Viazi Ulaya….. it took me the longest time to figure out what this was. I knew it was some kind of potato but which one exactly… now that was the BIG question. We are so used to referring to our potatoes in Kenya as waru or just plain viazi. After some bit of Googling I found out that it’s a direct translation of the “foreign potatoes” or “viazi vya kutoka ng’ambo ama ulaya.” I was so jazzed!! I then thought that calling my dish viazi ulaya had a certain ring to it, almost making the food taste that much better than if I had just called it potato casserole.
Another thing I wanted was to amplify the flavours from what I am used to, which is basically making the dish into a stew and serving it. Baking it was a good option in my opinion because once the cooking liquids had evaporated the flavours became that much more concentrated! YUMMM!! FYI baking is kuoka in Swahili… now you know what the title means..
The beauty about this dish is that you can eat it as is, meaning it’s a complete meal on its own and does not need any accompaniments. However, you can brighten or awaken it even more by serving it with a fresh and vibrant vegetable salad, rice or even chapati.
You can play up with different ingredients to get different flavour dimensions. I know some people will go for cheese which is perfectly acceptable. Another thing you should remember is that your vegetables should be chopped in large chunks otherwise they will disappear into your casserole dish.
- 100 ml Barbecue sauce
- 3 large pureed tomatoes
- 4 medium sized potatoes – pre boiled, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 Large onion thinly sliced
- 1 Large carrot sliced on the bias
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2″ ginger finely minced
- A bunch of dhania (coriander)
- 750g beef cut into 2-3 inch chunks
- 700 ml beef brith or water
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Enough plain wheat flour to coat the beef pieces
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- Dust the beef lightly with the wheat flour and add freshly cracked black pepper.
- Pre heat vegetable oil in your sufuria and once it comes to temperature add the floured beef and sear till all sides are browned but not cooked through.
- To the same oil add the onions but keep aside about a quarter of them for use later.
- Once onions turn translucent add ginger and garlic, cook for about a minute to release their fragrance and oils.
- Crack black pepper into the dish and then return the browned beef in to the sufuria along with all its juices and mix well.
- Add the pureed tomatoes and leave to simmer for five minutes and thicken.
- Pour in your beef broth or water, reduce heat and leave to simmer for 45 minutes until tender.
- Add the cloured bell peppers and carrots, mix them and simmer for about three minutes to heat them through but not cook them fully.
- To your baking dish add the potatoes and then pour out the beef mixture over them.
- Sprinkle dhania and remaining onion on top of the dish.
- Pour in the barbecue sauce and mix all the ingredients until they are well incorporated.
- Finally add butter and bake at 200C for 30 minutes before turning on the broiler at 250C for 10 minutes for the top to brown up beautifully and become slightly charred.