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Omelet with Fries (Chips Mayai)

Chips or ‘fries’ are EVERYWHERE in Kenya. They’re a popular street food and side dish at cafes. They are so popular they’ve even found their way into breakfast. Cooked with scrambled eggs (mayai in Swahili) and various veggies and spices, this fry omelet is a popular street food that got its origins in Tanzania but is beloved in all Swahili-speaking regions.

Similar to the Spanish omelet, this recipe for Tanzanian chips mayai is a great breakfast dish to share that brings a street food classic into your home kitchen. This easy-to-make omelet is topped with crispy fries and served with kachumbari, a tomato salad.

1 small red onion, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, small dice

1 medium tomato, diced

4 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon chili powder, Kashmiri preferred

Salt to taste

1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick sticks

Neutral oil for frying

  1. Heat a 10” non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Drizzle in enough oil to lightly coat the bottom, then add the onion. Cook until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.

  2. Add in the bell pepper and tomato, cooking until the tomatoes have let off their liquid and the peppers have softened but are still a vibrant green. Season well with salt and transfer into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set the pan aside to use again.

  3. To the bowl, crack in the eggs, seasoning with cilantro, chili powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

  4. Fill a separate medium-sized pot with 2 inches of oil and heat to 350°F (180°C). Pat the potatoes dry using a clean kitchen towel. Working in batches, fry in the oil until they’re tender and lightly golden, about 5-7 minutes.

  5. Drain the fries on a paper towel-lined plate, lightly seasoning with salt.

  6. Set the 10-inch frying pan over medium-low heat. Add in the butter. Once melted, pour on top the egg mixture, and scramble until 1/2 way cooked. Then spread into an even layer, then press the fries into the top. Gently shake the pan to keep the bottom from sticking.

  7. Place a large plate (wider than the pan) on top of the skillet. Use a kitchen towel to protect yourself, and in one swift motion, flip the omelet onto the plate.

  8. Add a splash of oil into the pan, then slide the omelet in, so the other side can cook until set, another 2-3 minutes.


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