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The Ultimate Kenyan Grocery Shopping Guide

Having a well-stocked pantry is so calming, not only are you prepared for a mini apocalypse, but you will save yourself from the hassle of frequent grocery trips.

I hate it when I’m out of cooking oil at 11 p.m. and everywhere is closed. Also even if the supermarket was open I would impulse buy random things because I haven’t grown enough chest hairs to buy one item. The gorgeous cashier might just judge me

If you can relate to either of the situations, then you appreciate the peace of mind of being stocked up. 

Did I mention even if you go broke mid-month at least you will be having food? Well here is a guide on everything you need in your pantry and fridge at all times for your next grocery run.

Contents in this post

1. Dairy & Eggs

2. Bread & Bakery

3. Flours, Grains & Legumes

4. Rice

5. Meat & Fish

6. Condiments, Spreads & Sauces

7. Canned Foods

8. Green Groceries

9. Pasta & Noodles

10. Treats & Snacks

11. Hot Beverages

12. Water & Cold Beverages

13. Baking Essentials

14. Spices, Herbs & Salts

15. Cooking Oils

1. Dairy & Eggs

Dairy and eggs are the perfect duo, they just go together in literally everything, especially in the baking scene. To me personally, these two are the most versatile items that I just don’t run out of despite using both at least thrice a day.

Keep in mind that you only need milk and eggs as the basics here

a) Dairy Products

Fresh Milk, Fermented Milk / Buttermilk(Mala), Butter, Ghee, Cheese, Whipped Cream, 

Milk: Used in everything but primarily in making milk tea (chai), I don’t make milk tea very often and the reason is rather petty: Milk tea adds more dirty dishes that I could avoid by just making black tea. Now that is laziness Pro-Max, I know, I know, I know.

Milk can be used in various other ways like making pancake batter with eggs and flour, in cooking managu ( a traditional vegetable), and making coffee drinks like latte, mocha, flat white, etc. And importantly to me, chocolate milk(choccy milk). I still drink chocolate milk like a 5-year-old.

choccy milk

Butter: In case you wonder why restaurant food tastes good and different, the short answer is butter, the long answer is extra butter, lots of it. 

Butter shines in searing steaks, making velvety scrambled eggs, making a crust on sandwiches. It can be used in place of vegetable or olive oil sometimes or added as an extra for more richness. It should be stored refrigerated. 

Ghee: Ghee is simply clarified butter, butter is melted; heated to separate water then filtered, after that it remains liquid at all temperatures and doesn’t melt and solidify like butter. Ghee is used to make the softest chapatis in existence, my other use case is in making movie-theater-style popcorn. 

You could use liquid butter but it will make your popcorn soggy as it contains water. This is why ghee is the answer here. Ghee is expensive and limited in use cases so maybe keep it as a bonus, not a staple

Cheese: Cheese is normally a solid block made from curdling and churning milk from sheep’s, goat’s, or cow’s milk. It comes in different types common ones in Kenya; cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan

Used in a range of culinary masterpieces like pizza, loaded fries, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and salads.

Buttermilk / Mala: This is fermented milk that is sour and tangy, used traditionally to accompany ugali dishes, not limited to ugali, use it to wash down any dish as it improves digestion.

The other use case is in making fried chicken. Instead of using an egg wash to coat your chicken pieces to breadcrumbs, try using buttermilk as it tenderizes and moistens the chicken while giving it a remarkable crisp on completion 

Taste Test: Ranking The Best Yoghurt Brands in Kenya

b). Eggs

Probably the cheapest protein source, they can be used or prepared in several ways; Boiled, Fried, Scrambled, Poached, Omelette, Egg Stew, Chips Mayai among other ways

Boiled eggs are the most popular street food in Kenyaboiled egg is split into a hinge of haves and filled with a tomato-onion salad(kachumbari).

Fried eggs are a breakfast option, but not so common since we don’t appreciate runny yolks over here, instead for breakfast most opt for omelets. For me, it’s a soft scramble which took some time to get used to the texture.

