top of page

Nyama Choma – A Delicacy of East Africa

My children sometimes grow tired of eating the normal Bengali cuisine, leading to frequent food-related tantrums at home. The elder one is a foodie and the younger one tries her hand in cooking. They often prod me now and then to prepare the delicacies of the countries I grew up in. This made me fish out my mom's recipe diary a couple of years back. The first item listed as Nyama Choma. And memories rushed in. Nyama Choma is the Swahili for grilled meat. It is the most popular non-vegetarian dish of Kenya and one of my most favorite. My friend's grandmother was an expert in the preparation of this and she could cook different variants of it. Whenever she prepared Nyama Choma she used to invite all her granddaughter's friends in the neighborhood. The aroma and the taste are unforgettable.

"Well, I can start with this one," I told myself. My better half was a little apprehensive. He declared that the following day he would order his meal from Swiggy. Not to be daunted by negativity, I along with my little ones went ahead with the preparation. At the end of the day, my husband did not have to call Swiggy.

I cooked it a few more times, but, unfortunately, I do not have any pictures right now of the dish. Hence, taking help from The recipe is simple but the cooking may be time-consuming.


Lamb (Nyama ya kondoo)/ Mutton (Nyama ya mbuzi) – 1 kg.

Ginger – 1.5 tablespoon crushed

Garlic – 1.5 tablespoon crushed

Onion – 2 onions chopped, cumin, paprika and, chilies.

Lemon juice/ lime juice – 1 (You may also use pureed tomato instead).

Paprika powder – 1 tablespoon.

Raw papaya grated – 1.5 tablespoon crushed.

Sunflower oil (Don’t try mustard oil. It will spoil the taste) – ¼ cup

Salt to taste.

Marinating the Meat

Put garlic, ginger, onion, lemon juice, oil, cumin, paprika, grated raw papaya, and chili in the blender and make a smooth paste. Put the washed and cleaned meat in a bowl and pour the marinade on top. Mix well and leave for 2 – 3 hours. However, I prefer marinating the meat overnight, especially if it is lamb.


If you had marinated overnight, take out the bowl and allow it to come to room temperature. At home in Nairobi, my mother used to prepare in the electric oven. You can also use a barbeque grill. I had used the microwave and it took considerable time for the meat to become tender. In case you intend to use the microwave, the meat should be marinated overnight. Keep grilling until the meat is brown and tender.

In Kenya, we used to serve Nyama Choma with salad, mashed potatoes, and boiled kidney beans.

1 Comment

Jul 01, 2021

Will have to try this recipe..🙂🙂

bottom of page