Traditional food in Kenya is helping me live my best plant-based life. It seems I accidentally made Swahili pancakes, aka Vibibi, back in 2019. How do you accidentally make something like this? I’d “messed up” the consistency for Vitumbua back then. And not wanting to waste a good vegetarian breakfast, I accidentally made Vibibi. Back then, I didn’t know anything about Kenya food recipes. Or any other East African recipes for that matter. This recipe will add to other brown rice meal ideas for those wanting to increase their nutritional factor by picking brown rice over white. If you are new here, we are on a quest to learn about Africa through food travel in the comfort of our homes. Subscribe to join the journey and dig in!
African recipes teach us about the world
Let me put aside the good vegetarian breakfast talk for a second and level with you. Hi there, I’m ThumpyRose and I used to know nothing about Kenya. Not to mention traditional food in Kenya. I only heard the name ‘Kenya’ from Americans who became excited when the Olympics were playing. They know I’m African (and assume I know details of Kenya) so they would mention stats and facts about Kenya or the fast Kenyan runner they love. This is what Americans enjoy. They will research something if they like it. Anyway, to be honest, I thought the Swahili language was a South African language. I’m not ashamed or afraid to mention this openly. And thanks to learning about Kenya food recipes, I am learning a lot about not only the country but East African recipes as a whole. Y’all, they have a good vegetarian breakfast. Speaking of, let’s get back to it.
Traditional food in Kenya
We love that Vibibi provides the option of brown rice meal ideas. You already know how we feel about rice and grains… we love them, and all their varieties!. Aside from Vibibi being a good vegetarian breakfast, we get to indulge in spices that are unfamiliar to those of us who grew up in West Africa (Liberia). Kenya food recipes offer plentiful ways and methods to use coconut, cardamon, and ginger. Some of us didn’t know East African recipes are lit. I find them to be gentle on the taste buds and nutritionally balanced. Traditional food used to carry a stigma of primitiveness but we are finding that traditional African food is pretty amazing, especially from a vegetarian African food perspective.
What makes good vegetarian breakfast?
For starters, eat something that will stick to your bones! I’ve had it with people who assume if you don’t eat meat, eggs, or fish, that means you will starve or die. No, not true! Take Vibibi as an example. It is made of rice, flour, coconut, and oily fat. Rice has good carbs, which the body needs, and the oil in which the Vibibi is pan-fried adds fat. One can increase the nutritional factor by using brown rice meal ideas to make this traditional Kenya food. Another good vegetarian breakfast example is Mandazi, we believe it is a balanced meal. Never mind the protein obsession from who knows where East African recipes are where health meets simple elegance. So Kenya food recipes are a good place to start.
What Does Vibibi Taste Like?
From the handful of East African recipes I’ve had, I can say I’m looking forward to eating more from the region. Vibibi tastes light (not heavy) and the coconut shreds add texture and flavor without overpowering the meal. And it pairs well with cardamom. Kenyan ancestors definitely knew what they were doing when they created this dish. Making Vibibi is as easy as one, two, three. It is a lazy foodie trifecta: Sweet, healthy, and relatively quick. I’d keep the rice-to-flour ratio as-is since there are many wheat flour dishes in Kenya food recipes.
Which Swahili recipe do you want next?
Now you know how to make Vibibi, so dazzle your loved ones and make this today! Tasting East African recipes teaches us the local culture and it adds to a good vegetarian breakfast. We highly suggest you look at Kenya food recipes if you want less fiery yet flavorful dishes. So this also makes Traditional food in Kenya suitable for many taste buds… And another upside, we can add this recipe to brown rice meal ideas. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Check out our Instagram page for real-life inspirations 😊.Thoughts? Questions? Comment below.
- 1 cups ground rice
- 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Half tbsp yeast (sub for baking powder)
- 2tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 cup of water
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- GMO-free Canola oil (Frying oil)
Traditional method: Some people use wash-soaked rice, drain the water away, and then puree the rice to make Vibibi the traditional Kenyan way. For this recipe, I used rice flour to speed up the process.
Put the rice flour and all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine. If you use the traditional method, add all the raw ingredients to a blender and puree till the mixture is crushed into very tiny pieces.
Next, put the mixture in a bowl, cover it up tightly, and allow it to sit in a dark warm corner for 30 minutes. This lets it puff up. Note: If you have the air conditioning on in your home, consider turning it off for this process or put the mixture in an area that is very warm. Once the Vibibi puffs up start the cooking process.
On medium heat, place a small non-stick pan to heat. Coat the pan with half a teaspoon of canola oil. Then, put a whole ladle full of mixture into the hot-oiled pan and cover it with a lid until it becomes golden brown. This could take 1-3 minutes depending on your stovetop or cookware. You’ll notice it is done when the edges become golden brown. Take off the lid and again put some half teaspoon of oil on the raw side and gently flip.
Note: This recipe is made with mostly rice and minimal flour so the pancake might break if you don’t handle it gently. Repeat this cooking and flipping with the remaining mixture.
That’s it! You’ve made Swahili pancakes, Vibibi, a good vegetarian breakfast. Enjoy them with a cup of Chai ya Mkandaa for breakfast or afternoon tea.
If you use raw rice, soak it overnight and blend it the next day. You may grind up rice & coconut together if you desire.
Use ½ cup of sugar if you have a high sweet tooth. Use 1/4 tsp of cardamon if you don’t like the flavor as much. I added half a teaspoon of cardamon since I like the flavor.