During my time in Kigali, there have been several weeks on end where my work in the city was at a standstill. I was constantly looking for new activities that wouldn’t break the bank, and much to the delight of my roommates, happily found cooking as an alternative and cost-effective hobby.
When I began experimenting with a multitude of recipes, I ran into some serious supply chain issues. Where was the maple syrup, the truffle salt, the greek yogurt! (Yes yes, we can all agree I’m the worst.) I love this city immensely, but it can definitely sometimes be tricky to locate several hard-to-find ingredients that can make or break a dinner party, brunch, or just general weekday breakfast.
I’ve made it my mission over the last few years to put together a list of recipes that can be made easily in the city without buying out half of Nakumatt and Frulep’s international selections. A cookbook filled with Kigali-specific recipes came out a few years ago, but included below (for free! Because I love you all dearly) are three incredibly tasty recipes of my own creation suited to brunch that you should probably start making immediately.
Vegetarian Egg Strata
You can only eat oily omelettes with green peppers, pay for brunches at Heaven, and eat bananas with peanut butter so many times. This vegetarian egg strata is pretty cheap to assemble for the amount of mouths it can feed (twelve servings!), delicious, and you can make it in advance! So feel free to go party on Friday and then host brunch on Saturday like the queens and kings you are.
- 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 pepper (red or green, depends on how fancy you feel), finely chopped
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- If you have another vegetable you’re trying to use, throw it on in!
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg (could also add a dash of cinnamon)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (with a little dash extra)
- 1 loaf of one day or two day old bread from Brood
- 1 big package of feta or goat cheese (depending on what is available)
- 2 cups of grated cheese (choose between parmesan, cheddar, whatever is available)
- 9 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups of milk
- Saute the zucchini, pepper, and onions in oil until soft. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for another minute.
- In a baking dish that is 13×9 (or really whatever size you have that is big enough), coat the bottom and sides with a small dash of oil. Layer half of the bread cubes, vegetable mixture, and cheese. Repeat the layers.
- Take a small bowl and whisk together the eggs, milk, and nutmeg. Pour over the top of the layers. Cover with tinfoil or cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 (or just a medium / high setting if you don’t have an oven that has numbers). Remove from the fridge 30 before baking and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let it sit for 10 minutes to firm up, then cut.
- Enjoy! Eat! Never eat outside the house again!
Banana Cinnamon Muffins
Time for something sweet! If you’re feeling frisky, feel free to add a little spread of nutella to go with these guys. They melt in your mouth already, but it is never not the right time to eat nutella.
Ingredients for the Muffins
- 2 small mashed and very ripe bananas
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 and 2/3 cups of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Ingredients for the Topping
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, or medium/high setting. Grease bottoms of a muffin pan or cups with a little bit of oil or butter. Or use baking cups!
- With a whisk beat the 2/3 cup sugar, oil, and eggs. Add in the bananas and vanilla, and stir in everything else of the muffin ingredients list until just mixed. Put the batter into the cups.
- Bake for between 16 and 22 minutes, or whenever an inserted toothpick cups out clean.
- Remove from the oven and place onto cooling rack.
- Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. When cool enough to handle, dip the muffin tops into melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mix.
- Enjoy! Rejoice! Smear yourself in cinnamon sugar butter!
There is so much passionfruit in Kigali! And that is wonderful, and we’re all very proud of the fact you mix up some passionfruit with bananas and pineapple to bring to brunch parties every once in a while, but how about we take our love affair with passionfruit to the next level? This jam is sweet but not cloying, tart but not sour and goes perfectly on any kind of baked good, slice of bread, or with yogurt. There was a period of time when I was boiling vats of this jam at least once a week, and my friends here can attest it was quite the addictive concoction.
Unfortunately, because of the lack of berries in the country, making jam and buying jam can be tricky business due to the lack of natural pectin within much of Rwanda’s native fruit. Pectin is the stuff that’s in the skin of blueberries (and other similar fruit) that gives the jams you love a really good consistency. However, with a little extra work, it is quite simple to extract pectin from the passionfruit shell and have a wonderfully smooth and thick jam.
- 10 passionfruits (you can always double the recipe and make even more)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3/4 cup of sugar (or less – you can mix and match with the honey)
- 1/4 cup of local honey (any honey – truly!)
- Wash the passionfruits. Cut them open and scoop out the seeds and juice to put in a tupperware container. Put the container aside in the fridge.
- Take half of the amount of shells you have left over, and put them in a pot of water ready to boil. Fill the pot just until the tops of the shells are covered. Boil between 30 and 40 minutes, waiting until the shells turn soft and translucent. Drain and cool the shells, keeping aside one cup of the boiled liquid.
- When the shells are cool, scoop out the inner flesh and discard the paper-like skins. Put the insides into a blender (or food processor – what ever you have) and blend until you achieve a smooth puree.
- Put the puree, the seeds/juice in the fridge, the reserved liquid, lemon juice, sugar, and honey in a big pot ready to heat.
- Stir over medium or so heat until all the sugar is dissolved and things are starting to mix properly. After the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for ten to fifteen minutes with only a little stirring.
- Turn off the stove, and skim the thin layer on top of the surface off the jam and into the trash.
- Let it cool before putting it in clean jars, and careful that it isn’t hot as it would shatter a cold jar.
- Now eat! Enjoy! Be merry!
I hope you all like these recipes! I promise – your brunch is going to go spectacularly. Let me know in the comments how these recipes work for you, or if you’re looking for any additional recipes! Pour out a mimosa for me or better yet, shoot me an invite! Muryohe Rwe!