Nyama Choma

Servings : Serves 4-6

Nyama choma literally means “grilled meat” in Swahili. It is a fire-roasted kind of grilled meat (in most cases goat meat although beef and chicken can also be used) that is very famous in Kenya, Tanzania and some other parts of East Africa.


  • 1 kg goat meat cut into thick chunks (you can use cuts of chicken or beef instead, but best results are with goat meat)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 heaped tbsp. crushed ginger
  • 1 heaped tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 heaped tbsp. grated raw papaya (acts as a tenderiser)
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped dhania
  • 1 tsp. paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. curry powder or dhana jeera (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) salt (soy sauce is normally salty, add salt with caution)


Clean the meat and pat the pieces dry. Do not trim off any excess fat, that helps keep the meat moist and tender.

Put the meat in a plastic or glass dish. Then blend the rest of the ingredients and pour the mixture onto the meat. Massage it into the meat well, then cover the dish and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

When ready to cook, remove the meat dish from the fridge at least an hour earlier to bring the meat back to room temperature. Light up a charcoal grill until all the coals are well lit and are covered with a white layer of ash. Put the meat onto skewers or place a wire mesh over the coals and then place the meat directly on top of the fire and allow it to cook until the meat has a bit of singe and colour, making sure to turn the meat regularly so that it is evenly cooked on all sides. Using a clean brush, baste the meat with some oil as it or some of the leftover marinade as it continues to cook to add flavour and prevent it from drying up during cooking. You can then either wrap the meat it in a double layer of foil (enclose the meat in a packet of foil) and place it on the grill so the inside continues to cook slowly or just continue to grill until cooked to your liking.

TIP: To prevent the meat from burning and to get the brown colour you want, regulate the heat by having a layer of ash on top of the charcoal. This will also prevent flare-ups when fat drips into the fire.

Once cooked, get a sharp knife and cut up the meat into bite sized pieces. Then serve with fries or ugali, plus some kachumbari and spicy hot pilipili sauce.


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