Thursday, 27 February 2014
‘MUTURA’ DELICACY AMONG THE KIKUYU OF CENTRAL KENYA
Mutura is a popular sausage-like delicacy among the Kikuyu tribe of Central Kenya which is prepared by stuffing the large intestines of either a goat or a cow with a mixture of ingredients. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘African sausage’.
The ingredients used in preparing this delicacy include minced meat and blood from the slaughtered animal, leafy onions, pepper and salt to taste.
The preparation of ‘mutura’ begins when the animal is being slaughtered. The spilling blood is collected in a calabash or a sufuria and kept aside. Some little salt is added to the blood to prevent it from clotting.
After the animal has been skinned and the various parts separated, the mutura expert meticulously separates the large intestines (mutura) from the small intestines (mara). There are two large intestines in the animal. The wider and shorter of the two is known as ‘mutura wa kiboroboro’ and is very easy to and fast stuff while the narrower and longer one which is also believed to be sweeter is known as ‘mutura wa kageri’ and is a little difficult and time consuming to stuff. The two large intestines are then kept aside to await the preparation of the stuffing mixture.
The expert then goes to the various limbs of the slaughtered animal mostly the neck (ngingo), the lower parts of the ribs (hutiro) as well as the back (mugongo) and other unpopular parts like the lungs (mahuri) e.t.c., from which he is able to gather enough pieces of meat to stuff the ‘mutura’.
The meat to be stuffed inside the ‘mutura’ requires chopping into very small pieces for it to go through the opening. In the traditional Kikuyu society unlike today there were no meat mincing machines and so to chop the meat into small pieces almost to the size of the minced meat of today, the expert used a sharp panga and a tree stump (gitiri). This is still in use today as ‘mutura’ prepared using this method of chopping is believed to be sweeter than that made from machine-minced meat.
The expert places the pieces of meat onto the tree stump and by hitting the meat against the stump using the sharp edge of the panga, the meat is chopped into very small pieces which can easily get through the ‘mutura’ during stuffing. The chopped meat is then put into a sufuria with a little water and salt and cooked until soft and tender. Some leafy onions and pepper to taste are added to the meat and allowed to cook together for a few minutes.
Once the mixture is well cooked, it is removed from the fire and the raw blood which had been kept aside during slaughtering is now added and mixed thoroughly.
The mixture is now ready for stuffing into the ‘mutura’. The expert identifies the wider opening of the large intestines (mutura) which he had kept aside earlier and starts the process of slowly stuffing it with the mixture. He has to be careful because if he forces the mixture quickly into the intestines it can rapture and mess the delicacy, he ensures that with every little stuffing he adds a little fluid mainly the blood which was added to the mixture so that everything moves smoothly.
He should also not squeeze too much of the mixture into the ‘mutura’ since if it is too full, it will rapture during roasting. The stuffing must be done when the mixture is still hot because when it gets cold stuffing and squeezing in becomes more difficult and the’ mutura’ can easily rapture.
After he has finished with the stuffing, the’ mutura’ can either be roasted directly on the charcoal oven or it can first be put into the boiling soup where the head and the lower legs (mathagiro) are cooking.
Boiling it for a few minutes allows the raw blood to cook and hold together the mixture so that it doesn't disintegrate during the slicing of the ‘mutura’ when serving.
Other people however prefer to see the red blood as they eat hence they roast without boiling. It is also possible to prepare ‘mutura’ without any blood at all for those people who are not comfortable consuming blood.
The ‘mutura’ is then placed on a roasting charcoal oven with very little fire where it is turned over and over until it is golden brown.
Anthony Chege, Librarian NMK