Egg Stew is what is commonly used in lunch or dinner meals to accompany ugali, this delicacy duo is famously known as ugali-mayai or ugali with eggs

It is simply onions fried till translucent, tomatoes added and cooked till everything is broken down, then eggs and beaten and mixed to the mixture, cooked on low heat till semi-dry.

When shopping, make sure you get organic eggs free from antibiotics and growth hormones. They are slightly expensive but worth it

2. Bread & Bakery

As much as you can make your own bakery at home, it is not as convenient as just buying ready-made. Major supermarkets have a dedicated bakery section for major if not all of your needs.

Bread itself is like the basic one here, everything else is a bonus or a nice to have

Standard Bread: Here you can either buy from commercial brands e.g. Supa Loaf, Broadways, Festive, or United, the other option is buying in-house supermarket loaves. 

Can’t go wrong with either but I find in-house breads from the bakery section just better; richer, milkier, and generally fresher 

Artisan Breads: They offer unique tastes and textures and are a step up from the standard bread. Examples of specialty breads are: Wholegrain, brioche, sourdough, baguette, 

Buns: Hotdogs, and burger buns are common examples. Hotdog buns and elongated and sweeter in taste. They are split lengthwise for holding the hotdog sausage and sauces

Burger buns however are mostly circular in shape, except for Big Square which somehow defies the rules of the land and makes square burgers.

Cookies: Chocolate chip cookies are a personal favorite, I find that Subway somehow makes the best fresh cookies, soft and chewy. Java House also has some decent cookies that are heart-shaped and taste rich. Available in big supermarkets.

Wraps: Tortila, samosa pockets, filo pastry. Yes, you can buy these from the supermarket’s frozen section to make your work easier, but I would recommend you make your own at home, homemade versions will always be better.

Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are essential in making crispy outer layers, especially for fried chicken or fish, meatballs, or generally anything deep friable!

You can make breadcrumbs on your own tho. In case you have stale bread and you are wondering what to do with it, just toast it and then blend it till it is a fine powder, those are your bread crumbs, and store it in an airtight container.

3. Flours, Grains & Legumes

a) Flours

In Kenya, maize flour is the staple. Saying ‘flour’ by itself is translated as maize flour. The reason for this is because ugali the national dish is based on maize flour. The best maize flour brands include; Amaize, Raha Premium(Kavagara), Dola, and Soko 

Wheat flour is the secondary flour. There are different types of wheat flour; all-purpose, mandazi, chapati, self-raising, and atta mark. All-purpose flour is the general one and can be used to prepare everything that utilizes wheat flour

The rest are single purpose. Say mandazi flour, it is processed for the making of mandazi’s and so is chapati flour for making chapatis. Self-raising flour acts like mandazi flour since both have baking powder as a raising agent added to them. So yes, you can use mandazi and self-raising flours interchangeably

However, self-raising is generally processed for baking purposes to make goodies like; cakes, cookies, and pancakes. 

Atta mark is made from whole grain wheat flour and is used to make brown chapatis. 

Generally, the best wheat flour brands include; Ajab, EXE, Soko, and Pembe

Finally, in the chapter on flour, we have wimbi flour which is essentially sorghum flour. It is used in making a local thin porridge commonly known as uji. It can be offered in pure and sour versions. Mainstream brands to choose from are Famila and Soko

b). Grains & Legumes

Mostly packaged as pulses in dried form. Beans, peas, green grams, lentils, popcorn kernels, you name it.

I find beans and green grams to be the staples. Just boil them up then stew or curry them and accompany especially with rice dishes. 

Daawat, Pearl, Amana, S&S, Nutrameal and Butterfly brands are good for any of your dried grains solutions.

Beans are offered in different varieties including; Nyayo Beans, Wairimu Beans, Rosecoco Beans, Yellow Kidney Beans, Black Beans (Njahi), and more. 

Try each to find your favorite, obviously, my favorite is rosecoco (wink*)

4. Rice

There’s an article on 10 Popular rice brands in Kenya, Check it out if it is a topic you are curious about or interested in.

But in summary, you should know the different type of rice grain and their use cases, then you can narrow down to find which brand offers the best.

