When I was a kid growing up in Nairobi we used to play this game that was all about meat.
There would be a group of us, and the challenge was to name types of edible meats, and also to sneak in types of meat which were, to our minds, not edible. The game would go something like this:
caller: Nyama, nyama, nyama, nyama? (“meat, meat, meat, meat”)
all: Nyama! (“meat!”)
player 1: Nyama ya nguruwe! (“meat of a pig!”)
player 2: Nyama ya ng’ombe! (“meat of a cow”)
And this would carry on until someone got confused or repeated a meat type that had already been called, or, as was often the case with me, ran out of Swahili words for animals whose meat commonly ends up on our dinner tables, and called something outrageous like:
player 52: Nyama ya panya!” (“meat of a mouse!”)
At which point all the other players are meant to remain quiet as calling out “Nyama!” affirms that this is a type of meat which can be eaten. The player who responds and/or the one who dared insinuate that one could eat a mouse would be out, and the game would continue without them.
This game would keep us endlessly entertained. Oh, how easy we were to amuse!
Anyway, the point of all that was to explain that “nyama” means “meat” in kiSwahili (if you hadn’t deduced this by now please stop reading immediately as this is not a blog to be read by intellectually compromised individuals) as well as many other Bantu languages. Also, this was a sort of meaningless, rambling introduction to today’s Airfryer challenge: carne!
Ooooh, a challenge! This feels like Kitchen Stadium! I feel like I should scream something incoherent and claim it’s a saying passed down from my uncle!
I digress. Meat, or specifically in my case, lamb (“nyama ya kondoo”). So I had yet another super busy day (I spent my morning kicking legal butt) and was worn out when it came to cooking time. I was craving red meat so I pulled some lamb chops out of my freezer intending to marinate them simply, airfry, and get my meat fix.
I loathe meat that has been microwave-defrosted so I left the chops out by my sink for about three hours by which stage they were defrosted enough to separate. I then rubbed them with olive oil, salt, garlic & herb spice mix (I almost never use pre-mixed spices which shows just how lazy I was being!), cumin and chopped garlic:
You will note a few things from the photo above:
My impeccable style and taste extend even to my choice of apron
I should probably eat those bananas
I shouldn’t still have the sesame seeds from last nights’s meal out on the counter
I’m in the photo!!!!
Yes, I had Zizwe and Sharon drop by today! Zizwe gobbled down the last of yesterday’s chicken wings while Sharon had dinner tonight and provided a second opinion on the lamb.
After marinating I stuck the lamb in the Airfryer and cooked at 180* for 8 minutes, then took the chops out and turned them.
I then slid them in again, same temperature, same duration.
And this is where I went wrong: at this point the lamb had cooked for the appropriate duration as per the sticky-on-guide-thingy on the front of the Airfryer, but it didn’t look all glisteny like TV food. So I stuck the chops in again so they’d turn lovely and brown:
I served the lamb chops with coconut basmati rice:
If there’s anyone reading this asking, “well, what about vegetables?” in a smug “I’m so healthy!” voice, see those green and yellow bits in the rice? Peas and sweet corn. Vegetables.
So, the eating. I reeeeeeally loved the flavour of the meat, but that’s because I seasoned it and I’m a really good cook. As my special guest pointed out, though, the meat was really difficult to cut. Whether this was due to my plonking the chops in when they were still partially frozen, or because of my decision to stick them back in for extra cooking so they’d glisten in my blog photos, or even because I just need to invest in a set of steak knives I do not know.
What I do know, though, is had I pan fried my chops, I would likely have been happier with the end result.