Somalia – Fresh Tuna Kebabs and Chapatis

The women mostly stay at home; the men even go to the market,  Habiba tells me. She and her family are members of the Bajun people of Somalia, a minority group who speak Swahili.

As Muslims they only eat Halal meat (slaughtered in a specific way in the name of God) and observe the month long fast at Ramadan. Fasting between sunrise and sunset is compulsory after puberty (except for pregnant women) but from the age of seven, children learn about it and begin to practise. At the end of Ramadan, neighbours gather with different foods and celebrate.

There is no mosque in Athlone. The small Muslim community prays in a shop cellar every Friday afternoon.

  • Fresh tuna
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Mixed spice (includes coriander, cumin and cinnamon)
  • Salt
  • Lemon
  • Two large potatoes
  • Bread crumbs
  • Egg

Clean the fresh tuna and slice into large chunks. Gently fry the tuna, garlic and spices in a pan, squeeze in a whole lemon (to cut the smell of the fish). Add salt and a little water and simmer gently. Boil the potatoes, add to the pan and mash the whole mixture. Make into oval or round shapes like meatballs. Combine the breadcrumbs with an egg to bind the mixture. Coat the tuna & potato ovals with the breadcrumbs and fry them.  These are eaten with chips, rice or chapati.


  • Flour
  • Butter or oil

Add hot water and a little butter or oil to the flour. Mix to a dough and cut into pieces. Make each piece into a ball and flatten. Heat some oil and, one by one, place the chapati on the pan, turning regularly. Depending on the heat they will take three to four minutes to cook.