Generally, basmati is a multipurpose grain for making fluffy rice that cooks separately and doesn’t stick (even if you don’t cook it properly). Basmati is idiot-friendly and originates from India

Pishori is a shorter grain that is intensely aromatic, smells so good and the aroma by itself is an appetizer. Pishori if cooked properly (by washing the grains over and over) won’t stick  upon cooking

Long grain is from Pakistani and is generally the cheap budget option. It is notorious for sticking together due to its high starch content and the fact that the majority of its grains are broken. 

Jasmine is from Thailand and it resembles basmati, except that it has a slightly sweeter and smoother texture. Jasmine rice is ideal for Indian and Thai cuisines while Basmati excels at Indian Cooking

Check out the link to get the best brands for each rice grain. 

If you cook rice so often then I would recommend you invest in a rice cooker

5. Meat & Fish

a). Meat Cuts

If you have decent freezer space then just go crazy with a rack of goat ribs, pork, or beef. 

Beef especially the steaks is just a comfort dish, especially after a long week. 

Rough week at work because your co-worker Janet is making your life difficult by being entitled like she owns the company?  Maybe a rib-eye or a T-bone steak with a side of mashed potatoes may fix you. 

But hey, we are ordinary Kenyans and those steak cuts can be pricey, KSh 1,500 for a Kg is not that affordable. Steak is only bought when I feel like I really deserve a steak dinner after justifying to myself.

You can get the regular cuts for around KSh 500 a Kg and don’t forget the bones sold separately to make that delicious beef broth for dirt cheap. A Kg of bones is just under KSh 100

You can also get organs like Liver, and tripe for way cheaper. Tripe is matumbo, the stomach linings of cows and goats. You can also get minced meat from either of the meat types you choose. 

For chicken you can go whole or get a pack of different parts; say drumsticks or breasts. Get the whole chicken to get the best value, not only will you get more for your money, but you will also have leftover parts to make chicken broth.

b). Processed Meats

Processed meats are a health risk, WHO even classifies them as group 1 carcinogenic. A carcinogen is a substance that has the capability to cause cancer or increase it’s risk

Processed meats are just ordinary meat cuts but have been processed industrially by the addition of additives, preservatives color, and flavor enhancers

Processed meats include; smokies, sausages, hotdogs, bacon, ham, salami, and more

If processing is bad for our health, then why do they do it? Mostly to prevent spoilage, colors are added to make the meats appetizing, while maintaining a smooth texture.

Our bodies are not designed to break down those substances and after a while of accumulation they start affecting us

Yes, processed meats are appetizing and irresistible but consume them all in moderation, or skip them if you have to. Eating processed meats every day 

I could use some help in managing my bacon intake.

Farmer’s Choice is the recommended brand for best sausages, smokies, and bacon. For chicken and chicken products, Kenchic reigns supreme here.

c). Fish

You can either get this locally from the fishmonger or visit the frozen food section of your supermarket. To check for fresh fish, check the eyes, they should be shiny like a mirror, cloudy eyes suggest that the fish has been sitting there for a while

Here the common catches in Kenya, Tilapia, and Nile Perch (Mbuta) from the fresh waters. Salty water catches from the ocean include, King Fish, Parrot Fish, and others like. 

You can get exotic frozen cuts like salmon steaks from Carrefour and Chandarana. A Kg of Salmon is around KSh 2,200. Tuna is only available in the canned versions 

Prawns, Oysters, and Shrimp are other sea foods not necessarily fishes are also available, but they really cost a fortune.

6. Condiments, Spreads & Sauces

Sauces & Condiments
Sauces & Condiments

a) Spreads

These are creamy semi-solid substances applied to food especially breads by a knife or a spoon. Spreads add richness, sweetness, and enhance flavor

Recommended brands: 

  •  Margarine: Blue Band & Prestige
  •  Fruit jam: Zesta

Spreads are products that are spreadable on others to enhance taste and flavor, especially breads. Examples are fruit jams, margarine, butter, and chocolate spreads.

