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Kenyan Nyama Choma Recipe

Kenyan Nyama Choma Recipe

Nyama Choma is a traditional Kenyan dish consisting primarily of meat, with goat being the most common, but can also be made with beef, lamb, chicken or even fish. The meat is slathered in a mix of herbs and spices then grilled over an open flame. It is usually served with vegetables and ugali.

Ugali is a thick cornmeal porridge. Common vegetables sides include kachumbari which is a Kenyan tomato and onion salad. While not very tender, Nyama Choma it is enjoyed for its pure meat flavor. All parts of the animal are used so its not unusual for one serving of Nyama Choma to contain an assortment of meat pieces from the animals neck to its tail.

Nyama Choma is popular in other East African countries too, namely Tanzania and Uganda. It is a common street food and variations include a version made moist by basting during grilling.

In coastal regions, fish is more commonly used. Most recipes will contain more recent additions to Nyama Choma namely the use of herbs and spices and cooking methods that are more suitable for modern kitchens.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Nyama Choma originated from the semi nomadic Massai tribe of Kenya who live by herding cattle and goats and whose diet primarily consists of meat and milk. Traditionally, if the meat the seasoned before cooking, only salt was used. Nyama Choma is Kiswahili and its literal translation means grilled meat.

Nyama Choma with salad and starch.

Kenyan Nyama Choma Recipe

Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Nyama Choma is a traditional dish from Kenya. It consists primarily of meat, with goat being the most common, but can also be made with beef, lamb, chicken or fish.


  • Goat meat - 5.5 lbs
  • Garlic - 10 cloves
  • Whole garlic (cut across in the middle) - 1 bulb
  • Red or white onion (large) - 1
  • Lemon (juiced) - 1 whole
  • Ginger - 1/3 inch piece
  • Oil - ½ cup
  • Cumin (ground) - 1 Tbsp
  • Paprika (ground) - 2 Tbsp
  • Salt - 1 Tbsp
  • Stock cubes - 2
  • Rosemary (fresh) - 6 sprigs
  • Bird-eye chillis (de-seeded) - 2
  • Water - 2 tbsp


  1. Combine the garlic, ginger, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, stock cubes, rosemary and chili in a blender or food processor.
  2. Pulse briefly to cut into smaller pieces yet maintain some texture.
  3. Make 2-inch slits on the surface of the meat.
  4. Toss the meat in half of the marinade, reserve the remaining marinade for basting.
  5. Massage the marinade into the meat.
  6. Wrap in foil and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  7. Remove the marinated goat meat from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
  8. Prepare and heat the grill to high.
  9. To prevent sticking, oil a piece of foil.
  10. Sear the meat on the grill for 3 minutes on each side, then transfer it to the oiled foil.
  11. Top the meat with the reserved marinade.
  12. Add two more foil layer underneath the meat.
  13. Place two sprigs of rosemary and the bulb of garlic on top of the goat leg.
  14. Cover the meat loosely on top with foil so it resembles a tent.
  15. Add water to a baking tray and lay the meat on it
  16. Transfer to the grill, ensuring it is at medium-low heat.
  17. Grill, turning from time to time, for 1.5 hours.
  18. Uncover the meat, baste then grill for another 15-30 minutes until browned and the juices run clear.
  19. Once cooked, transfer the meat to a tray and allow it to rest for 10-20 minutes before carving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 609Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 1384mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 77g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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