While I was in Rwanda for work (don’t forget – we’re hiring!), one of the things Peter asked over and over again was, “What is Rwandan food like?”
Unfortunately my answer for the bulk of the trip was a very unexciting and very vague, “Well…I’m not sure.”
The flavors, spices, and ingredients used in the dishes of many countries I’ve visited in Asia start to become familiar when traveling. Thai food? Spicy. Filipino food? Vinegar-y.
However, I found it difficult to pinpoint a way to describe Rwandan food. I absolutely need someone to show me the ins and outs of Rwandan cuisine on my next trip (any volunteers?), but from what I experienced, Rwandan food is fairly simple and fairly starchy. Sweet potatoes, cassava, rice, beans, peas, and plantains are popular. If you don’t eat carbs, you better start!
But the food in Kigali is also quite international and you can certainly see the influence of other cultures past and present that has made its way in to the country’s cuisine. Case in point – brochette.
Like a satay or kebab, a brochette is a skewer of delicious, savory grilled meat and vegetables. Goat is popular in Rwanda, but so are beef, chicken, and fish.
Keeping in line with the simple flavors of other Rwandan dishes, Peter and I grilled our own brochette using sirlion beef, marinated in a quick tomato sauce mixture and alternating layers of onion and bell peppers.
The tomato marinade gives the brochette a rich red color. You can serve your brochette with a side of fried or baked potatoes or opt for an extra serving of vegetables. I also opted to give my brochette a tiny dip in the extra hot, hot sauce I brought back from Sapa, Vietnam.
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 spicy red chilis
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb sirloin beef, cut in to 0.5 inch cubes
- 1 onion, quartered and layers separated
- Bell peppers, cut in to slices
- Add marinade to food processor and mix until smooth
- In a large bowl combine sirloin and half of marinade
- Let marinate, covered, for 1 hour
- Thread sirloin chunks on to pre-soaked skewers, alternating between onion slices and bell pepper slices
- Heat barbecue grill to high heat
- Add skewers and cook for 3-4 minutes
- Brush skewers with marinade
- Flip skewers and again, brush with marinade
- Continue cooking until cooked through (approximately an additional 3-4 minutes)