The most popular and almost default option here is margarine specifically the brand Blue Band. It has two versions, original and a low fat option. The original blue band is multi-purpose meaning it can be used for cooking and not just spreading. The low-fat option is only for spreading since it doesn’t melt well if used in actual cooking

Prestige is another margarine brand, it is an option if you don’t like Blue Band, and is the better choice if you want margarine for baking. It is not only cheaper but also has a neutral taste and smell compared to Blue Band; which has a weird signature taste and smell that will your bakery’s delicate flavors.

Jams are made from fruit or their pulps, sugar added and heated to consistency. Jams are not my favorite I don’t keep them as I find them so sugary that it is overwhelming. I have kind of outgrown them. 

Other options are chocolate spreads and the iconic Nutella which is a hazelnut spread. 

The chocolate spread recommendation is from Dairyland, it is just affordable and good value. Nutella is way smoother, sweeter, and richer than any chocolate spread Iflavor-enhancing know, it is however on the pricey side.

b) Sauces & Condiments

Sauces are liquid or semi-liquid accompaniments that are served with or used to coat or dress food items.

Condiments are flavor-enhancing substances or seasonings that are added to food to enhance its taste, aroma, or visual appeal.

  •  Ketchup: It is thick and sweet with subtle notes of tanginess. It accompanies literally everything, especially fast food. The best ketchup brand is Heinz, it is slightly expensive but totally worth every cent.
  •  Tomato Sauce: Used as a cheaper alternative to ketchup here, it is watered down and has a shallow flavor profile, ketchup is ultimately better in every aspect. However if you really have to get tomato sauce, Peptang brand is the best. Zesta is also equally okay.
  •  Hot Sauce: A spicy condiment made from peppers and other ingredients. It adds heat and flavor to dishes, it is thinner in consistency compared to chili sauce which is thicker. The number 1 hot sauce brand not just in Kenya but the world is Tabasco by McIlhenny Company. Heinz is a cheaper alternative, equally good but not to levels of Tabasco
  •  Chili Sauce: A flavorful sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, sugar, and other seasonings. It can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in cooking, just like in tomato sauces, Peptang and Zesta are your best bets here. If you can find Galito’s sauces they are decent here, they are more complex and in different variations
  •  Mayonnaise: Mayo is a creamy emulsification from egg yolks and vegetable oil. It is used as a binder in most dishes because it is gluey, and also thicker than a snicker to make bases of dishes. Use it from salads to sandwiches as a spread. All brands I have tried are good; MJ’s is my recommendation as it is cheap and still quality. Plus it comes in different flavored versions too. I find Heinz too expensive for its value.
  •  Mustard: There are different varieties of mustard but two are just fine: Dijon Mustard and Yellow Mustard. Dijon is the most multi-purpose here and you can use it for marination to deviled eggs, soups, and salads. Yellow mustard I only know of using it in hotdogs. Mj’s or Heinz are good brands for this, I lean towards Mj’s because it is relatively affordable and has a good value
  •  Soy Sauce: Soy Sauce shopping can be confusing, hence this post on different typesNot only limited to light or dark but also to how different Chinese and Japanese soy sauces are. My recommended brand is Chain Kwo and, if you can’t find that substitute with Pearl River Bridge, Aryuva, or Santa Maria.
  •  Vinegar: Vinegar(acetic acid), is an acidic solution from fermenting sugars. It is natural just like lemon juice. It is used to add tanginess to food if desired especially salads. Due to the acidic environment it creates, it acts as a preservative as bacteria can’t grow in that low pH. For home use, there is balsamic, white, or brown vinegar. Then we have apple cider and rice wine vinegar made by fermenting apples and rice respectfully. Recommended brands are De Nigris for apple cider and balsamic, and Chain Kwo for rice wine. For white and brown, pick any cheap brand.

7. Canned Foods

a). Tomato Paste

Yes, tomato paste is not a substitute for tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes. It is essentially tomatoes ground and concentrated, thus they add more depth and intensify tomato flavor to dishes alongside acidity giving it the deep reddish color that is appetizing. Merysa is a good brand for this or Heinz

b). Peeled Tomatoes

If you are into Italian cooking or make a lot of tomato-based dishes then it is evident that peeled canned tomatoes are actually better than fresh tomatoes

It is recommended to get the whole peeled instead of the crushed version so that you can crush them to your liking

For anything tomato-based, get a brand from Italy because they grow the best tomatoes there. Cento San Marzano is the global favorite but it is not available in Kenya. The next best options are Cirio, Merysa, Fiamma, and Novi

c). Pasta Sauce

You should make pasta sauce from scratch using peeled tomato, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil leaves. 

