Blogging for local recipes in Kenya

The growing blogging community in Kenya is starting to get noticed across the continent. Fitted with a yearly award programme, under the Blog Awards, writers in Kenya now have the added motivation to populate the internet with local content.

Cooking blogs have begun to fill local sites, giving Kenyans a chance to learn different recipes from different local regions in Kenya and beyond. In the past this was not possible without physical travel and expensive cookbooks.

Filled with sumptuous pictures, the food blogging platforms have been a favourite with internet users in Kenya. Many sites like Pendo La Mama (‘Mother’s love’ in Swahili), Healthy Living Kenya, All Kenyan Recipes and Wendy Wahito have spiced up the internet with refreshing recipes leaving the users spoilt for choice.

For Njuru Mwangi, founder of Sufuria (Swahili for ‘cooking pot’) and Samuel Karanja, the technology chief at the site, the success has been almost instant. The cooking site that was launched in February this year is already seeing 2,000 visitors every month and growing.

“Our initial idea was to have an African only recipe site but we find that people want to learn other dishes as well. So what we did we pivoted slightly but we have a bias on African recipes or African related recipes,” Mwangi told IDG Connect.

Mwangi also says they aim to teach other foreign dishes, like pizza, which can be cooked on the charcoal stoves used by most Kenyans.

“Our recipes are from chefs who must be approved by the team. This is to make sure that every recipe you find on our site is working and not just something someone made up from the blues. We insist on quality as our key driver,” Mwangi adds.

“We want to be Africa’s Stack Overflow of the kitchen, where you will be able to find local solutions to the local kitchen queries that anyone would have,” says Mwangi.

With this in mind the company opened a forum where users can also discuss recipes among themselves. Mwangi explains that the internet has made it much easier for people to access what were once expensive cookbooks.

“It’s getting more affordable as the data becomes less and less expensive for people,” he says.

“We also see that it will be possible for people to view archives from what others shared previously. We will be offering more than what you can get in one cookbook. The other advantage is that you will be able to interact with others in case you need some clarification.”

For Jesca Gatuiri Mwangi her passion for food blogging was realised in May 2012 when she launched Leo Tunapika (‘today we are cooking’ in Swahili).

“Local food blogs are more relatable when it comes to the ingredients used,” she adds. “As a food blogger I strive to share recipes with ingredients that you can easily get from your local grocer. Another thing I have noticed is that local food bloggers also recognise, due to the busy nature of people, it’s best to share quick and easy fixes.”

She adds that her blog has been a big hit, with many readers giving feedback on the success of the recipes. 

Gatuiri has included the use of powerful photography to show step-by-step preparation of the various delights in her blog. This helps the users visualise what the process should be and how the final product should look like.

Her blog was nominated for the Best Food Blog in the Blog Awards in 2015. Although Pika Chakula (‘cook food’ in Swahili) won the category, Gatuiri is confident of the impact she is bringing in the culinary spheres.

Njuru Mwangi of hopes to build on his success and start how-to videos on his platform that will help users actually see the cooking process.

The development of these sites doesn’t just help different Kenyan tribes in preparing different cultural and urban foods, but also export our own home grown recipes to the wider continent and beyond.

This is a classic example of how Africans can nurture their long forgotten traditions by using the internet to reach out to many who would like to get in touch with their roots. 


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Vincent Matinde

Vincent Matinde is an international IT Journalist highlighting African innovations in the technology scene.

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