Brochettes and Potatoes, the National Dish
Rwandans love their Primus, but drinking it alone for hours induces hunger. To remedy this problem, they have the “brochette,” which we refer to as a “kebab.” Served with brochettes are sautéed potatoes. Together with beer, they make the perfect filling, non-nutritive meal.
You can find brochettes in every corner of the country. Depending on if you buy them at a little village shack or a grand hotel, prices can vary from 100 Frw (20 cents) to 1,500 ($3) for each. From my experience, the village shack brochettes are the best. For your enjoyment (and experimentation), here are what I consider to be the best recipes for brochettes and potatoes!
You can make these with beef, but why would you? They wouldn’t be authentic. Go to your local Halal market and ask the butcher for tender pieces, without gristle or tendon. If you like the fatty parts, you can use them—as for me, I prefer just the meat!
1 lb. goat meat, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 onion, diced into big pieces
5 fresh Roma tomatoes, crushed
½ small can tomato puree
2 tsp salt
Pili-pili chilies (in absence of pili-pili, you can use Tabasco, but I assure you that the taste isn’t nearly as good! You can also order pili-pili oil online)
To prepare the brochettes, alternate between one piece of goat meat and 2-3 flakes of the diced onion. Lay skewer over the grill, brushing vegetable oil over the brochette. Cook for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the Roma tomatoes, some of the onions (more finely diced), pili-pili (to taste), salt, and the tomato puree. Add water and a tbsp of oil to make a medium-thickness sauce (if it’s too thick, it will taste like a tomato brochette—if it’s too thin, the brochettes won’t turn a nice reddish color).
Brush the sauce on the brochettes 2-3 times while roasting. Brush oil on brochettes again. Remove from grill when brochettes are just cooked through (about 7-8 minutes total).
Serve with potatoes and with a pile of salt and chopped pili-pili in oil. Makes 4-5 brochettes.
Like brochettes, there are a million-and-one recipes, but I consider this one to be the best. The brilliant thing is that they are made with the same sauce as the brochettes!
Baby Idaho potatoes
Tomato sauce, recipe above
In a pan on the grill, heat 5 tbsp vegetable oil. Slice the potatoes into ½ inch slices and brush sauce on both sides. Add to the pan when oil is hot.
Fry the potatoes on both sides. Drain oil and brush more sauce on both sides of the potatoes. Let simmer a little longer in the pan.
Potatoes are ready when exterior is light brown and crispy and the interior is soft!
**My beer recommendation is a medium beer, like Amstel. If you can find it (you might have luck at the Brickskeller), Mutzig is my preference!