However, if you don’t want the hassle and value convenience, store-bought pasta sauces in jars come to the rescue. The problem is that they have a high sugar content for my liking. The reason for sugar additions is to balance the acidity of tomatoes

Recommended brands are; Ragu(the best),Cirio, and Barilla

d) Tomato Sauce ( Salsa di Pomodoro)

Not to be confused with the plastic bottle tomato sauce condiment, this tomato sauce is Italian and is normally in a jar for pasta and Italian cooking

You can make yours fresh at home but it involves an hour of simmering and slow cooking, so store-bought options are convenient. This is key if you are making lasagna

c). Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is awesome, if you don’t mind the smell of the liquid while draining lol. Use canned tuna with mayo to make sandwiches, add cheese slices and sliced onions and toast to make a delicious tuna melt

Get the version of tuna in oil; sunflower or vegetable. The tuna in brine options are a disappointment for me as the brine makes the tuna extra soggy even after draining. 

My recommendation here is to get the cheapest brand as they all taste the same.

d). Baked Beans

Saying baked beans brings two things to mind, England and Heinz. I already gave it away, the best-baked beans brand is Heinz

Baked beans are used to make the peak English cuisine; beans on toast. I tried this as a joke years back, and boy is it a favorite to date!

Substituting other bean brands will always be a miss, there is something about Heinz for this toast, so I wouldn’t recommend substitutions.

8. Green Groceries

For healthy living, these should occupy the biggest space in your fridge and nothing else, there’s a reason why the refrigeration section is bigger than your freezer: Source: Trust me, bro

Green groceries are the only reason why you shouldn’t grocery shop once a month but weekly to get the freshest produce. This is typically fruits and vegetables. 

In case you are wondering where to shop then this post is just on that: Review: The 6 Best Green Groceries in Nairobi

a). Fruits

I believe this is not news but fresh fruits actually pack way more nutrition and benefits compared to a boxed juice version of the same. 

Different fruits offer different vitamins, minerals, and benefits here is just a brief summary

Blueberries and blackberries for antioxidants

Oranges and citruses for Vitamin C

Bananas for potassium

Passion fruits, blackberries, and blackcurrants overall pack the most nutrition of any fruits; with numerous minerals and vitamins.

Pears and limes on the other hand offer the least

b). Vegetables

Veggies may suck but, they are essential for our diet. Based on nutritional provision and taste here are some recommendations

Kales, Cabbage, Spinach, and Iceberg Lettuce provided up to 100% of the daily value of some vitamins and minerals according to a CDC research

Vegetables are richer in micronutrients than macronutrients, packed with fiber minerals, and vitamins as well while packing lower calories; thus more intake is recommended for those managing body weight

Please learn to love vegetables by incorporating them in every meal, and preparing them in different ways.

9. Pasta & Noodles

a). Pasta

 Pasta is an Italian dish,  so this makes sense that the best pasta brands should have an Italian Origin. De Cecco is overall the best but there are other equally good brands you should check out in this post Review: The 5 Best Spaghetti Brands in Kenya

b). Instant Noodles

Noodles are of Asian origin and are so different from pasta or spaghetti. The common noodles are instant ones, meaning they have already been pre-cooked in the factory, they are dried and packed for you to cook at home in under 3 minutes. 

The best instant noodles are from South Korea, check out this post for more brands of instant noodles you can find here in Kenya: Review: The 10 Best Instant Noodles in Kenya

Yeah, your classic indomie is not the best; But there exists the mi goreng indomie from Indonesia which is fried noodles and it is absolutely good!

Also Read: Nala vs Indomie vs Noodies: Which Instant Noodles are Best?

10. Snacks & Treats

I don’t care how hard I’m struggling, snacks will always be part of my budget. Nutritionally, these are probably the unhealthiest foods as they have a high-calorie count for a small serving and are overly processed losing the natural goodness.

