A book and a recipe

As a part of our January book pick– it was time to read Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin and make something inspired by the book. While I did finish the book and the challenge a while ago, I forgot to write up a post.

Book Review: The book set in post-genocide Rwanda revolves around Angel Tungaraza, a Tanzanian who moves to Rwanda with her husband Pius and her children (well technically her grandchildren but her own kids were dead so she and her husband are raising their grand kids). She has a cake business and her cakes are pretty popular- every time a client comes in to order a cake, Angel puts on some tea, and her customers pour their hearts out before they order the cake. 
I found this book extremely cloying. Angel could do no wrong…she helped everyone, listened to everybody’s stories, made beautiful cakes, took care of her children…

 In one short sentence- I did not like the book.

I read the book while drinking chai, an Indian variation of the Rwandan milky tea. And I also made Kenyan style curried creamy cabbage inspired by this recipe.


1 small to medium cabbage head
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chick pea flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
Remove the outer leaves and slice the cabbage in 1 inch thick strips. Slice a large onion.Grate 2 medium carrots. Heat 2 tbsp butter and sauté the onion for a few minutes. Add the shredded carrot and cabbage. Cook everything, over low heat, stirring once in a while until the cabbage softens (about 10 minutes). Once the cabbage has softened, make room in the center and pour in the paste. Cook for a minute before pouring in 1/2 cup of milk, 1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt and lots of pepper. Stir well, pop the lid on and simmer for another 10 minutes.
This dish was awesome though- I thought it tasted similar to pasta with bechamel sauce.

Hot hot hot…

It has been hot hot hot here…
To minimize cooking times I prefer simple recipes with minimal amount of standing in front of the stove and these electric stoves can simply spew a lot of heat.

So yesterday’s dinner consisted of (mind you we have not been cooking often enough)

Peerkangai Thogayal/ Chutney

I am embarassed to admit this but I had no idea that luffa comes from a plant and before it becomes the luffa that we like to use to on our skin, it is completely edible! Peerkangai or ridged gourd is one such luffa variety.You can eat luffa when they are young and tender. As you let them mature there texture becomes spongy and coarse making it inedible…but great for your skin.

1 Peerkangai, skin and all- chopped coarsely
~ 2 tsp each of mustard seeds, urad dal and coriander seeds
a pinch hing
1-2 dried red chilli pepper
1 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp frozen grated coconut
Few tsp oil

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let it splatter. Now add the urad dal, coriander seeds, red chilli pepper and hing. Saute for a minute until the dal is slightly browned.
Add the tamarind paste and coconut and saute it for about a minute.
Set aside to cool and once cool grind this mixture- leave it in the food processor/ blender.

In the same pan, heat a tsp of oil. Add the chopped peerkangai and salt to taste. Cook with a lid on for about 5 minutes or so (until it is tender)

Let it cool, and add it to the ground mixture- and blend everything together.

Judgement: It does get oxidized so it will turn from a nice light green to a light brown- NOT TO WORRY, it will still taste awesome.

Stuffed Bhindi/Okra fry– Recipe adapted from Tarla Dalal 
I did not change the recipe

Judgement: Great tasting, spicy, a tad bit greasy…