It’s that time of the year when the world celebrates the birth of Jesus, son of God! Well, not everyone is so religious or Christian, but this festive season cuts across most religions, cultures and beliefs! People around the world celebrate Christmas in their different ways. To some people, it’s time to eat and drink, time to share, time to sacrifice, or may be time to relax after 12 months of hard work!
In Uganda, we celebrate in so many ways but above all, there’s always plenty of food and drink for everyone! Uganda has got over 50 tribes, speaking different languages yet very united!
From Adventure Consults’ chef corner, we present to you the famous traditional dish “Luwombo” which is very popular in central Uganda from where it originated. Overtime other Bantu speaking tribes in Uganda started preparing and eating Luwombo in their homes, on big days and No question, it’s now a special dish all over the country.
The word Luwombo has no English version/interpretation like most words, so please learn it and pronounce it right (loo-war-mbo) . The science behind its preparation is usually ignored because the focus is on the mouth-watering taste that people get from eating it. Here are simple guidelines outlining preparation process, ingredients, and how to serve it – purely Ugandan!
Remember, it can be Chicken, beef, Goat or groundnut paste luwombo, the choice is yours. In this special Adventure Consults’ Uganda dish, we will go for beef/meat luwombo.
- Step 1; Get your meat well dried by roasting it on open fire so that it can get that special flavor and taste. If you want to to make the meat taste extra special you can marinate it with onions, garlic and some cooking powder. After it marinates then roast.
- Step 2: Chop the roasted meat into pieces then after, get banana leaves (must be fresh, young with no any cut in between), smoke them and put in a bowl or saucepan. The essence for smoking the banana leaves is to make it easy for the steam to get to the ingredients easily.
If you are making Luwombo for about 3 – 4, people you can cook it in one banana leaf alone but if it for more than 5, use half a banana leaf so that everyone has their own “Mpombo” source.
- Step 3: Get a bowl where you put grated tomatoes or finely chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes should be peeled to avoid their skin from cooking and giving the ready Luwombo a funny look. You can then add finely chopped onions and salt to taste. You mix them in water and then pour onto the meat.
- For the meat Luwombo, you should always use little water because the meat produces its own which makes the sauce tastier.
- Step 4: Fold the banana leaves in between with the beef and all ingredients in the middle. Place your fingers in the middle and bring the bananas close to a middle point from left to centre and then right to centre.
- Step 5: Get a banana fibre and tie it around the folded banana leaves. The fibre should go around two times but it should not be too tight. This is because the steam that cooks the Luwombo needs to escape. After tying you should also leave a small knot so that it is easy to open.
- Lastly; Once all is tied up, neat and ready, ensure your saucepan’s base is well laid out with well cut and washed stems from the banana stem or you can use the mid rib of the banana leaves. After laying them, add another banana leaf to act as a base for your mpombos. You should also add water up to the level of this base to produce the steam to cook your Luwombo. Then you put your well tied mpombos and cover them with another banana leaf to trap the steam.
- For your Luwombo to get ready it should take about 2 to 3 hours. Less of that, it will be ready but it won’t be as nice. You should also keep adding water to ensure that the base doesn’t burn.
- Finally; When the Luwombo is ready, you can serve it with matooke (mashed plantain), rice or any food of your choice. The luwombo is best served in the banana leaves to enjoy the scent and keep it hot.
Try out Luwombo this Christmas and enjoy a health steamed source without oil! If you can’t do it yourself, we will ensure you taste it during your Safari with us.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Adventure Consults!