If you are managing weight then please keep off this section, yogurt is probably the only good one here, unsweetened plain Greek yoghurt that is.

Explore more in these posts:

The Ultimate Mega Guide To Snacks In Kenya: Candy, Chips & More

Review: 10 Supermarket Ice Cream Brands in Kenya

11. Hot Beverages

Recommended Brands

  •  Tea: Kericho Gold
  •  Coffee(Instant): Dormans & Nescafe
  •  Coffee (Beans & Grinds): Java, Dormans, & Out of Africa
  •  Cocoa & Chocolate: Cadbury
  •  Chocolate Malt: Milo, Ovaltine, Horlicks & Bournvita

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in various plants, especially the ones consumed as hot beverages. Stimulation is on the CNS (Central Nervous System) which generally increases alertness and reduces fatigue.

If you love caffeine then tea and coffee are your best options. However coffee has more than tea. Coffee is generally a complex topic with different types of coffee drinks, different coffee grinds, and origins. Tea is not that much, there are fewer types and variations, with fewer drink types. 

Both tea and coffee can be served in colder versions as refreshments, that is why iced tea and iced coffee exist. Read more on, Iced Tea vs Hot Tea: How Different are they?

Cocoa and Chocolate too have caffeine but much lower levels than tea or coffee. Both are processed from the cocoa pods of the plant. 

Cocoa powder is made by grinding the roasted cocoa beans whereas chocolate powder follows the same process, but sugar and powdered milk are added making it sweeter.

Chocolate Malts are drinks based on chocolate, unlike chocolate, they are much richer and creamier as they have malted milk powder added. 

Soya generally contains zero caffeine which is why it is the best option for those avoiding caffeine intake. Soya drink is a powder made from roasting and grinding dry soya beans. It is flavorful though mildly and has a strong aroma.

12. Water & Cold Beverages

a). Water

Water is probably more important than food, if you can’t drink tap water then buying water is on your grocery shopping list

For more depth on the subject check this post: Review: The 10 Best Bottled Water Brands in Kenya

Drinking water, especially a sufficient amount for your body weight, is beneficial in endless benefits to the body and overall health. 

Sufficient water intake promotes the excretion of toxins making your cells and organs healthy and you will start seeing physical results like vibrant skin and hair

If you buy bottled water, to promote more ingestion I would recommend you invest in a water dispenser and a portable water bottle. Here is a guide for that: Buying Guide: Water Dispensers in Kenya

b). Soda & Energy Drinks

These are not the healthiest beverages as they have a high calorie-to-nutrition ratio, plus packed with tons of sugars and caffeine. 

But if we overlook that, they are essential to have as they provide refreshment and revitalization benefits, especially in hot days

Check this post for insights: 21 Most Popular Soft Drinks in Kenya

c). Boxed Juices

Boxed juices while not being carbonated, fizzy, and punchy in refreshing you, at least contain real fruit content (pulp), and have a relatively lower amounts of added sugars (with some options sugar-free) 

Check this post for more information: Review: Popular Boxed Juice Brands in Kenya

13. Baking Essentials

a). Yeast

This is a leavening agent which is also a living micro-organism, It breaks down sugars present in the dough to release carbon dioxide which causes the dough to rise.

The types of yeast common are active dry and instant yeast. Generally instant yeast is the better option for home-baking no questions, since active yeast requires rehydration first.

The best yeast brand is Angel in white or red packaging

b). Baking Powder

Baking powder is also a leavening agent but a chemical one, not a living organism. It has acid and alkaline compounds that react in addition of water. In chemistry class, a neutralization reaction produces carbon dioxide and water. The CO₂ is responsible for the rising making the dough fluffy.

Any brand will work just fine, Chapa Mandashi is the common one 

c). Bicarbonate of Soda

Works in the same principle as a baking powder, except this is entirely alkaline. For the neutralization to take place, the liquids added should be acidic like vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, or buttermilk. 

