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ASIA SCENE: Cultural merrymaking with rich, nostalgic roots

Sunday April 14 2019

Koroga winners, Shiksha's Meat Masters, pose with their awards. PHOTO | COURTESY

Koroga winners, Shiksha's Meat Masters, pose with their awards. PHOTO | COURTESY 

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Our social and cultural scene since mid-March has been dominated by a unique cook-out competition, the East FM 2019 Koroga Premier League. Last Sunday the finals of this knock-out fun saw four finalist teams battling it out for a handsome cash award and the Champions Trophy at Azalea Carebea in Hurlingham, Nairobi.

Teams managed by the radio station’s ace presenters Aly Khan Sorathia, Shiksha Arora, Shamim ALU and Riya Sharma went all out to meet the cooking challenges set by a panel of judges. In a tough, exciting and entertaining battle of presenting delicacies and ingenious cooking, Shiksha Arora’s Meat Masters were declared the winners and awarded a cash prize of Sh300,000, courtesy of the prime sponsor, Equity Bank, together with the prestigious Champions Trophy.

The ever-popular cook-out get together, believed to have been started by Indian workers brought by the British to build Mombasa—Kampala railway line in the early days of the colonial administration, has over the years become part of the Kenyan Asian culture of eat-out entertainment. Merrily dubbed Koroga, a Swahili word meaning to stir, it is a midweek or weekend activity that provides friends and loved ones a reason to relax and enjoy each other’s company whilst sharing a cook-out meal. At Koroga, quality time is spent listening to music, playing party games, cracking jokes and even indulging in general gossip and politics.

Kenya’s prime radio entertainment facility East FM, in conjunction with leading manufacturers and suppliers of culinary essentials, has for the past six years or so taken the initiative to glorify and give fresh dimensions to this social activity. The festivity accords its presenters a chance to form teams comprising listeners and fans to participate as professionals from the hospitality industry set rules and adjudicate.

Each participating team utilises its resources and know-how to meet the challenges and prepare dishes that are not only delicious but also creative and well presented. More than a cooking fiesta, the competition becomes a fun way to socialise and meet listeners and fans.

The Finals at Carebea was fun galore not only for the participating teams but also for those who attended. Party games, dancing to the beat of team songs and above all a very welcome opportunity to taste a variety of appetising dishes prepared by the contestants were the order of the day.