Kristine M. Kierzek
When Immy Kaggwa started off cooking for many others, she understood that not anyone would be acquainted with the African dishes of her childhood.
Again in 2008, Kaggwa experienced 3 small youngsters and started Immy’s African Cuisine. She started out out catering, then shared her East African cooking at festivals and functions in southeastern Wisconsin.
People would scent her cooking and start off asking queries, then sample the chapati, bajia, fufu, egusi, hen curry and sambusas.
She’s realized to enjoy that interaction and now feeds off the pleasure many others get when eating her cooking.
She offered takeout for a while, but moved on this year, when she bought her very first food items trailer and tailored it with enable from her neighbor at the Shorewood Farmers Market, Pedro Tejada, who runs Pedro’s South American Food.
Search for Immy’s African Cuisine on Sundays as a result of October at the Shorewood Farmers Market and from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at the Deer District Evening Industry as a result of Sept. 26. Immy’s also will be at Style of Mequon on Sept. 11 in front of Mequon Metropolis Hall, 11333 N. Cedarburg Road, and at Celebration on the Pavement on Sept. 18 in downtown Racine.
Kaggwa life in Wauwatosa with her husband, Andrew.
Concern: What are your food roots? How did you get began cooking for some others?
Solution: I’m initially from East Africa, Uganda and Kenya. A person of my dad and mom is from Uganda, just one from Kenya. I have a minimal flavor of each nations. I came (to Milwaukee) in 1990. … I worked with Time Coverage, later Assurant Wellness. … I worked there for 15 years, and then I experienced little ones. My mom moved in with us.
When the little ones started out likely to faculty, my mom still left. … I considered Ok, what takes place when summer time arrives all around? Day treatment is much too expensive for a few kids. One of us, our spend would just go to day treatment. I advised my partner, I’ll give up my position and I’ll commence accomplishing foodstuff.
I under no circumstances imagined I’d be in the food items field. I used to do potlucks at operate. Folks relished what I brought. My co-staff encouraged me. There were being not way too numerous Africans accomplishing foods.
Q: What are some of the most important influences on your technique to foodstuff?
A: My grandparents. I was a city kid, but when university closed I’d go to the village. You’d climb trees and get contemporary fruit, the jackfruit, sugar cane, papayas, the mangoes. … When I went to MATC I took a class, and I did investigation about potatoes, bananas and plantains and where they originated. It is intriguing.
Q: Do you try to remember the to start with recipe you discovered to make on your possess?
A: My mom is from Kenya. I was an grownup, like 22 or 23, and my mother experienced surgical procedure. Of program it was in the course of the fasting year. There are diverse meals during the speedy. A person of them was the sambusas. I’d in no way regarded how to make them, but I was pressured to discover.
There were my aunties all-around, all the neighbors in the area. I’d go all-around and understand from them and cook dinner. I did that for the full thirty day period. Which is how I picked up the expertise. I in no way knew it would come that in the long term that is what I do for a dwelling.
Q: What have you discovered by cooking for some others?
A: When I go to gatherings like farmers markets and festivals, I cook the food stuff at the industrial kitchen. Then we get it cold and we heat it up (at the site). The odor will get men and women. They appear and stand and watch me generating chapatis. They get curious. Then there is a discussion. It receives very appealing, considerably additional enjoyable.
Q: Where do you go for ingredients?
A: There are some African suppliers, they import them. The East Africans use a good deal of curries. Even Restaurant Depot has things, and the spices are all readily available simply.
I did integrate some West African dishes on my menu, for the reason that there is no West African restaurant about. Ok, I’ll incorporate a thing to my menu, like the pounded yam, and a distinctive melon. They consider the melon seeds, dry them and pound them and you incorporate that to any stew. They get in touch with it egusi soup.
Q: Did your cooking or strategy to food modify when you moved to Milwaukee?
A: Personally, I preferred to try to eat what I knew, food stuff from home. We would go to the Hispanic merchants like El Rey. We can obtain selected yams we increase, and the cassavas, the beans and plantains, and some bananas. It is not the identical (range of) bananas, but we can improvise.
Q: What do you want people today to know about East African delicacies and the foodstuff you prepare?
A: Everything is refreshing. There is no slicing corners. Every thing is performed with enthusiasm. If you really don’t have enthusiasm, there is no way you can make fantastic food items. You also have to be client. The selection one particular factor is employing clean ingredients.
Q: Is there just one spice that defines your kitchen and cooking?
A: I have to have all of them, the clean ginger, the fresh garlic. I use a whole lot of cilantro, cumin, curry, the turmeric.
Q: What’s a recipe you want to be acknowledged for?
A: I do a jerk chicken. It sounds not African, but it is in the type of a stew. My daughter went to Jamaica. She came back again and said, ‘I have to make that jerk rooster.’ So she cooked it, and I picked up the interest. I can do it my have way, not like theirs.
I arrived up with my own jerk rooster stew with greens, and that recipe aired on Wisconsin Foodie. I also do a chicken curry with spinach, and the sambusas, those people are really preferred.
Q: If you could make only one particular point, what would it be?
A: The sambusas, that is my preferred. They are constantly common at the holidays. I also really like the chickpeas I do. I blend them, with cauliflower, eco-friendly peas and chickpeas in a coconut curry.
Q: How usually do you get back again to Africa?
A: Right before COVID, I’d go back again just about every 12 months for the reason that in the winter season it is my minimal season. I’d go take a look at for a month. I nonetheless have siblings back again home.
Q: How do you outline your approach to cooking and feeding other people?
A: I’ve been so lucky. Men and women observe. If they have hardly ever have listened to of this delicacies, they have queries. They see people in line, and they get curious.
The most astounding component for me is when folks complete feeding on. They occur again and say, “That was scrumptious.”
Children, people are my preferred consumers. Two months back, a father and his almost 2-year-previous observed me cooking in the back. I went and talked with them. He reported, “She’s so picky, when we go out to take in, we convey pasta …” Seriously? Permit me bring you some foodstuff. I introduced a sambusa. She ate the full sambusa. …That is a little something that would make me want to do extra. Observing a child taking in your food items, that’s unbelievable.
Table Chat features interviews with Wisconsinites, or Wisconsin natives, who operate in restaurants or support the restaurant field or visiting chefs. To propose persons to profile, e-mail [email protected]