Thursday, October 6, 2016

Family Home Evening Chapotes and Flowering Bananas

Kenyans eat a lot of chapotes, which are like a tortilla but heavier.  Each cook decides how much sugar, water, salt, and oil to mix with the flour, so chapotes made by different people taste a bit different.  They are not my favorite food but the best I've had were made by an American missionary, Elder Hales, who learned from a Kenyan woman.  When we had Family Home Evening last Monday night with the missionaries, Elder Hales and Elder Wafula taught us how to make them.

On the Family Home Evening note . . . one home evening Elder Wafula told us about when he was a new member of the church and had a very special experience one Sunday.  He had been fasting all day (we fast one Sunday each month and give the money we would have spent on food to the church  to help the needy) and he was very hungry and ready to break his fast.  He went home and there was absolutely no food in the house.  What to do?  He wanted to keep the Sabbath Day holy and not shop on Sunday but he was so hungry . . .  He prayed about what to do and soon a lady came to the door saying she felt prompted to bring him some food.  What a quick answer to prayer!  Thank you, Elder Wafula, for sharing that special experience with us.

Talking about food . . . bananas are seasonal depending on the rain.  It's been very dry lately so it's a bit harder to find them.  But right down our road there are some huge banana plants so I took pictures one day this week.

Elder Wafula is cooking a meat sauce to eat with our chapotes.
Elder Hales demonstrates the art of kneading chapotes and adding just the right amount of water.
Then you roll it out flat and then you roll it as for cinnamon buns.

Sister Msane loves to learn how to make new things so she was anxious to get her hands greasy.

We got right into the act. You cut the long "cinnamon roll" into pieces and then form them into balls.  Then roll them flat, the thickness depending on what you want.  I prefer mine thinner.

Then fry the chapotes with a little bit of oil.  Some people fry them with lots of oil but I don't think that's very healthy -- even if you use healthy canola oil.

Voila!  The finished product.  We enjoyed a meal of beef and carrot stew that you were supposed to dip into with the chapote.  Another meal you can eat with your hands.  My mother would be appalled!  (She was appalled when tacos were first introduced to her!  We would always say, "But Mom, fingers were made before forks."  And she would say, "But yours weren't.")

Banana flower and growing bananas.  Whenever I see these flowers I am reminded of the time that I tried growing a banana plant in my home in Alberta, Canada.  We were so excited when a flower appeared; we were sure we would soon have bananas.  Our small daughter Michelle was climbing on the couch one day (naughty, naughty) and she slipped and to catch herself she grabbed on to the banana plant, breaking the flower right off.  So much for the bananas.  LeRon was doubtful about it from the start.

Here's another banana plant further down the street.  Interesting.

Then I was in Carrefour last night and they were actually selling banana flowers.  I asked a clerk how you cooked them but she didn't know.

So I asked google and I learned that they can be cooked as a vegetable or eaten raw in a salad.  It takes 45 minutes to peel and prepare it.  You peel back each layer and pull out the flowers and save part of them and discard part of them.  You finally get to the core which is white and that is what you cut up for salad.  I don't think I'm going to do it but it was interesting.


  1. And this post was also interesting! You will have to cook an African dinner for me one day after you get home! I would like that!

  2. It's even almost the same name as the Indian flat bread that serves basically the same purpose. Chapatis. They look the same. They sound the same. Etc, etc. I wonder how that happened?