Kenyan Food Served In Easton PA
While others may be focused on bacon on Saturday, First Presbyterian Church of Easton, 333 Spring Garden St., will be serving up a full traditional Kenyan menu. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $8 for students, and is free for kids under 5.
It’s the third year the Easton church has offered a Kenyan dinner, thanks to an idea from two families in the church who once called Kenya home.
Maggie Muthoka and Anthony and Sherrie Moki brought the idea to the church in 2011. Muthoka says it was a way to share her love of cooking, and highlight the recipes she grew up with in Kenya (which she left 20 years ago).
“Anytime you bring food, people will respond,” Muthoka says. “We can prepare a Kenyan dinner and invite our community members to be in on the tradition.”
Apart from being delicious, Muthoka, of Easton, says the dinner is a way to celebrate the diversity of the church and community.
Not familiar with Kenyan cuisine?
Noralee Manzek, of Bethlehem, says “The food is not a lot different than what most people are used to.”
“(It’s) familiar foods with a new blend of flavors,” says Manzek, who is a member of the church and helps to organize the dinner.
Dishes draw flavor from cumin, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, curry and coconut milk. There’s also a lot of cream, garlic, bay leaves and lots of veggies.
The dinner menu will be set up as a buffet, allowing people to either fill a plate or a take-out container with the following:
- Samosas: mildy spicy, beef-filled, fried appetizers
- Kachumbari: a fresh salad of chopped peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, lemon and salt
- Chapatti: whole wheat flatbread
- Cardamom Chicken: sautéed chicken breast, marinated with cardamom pods and served with a coconut sauce
- Mchuzi ya Nyama: Beef stew with potatoes and carrots
- Ugali: Cornmeal mush
- Coconut Ndengu: Green peas in coconut milk
- Kabeji: sautéed cabbage
- Sukuma Wiki: sautéed collard greens with onions
- Mandazi: Kenyan doughnuts
Guests will also find Basmati rice and Pili-pili (tomato and jalapeno-based hot sauce) to add to dishes. Ice cream, doughnuts (mandazi), Kenyan coffee and Chai Masala (ginger tea with spices) will be served for dessert.
Manzek says the dinner usually nets 80-100 visitors, and reservations are recommended. Church volunteers spend two days prepping and cooking for the event.
It’s one of many culinary fundraisers the church offers – a Robert Burns supper, cod dinner, fish and chips meal and Hungarian night, among them. Money raised from the dinners supports the mission of the church.
Manzek encourages anyone curious about the cuisine to come out “To learn about a different culture, to meet members of our congregation and to enjoy an evening of fellowship and good food.”
“People don’t have to try everything. They can pick what they like,” Manzek says. “I don’t think you’ll find anything spicy – except the hot sauce, which is optional.”
Muthoka says it’s a wonderful feeling to see her church community embrace the dinner.
“People’s faces light up when they talk about it,” Muthoka says.