Flat bread, commonly known as chapati is a flaky, unleavened bread, normally made on a griddle. It is a staple in east Africa and was influenced by the wave of Indian immigrants, who have for instance integrated into forming the Indian community of Tanzania.
Chapati and stew makes for quick super on weekdays – different kinds of stews can be served with Chapati. There really isn’t a standard way to prepare beef stew as every cook puts in their own signature. However, I’ve outlined the basics.
Africans’ affinity towards meat is known worldwide. It is widely reflected in their cuisine. No meal is considered complete without a piece of meat, be it beef, lamb or chicken. Indian influence on East African food is also widespread. Most of their native dishes have a tinge of ‘Indian-ness’ in them. From the use of indigenous ingredients to incorporating spices in their cooking, Africans have always relished the taste of Indian flavours in their cuisine.
When it comes to flatbread and beef stew, there are different versions of it across the African continent. In their native language, it’s called Chapati Na Mchuzi Wa Nyama. Chapati is the Indian name for flatbread and is also known as roti. In Swahili, Mchuzi means sauce or gravy or stew while Nyama refers to meat. In short, Chapati Na Mchuzi Wa Nyama is a combination of the flatbread along with a meat gravy.
The flatbread or chapati is made using all-purpose flour or wheat flour or by combining both. Once the dough is kneaded, it is rolled out into small circles and cooked on a pan, griddle or directly on the fire. It’s flaky and resembles a pancake. Chapati replaces the bread in African cuisine and is usually consumed alongside a gravy or curry. This is where the beef stew or Mchuzi Wa Nyama comes into play.
This ‘comfort food’ is an East African staple, especially in Kenya. Every region has its signature dish and the ingredients vary accordingly. In many places, they use cubed chicken instead of beef. Season the meat. Add fresh vegetables of your choice, usually tomatoes, peppers, onions and sometimes potatoes. The usage of vegetables differs from season to season. Heat the stock, add spices and slow cook the meat to get a flavourful stew. Savour the dish in classic Kenyan style.
Chapati with Beef Stew
The chapati with beef stew recipe is definitely one of my favorite recipes! It is delicious and flavorful and a great option for lunch or dinner. This is a comfort food in Kenya, and once you have tried this delicious recipe, it will become a comfort food in your home too! Next time you are looking for a quick and easy meal to make, try out this delicious African dish!
500g stewing beef (cut into small chunks)
1 cup water (for boiling meat)
Salt, to taste
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 diced red onion
3 diced tomatoes
50 - 100g tomato paste
1 chipped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder (locally known as binzari)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons margarine or vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
For the stew:
For the Stew
Season beef with salt and boil until tender. Then set aside.
Heat oil over medium heat in a sauce pan, add the onion and sage leaves, then fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste and let it cook until mushy.
Add peppers and curry powder and keep stirring for 4 – 5 minutes.
Drain meat and add to the sauce pan cook until excess water is absorbed.
Add the beef stock, according to the consistency you want your beef stew to have.
Let it cook for about 25 minutes, remove from heat, transfer to serving bowl.
For the Chapati
Make a well at the center of the flour in a large plastic bowl, add sugar, salt, water and margarine or oil.
Knead the combination to make a soft, sticky dough.
Transfer to a flat, intensely floured surface and continue to knead for at least 10 minutes, keep adding flour as needed to form a soft and elastic dough.
Divide the dough into 4 to 6 pieces and let it rest for around 30 minutes.
Roll out dough pieces each into a circle and set aside.
Heat some oil over low heat.
Add chapati and heavily oil on each side of the chapati without forgetting the edges.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, rotating the chapati and turning each side until golden brown
Serve warm with the stew