Any brand will work as it is just a pure chemical compound

d). Essences

These are flavor extracts used to give your bakery the flavor you want, such as vanilla pancakes, lemon muffins, and all. A drop of this concentrated liquid gives the entire dough that flavor profile

Most essences come in fruit versions say; strawberry, lemon, pineapple, or banana, and some are non-fruit based say vanilla 

For brands Santa Maria is okay, and so is Clovers, I tend to avoid Festival and Zesta brands as they are way underwhelming and less concentrated.

14. Spices, Herbs & Salts

Himalayan Pink Salt
Himalayan Pink Salt

a). Spices

Spices are pure and organic extracts from plant roots, seeds, or leaves with each serving a specific purpose. Unlike seasonings, spices cannot be added to just about anything; they go well with specific foods e.g. nutmeg and cardamon work best in bakery and pastry. 

My personal favorite spice brand is Tropical Heat, I find them to have good quality and consistency even tho their prices are slightly above other brands

b). Seasonings

Seasonings work like spices but instead, they enhance flavor and they have a combination of up to if not more than 10 ingredients with most being artificial additives. I find Knorr Aromat to be the best all-around seasoning for literally everything

c). Herbs

 Herbs have the best flavor profile when used fresh as opposed to dried bottled ones. Just grow your own in your kitchen window especially the ones you need primarily as they are low maintenance. Watering just about once to twice a week is not that bad.

All herbs, seasonings, and spices have been covered in detail here: Spice Essentials for your Kenyan Kitchen

d). Salts

Normal boring table salt aside, there are many other inexpensive types of salt you should try; sea salt, kosher, Himalayan pink salt, MSG, and all. Salt is a mineral with the same composition but differences exist

So if the composition is the same, does the type of salt you use matter? Yes. Different salts have different textures and flavor profiles, making a specific one the best suited for the specific application.

Say you salting pasta water, which means you need to dissolve a lot of salt, then it is obvious that the cheapest(table salt) will be your best option

If you are topping an open sandwich and need to salt it, coarser-grained salts are the best for this since they add texture, kosher and sea salt are the best for this

If you have underlying conditions that require lower sodium intake, there are special sea salts that offer that

Sea salt is the best if your iodine levels are low as well

Celery salt is just normal salt but adds celery flavor to your dishes, just like other herbal salts with different flavors infused

MSG is not actually a real salt but more like a flavoring salt, so don’t expect it to add saltiness, all it does is enhance the umami flavor

15. Cooking Oils

Just like salts above, different cooking oils have different use cases and it is just okay to have all of them if possible, or shop them in regards to what you use the most. Vegetable oil is neutral meaning it has no flavor, while olive and coconut are flavored oils.

a). Vegetable Oil

Here it is vegetable oil every day, 95% of the time you will be using vegetable oil. 

Not only is it cheap but also versatile and multipurpose and also readily available! It has a high smoke point which is why it is versatile. 

The best vegetable oil brand hands down is Rina, my second recommendation would be Fresh Fri and my third would be Golden Fry

b). Vegetable Fat

Vegetable fat has been replaced by vegetable oil, but it still exists and marvel in different cooking styles like shallow frying chapatis, and especially in street food deep frying; that is why they have a unique taste

The OG and most loved vegetable fat is the yellow Cowboy brand

c). Olive Oil

Olive oil is used in drizzles, salads, and in Italian and Mediterranean cooking. Since salads are not my thing, I use olive oil in pasta dishes or as a drizzle in any food I want the olive oil flavor in. My favorite brand is Pietro Coricelli but if you are on a budget,  then Terra Delyssa is okay enough for the price except it has a weird aftertaste; it is from Tunisia while Pietro is from Italy

d). Coconut Oil

On the basis of hype, you might think this is the holy grail of cooking oil, but I’m here to alter that. It’s not

First off it is overpriced like crazy while not offering much. It solidifies at room temperature mainly. 

The only reason to get this is if you want the coconut flavor in your dishes, otherwise your money will be better spent elsewhere. Nutritionally, it doesn’t offer anything special.

Additionally, just like olive oil, coconut is a low smoke point meaning it burns off at high temperatures so only viable for light fries and can’t handle sears

However, if you really need coconut oil then this Kentaste brand is my recommendation.


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