 
3 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil


  1. Peel the plantain and put in a large bowl covered with room temperature water.
  2. Heat the oil on medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, but do not brown them. Add cardamom and saffron or turmeric and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add coconut milk, water, and salt, and stir until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium. Add plantain. Cover and simmer, adding water as needed to maintain the level until the plantains are soft.

Zimua Juice

Since I was young, I liked to drink the liquids from the kachumbari salad. It is funny to admit I still do that. Years ago, I had kachumbari leftovers; I thought it would not hurt to blend and have something tasty to drink. So I did and that was the beginning of my favorite Swahili drink I call zimua juice because it feels good morning after a night of a few drinks. I shared this recipe for the first time last year with the readers of Tupomoja Magazine in Tanzania.


  • Kg 1/ 2 lb very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cups / 198 gm thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cups / 340 gm cucumber (peeled, seeded, and cut into small sizes)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp habanera cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro / coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon or limejuice (not fresh bottled)
  • 2 cups water to add in the blender (You may need more later)

Cleaning onions (for step number-2 below)
• 1 tsp salt for soaking onions
• 2 cups water for cleaning the onions

Celery sticks and cilantro for garnishing (optional)

  1. Clean the tomatoes; remove the seeds then cut into small size for blender.
  2. To clean the onions: In a small bowl, mix onions, ½ tsp salt and 1-cup of water. Squeeze the onions while in water for 30 seconds or about 10 times. Discard the water.
  3. Add the remaining 1-cup of water and remaining ½ tsp salt, let stand for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes discard the water by squeezing the onions; then place the onions aside.
  4. In a blender, blend tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, salt, habanera, and cilantro until smooth.
  5. Then add lemon/lime juice and 2 cups of water, mix in the blender for about 5 seconds to mix well.
  6. Serve with ice and garnish with cilantro leaves and celery as you please.

For your summer drink; make ice cubes using 2.5 cups of water in advance, add on step 4 above. But mix limejuice after crushing the ice cubes.

Chai Spiced tea-Chai ya Viungo

Chai (Spiced tea)

Chai ya Viungo

This is East African chai. We do love milk. We use lots and lots of milk. When I was a kid, I was never happy when I was given tea without lots of milk. It is part of being a true Tanzanian.

To make gourmet chai (spiced Tea) please use 4 cups of whole milk instead of low fat. Never use powdered ingredients either. Powdered ingredients is for a quick fix, but you do not get the best flavor compare to whole spices. I use whole spices when I make for my special guest.

Always use fresh ginger. Chai does not taste good with powdered ginger at all. You can use all powdered ingredients but please not for ginger.

Serves 4


  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp. of whole cloves (about 9 cloves)
  • 1 long cinnamon stick (about 4 inches)
  • 1 tbsp. whole cardamom pods (opened a bit)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced ginger
  • 4 tbsp. sugar or to taste
  • 4 tea bags or 1½ tbsp. loose black tea leaves


  1. Mix all ingredients except tea and milk in a big pan and boil for 6-12 minutes.
  2. Add milk and tea. Use medium heat so the milk won’t get scalded.
  3. Boil while stirring, for 2 minutes
  4. Serve hot or as iced tea.

E. African Seafood Pilau

Pilau la Mboga Jamii ya Samaki

This is my favorite type of pilau. Seafood pilau does not have to use shellfish only. You can use regular fish like tilapia. Just be careful not to mash the fish when you are cooking. The best thing is to deep fry the fish first. Boneless fish is the best option.


  • 1½ cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1½ tbsp minced garlic
  • 1½ tbsp minced ginger
  • 1½ pilau masala
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb. (1/2 kg.) potatoes
  • 3½ cups plain fish stock (you can replace with water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil or more (to sauté onions)

Seafood Ingredients
Mussels, lobster, octopus and crabmeat is optional, feel free to replace with 1 ½ to 2 lb. (0.75 kg to 1 kg.) of prawns or shrimps

  • ½ lb prawns / large shrimps or a count of 10-12
  • ½ lb mussels with shell or a count of 10 – 12
  • 1 cups lobster tails, chopped chunks
  • 1 to 2 lb Octopus chopped chunks
  • 1 cup crabmeat

Clean seafood (except mussels). Marinade with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

  1. Clean and boil mussels until they open. Always boil more than required just in case if you need to throw away bad ones that would not open. Do not use mussels that are not open after boiling. Then separate mussels from water, and set aside.
  2. Heat oven at 300°F/150°C.
  3. In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and brown the potatoes, at medium heat, then remove the potatoes and set aside. Use more oil if needed.
  4. In the same pan, sauté onions until golden brown, then add garlic. Cook until garlic start to turn golden brown. Then add pilau masala and stir for a few seconds. Then add tomatoes and ginger. Lower heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Simmer until the tomatoes soften. Use a cooking spoon to press the tomatoes while cooking to soften them quickly.
  5. Add rice and potatoes. Stir for one minute, then add seafood and 2 cups of fish stock or water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the water is absorbed. Taste for salt.
  6. Add remaining fish stock or water and salt if needed, cover the pan with foil and continue to cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until the rice is soft. Alternatively, you can finish to cook on the stove, but there is a chance the rice may burn at the bottom of the pan. Add water as needed.
  7. Serve with kachumbari and any vegetable stew.