Kinasi Lodge Recipes

Kinasi Lodge Recipes

Kinasi Lodge has managed a culinary feat – home cooking on a remote island archipelago, where only rice, cassava, bananas and coconuts grow in abundance under the tropical sun.

Dinner is served under Moroccan lanterns overlooking the bay, either in the dining room with its golden ocra walls or on the pool terraces overlooking the beach. Everything from the salt and pepper pots to the wine glasses are an indigo blue, and complete the ocean-and-sun theme adopted in Kinasi’s styling.

The bar is an open area of armchairs and reclining benches and generous pillow cushions, where guests can relax as the ocean breeze billows though the sailcloth curtains and rustles the palm trees outside.

Dining at Kinasi is traditional, with guests sitting down to table d’hote four-course meals of soup, entree, main course and a fruit-centred dessert. Although fresh vegetables must be shipped or flown in from the mainland, most dishes are flavoured by readily-available ingredients like coconuts, bananas, tomatoes and the catch of the day.

The menus are eclectic and individual, a fusion of Indian Ocean recipes and North African and Mediterranean flavours such as oven-baked lasagne of lobster, coriander and asparagus, lunchtime pizzas topped with fresh seafood, and risottos of local spinach and fresh crab. Swahili food buffets and seafood barbecues are weekly rituals.

Banana trees are abundant on the Swahili Coast, and local shambas, or small farms, wouldn’t be complete without a few banana trees planted between rows of tomatoes and the local spinach, mchicha. And bananas are the culprit in one of Kinasi’s great treats, the famous trifle, developed to local ingredients by Jenny Saar, formerly the Chef at Gibb’s Farm. She came up with this soothing tropical-island treat and comfort food. It’s become a lodge favourite, served in thick earthenware bowls with a generous splash of rum.


Here are the recipes for one of Kinasi’s superb dinner menus:

Crab and Coconut Soup with Watercress and Coriander

Fried Calamari with Sesame Seeds and Kinasi Tartare Sauce

Grilled Tuna Steaks with fresh Horseradish Salsa

Island Life Banana Trifle

Crab and Coconut Soup with Watercress

Coconut cream compliments the natural sweetness of fresh crab in this smooth and satisfying soup. The green colour of the watercress makes the soup a delicate pale green. Coconut milk can be substituted, but the soup will be thinner and loose it’s velvety texture.


3 big crabs

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup flour

1 onion, chopped

1 litre coconut cream

1 cube of chicken stock

A small bunch of fresh watercress, chopped

Coriander to flavour and garnish

Plunge the crabs into a large pot of salted boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes. Let them cool, then crack open with a large hammer or rolling pin and remove the meat from the centre and claws.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and add the onion, stirring constantly for about five minutes, or until the onion is translucent and beginning to turn a lovely golden colour. Add the coconut cream, flour and stock cube, bringing the mixture to the boil on low heat. Let the mixture simmer, without covering it, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the coconut cream from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the crabmeat little by little, then throw in the watercress and simmer for another 5 minutes. When the watercress is wilted and beginning to disintegrate, it’s ready to serve.



Fried Calamari with Sesame Seeds and Kinasi Tartare Sauce

Fried calamari is a Mediterranean favourite, and the use of coconut cream in the tartar sauce lends the dish a coastal flavour. Go to the extra effort to make Kinasi’s special tartare sauce, which uses coconut cream instead of eggs – it’s worth it.


500 g calamari, cleaned and cut into one-centimetre strips

2 eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

1/3 cup sesame seeds

vegetable oil, for frying

¼ cup olive oil

the juice of 3 limes

1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

a pinch of sugar

for Kinasi’s special tartar sauce:

¼ cup coconut cream

¼ cup yoghurt

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tomato, deseeded and chopped finely

½ onion, chopped finely

½ green pepper, chopped finely

¼ cucumber, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

2 tablespoons Worchester sauce

½ teaspoon paprika

Combine the olive oil, lime, coriander, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in the calamari strips, marinating them for half and hour. Beat the eggs into the calamari marinade and in a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds together. In a wok or a large frying pan, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil (at least two fingers’ height) to the point where when you drip some water in, the oil sizzles and spits. Take a few pieces of the marinated calamari and dip them in the breadcrumb mixture, being sure to coat the pieces on both sides. Slide them into the hot oil with a slotted spoon and fry in small batches – if you put to many in, the oil’s temperature will decrease and they won’t be crispy – until golden brown, and remove them carefully to drain on kitchen paper. As you’re frying, mix the ingredients for the tartar sauce in a bowl and serve with the calamari strips, piping hot and piled onto a large plate.



Grilled Tuna with Horseradish

Try to get Yellowfin tuna or Dog-tooth tuna fillets for this. Wahoo and Trevalley are also superb fish for this method.

Whether you choose to marinate the tuna before grilling it is largely up to you, but the mustard and lime marinade goes so well with soft pink of the steaks that it’s worth it, but do not marinate for more than five minutes. The sauce requires refrigerating in advance, but don’t skip it – you’ll want lots.


4 250 g tuna steaks

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup lime juice

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons honey

for the sauce:

1 cup whipped cream

1/3 cup freshly grated horseradish

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ cup fresh green pepper, minced finely

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for an hour before serving. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce, mustard, lime juice, garlic, lemon zest and honey and add the tuna steaks, making sure they’re covered with the marinade. Let them rest for about half an hour, but if you’re stretched for time, five minutes will do. Preheat a grill until it sizzles violently when you sprinkle water over it. Grill the tuna steaks, two at a time if there’s not enough space for all of them at once, for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, then turn and grill the same amount of time. The grill will leave lovely black lines on the steaks, which will be charred on the outside and – provided you don’t overcook it – still just pink on the inside. Serve with the sauce.



Banana Bread Trifle

This recipe should be made well in advance and chilled before serving, and you don’t have to use banana bread – the usual sponge fingers will do. But if you want the sweet, comforting taste of bananas times infinity, it has to be made with banana bread. Really ripe bananas are best here.


Banana bread:

225 g flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

110 g butter, softened

225 g sugar

110 g raisins

30 g nuts, chopped

2 eggs

4 cups mashed bananas

for the trifle:

1 loaf banana bread, cut into one-centimetre slices

500 ml milk

3 tablespoons custard powder

¼ cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tot sherry, plus a little for sprinkling

2 tots rum, plus a little for sprinkling

4 large bananas, cut into thin rounds

To make the banana bread, preheat the oven to 160°C. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour, baking powder and salt. With a wooden spoon, stir until everything is mixed and not lumpy, but don’t over beat. Add the nuts, eggs and mashed bananas, and mix well. Pour into a buttered loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the bread is brown on top and fall easily out of its tin.

To make the custard for the trifle, heat the milk in a saucepan until almost boiling and add the custard powder, sugar and egg yolks. Stir until well blended and add the sherry and rum. Spoon a layer of custard into a glass bowl and top it with a layer of the banana bread fingers. Sprinkle a bit of sherry and rum on top of the bread to moisten it, then top with a layer of fresh bananas. Repeat this once or twice until the custard and the banana bread has run out, the sprinkle again with rum and sherry, and finish it off with more fresh banana rounds. Refrigerate the trifle for an hour or more to let the flavours fuse, then serve directly from the glass bowl, dishing servings out at the table.