Boxing Day, which is typically a British holiday in which you open Christmas gifts, arrived quite warmly, cool breeze and partly cloudy weather. It is a rest day but we are invited to have lunch at an ex-UNEP employee’s home near Karura Forest.
One of our hostess is originally from Argentina so we had an “empanada” party. It was baked with meat and olives and peppers. It was absolutely delicious. I wish I weren’t so shy because I really wanted more!
The main course was homemade ham and turkey, potato and egg salad, and various bread and cheese.
The view during lunch was amazing, looking into the Karura Forest from one end. Sadly, we did not have time to make it through to see the newly renovated and safe park where you can run or walk various paths of 5k, 10k, and 15k.
There is a beautiful bougainvillea, which is a creeper with tissue-like flowers, that overtakes a palm tree. Its beauty almost suffocating a more useful plant.
They also had several beautiful dogs to keep us occupied.
One of the good things about vacationing at a place with a kitchen is that you can cook home-food if you’re homesick. For that particular evening, I made tempura shrimp and garden vegetables.
I learned that Kenya has 2 types of sweet potatoes. The orange one which I am accustomed to and another one, which is yellow and is not as sweet. Because of the holidays, not many of the vegetables came to the market so we ended up with the yellow sweet potato instead.
- 1/2 cup of rice flour (if you prefer to use only rice flour, subtract the plain flour and add to rice flour)
- 1/2 cup of plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup COLD sparkling water
- Handful of corn starch (or rice flour) on the side
Meat & Veggies
- 10-20 shrimps
- 1 zucchini
- 1 sweet potato
- Handful of green beans
Other vegetables to try:
Sage (I’m told fresh basil and bay leaves are also very good)
Prepare a colander in advance with paper towel to catch the fried tempura. This will drain excess oil.
Preparing the meat & veggies
1. Clean vegetables and dry very well before putting in the refrigerator for about half and hour. For sweet potatoes, it is best to boil and cook in advance. For things like zucchini and eggplants, sprinkle a little salt to sweat it out and then wipe all the water. For shrimp, shelled, and deveined. Clean them well and dry them very well.
2. Once ready to start, individually cover all of the food with corn starch (or rice flour).
Preparing the tempura
2. Mix the dry ingredients nice and slowly (flour and baking powder). Add egg and beat slow while pouring water in slowly. Do not over mix. The rice flour doesn’t like to be overly done or it’ll taste too thick instead of light and fluffy.
3. Heat a wok with half oil over semi-high heat.
4. Once oil is heated well (you can test a drop of tempura and if it sizzles like crazy, you know it’s ready), dip individual food (that has corn starch on them so they capture the tempura batter) into batter and place in oil. Cook until slightly golden and take out. They continue to cook a little more after you take them out so if you wait too long, they will turn brown while sitting in paper lined colander.
5. Serve immediately with soy sauce. I like to have mine with a ketchup/Sriracha mixture.
I leave you with these beautiful photos of the dogs who make me so happy.
This is how I feel sometime around other people. This dog is blind and just listening and smiling.
This is how I feel after a vacation…this is why they say you need a vacation from a vacation.