Exploring the Unique Flavours of Rwanda: Brochette & Birayi

By: Kevin Oak

Rwanda is known for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and its unique cuisine. Among the popular dishes in Rwanda are brochette and birayi, which are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Brochette is a dish made up of skewered meat, while birayi is roasted potatoes. These dishes are a common sight in most restaurants, street food stands, and barbecues across the country. But did you know that the origins of brochette and birayi can be traced back to the colonial era?

During the Belgian colonial rule, meat was a luxury that was only available to the wealthy. However, the local population had access to offcuts and scraps of meat that they used to make brochettes. This dish quickly became a popular street food, and it was not long before the Belgians themselves developed a taste for it. Over time, the dish has evolved to include different types of meat, and is now a staple in Rwandan cuisine. Similarly, birayi has its roots in the traditional way of cooking potatoes in the country, which involved roasting them in ash.

Let’s explore the uniqueness of brochette and birayi, including the preparation and consumption of the dishes and also look at some of the popular accompaniments for these dishes that complement them. Let’s dive in!

Brochette and Birayi: A Match Made in Culinary Heaven

Brochette is skewered meat that is grilled over an open flame. The meat can include beef, goat, chicken, or even fish. It is marinated in a flavorful blend of spices and herbs before being cooked, giving it a rich and complex flavor.

Birayi, on the other hand, is a unique preparation of potatoes that is often served alongside brochette. The potatoes are boiled and then roasted in a skillet until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are often seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger and turmeric, which give them a distinctive flavor.

Together, brochette and birayi make for a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for any occasion. The combination of savory grilled meat and crispy potatoes is truly a match made in culinary heaven.

Accompaniments: Taking Brochette and Birayi to the Next Level

While brochette and birayi are delicious on

Brochette and Birayi Recipe:


– 1 kg of beef or goat meat, cut into bite-size pieces

– 1 onion, chopped

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced

– 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed

– Skewers

For the Birayi:

– 2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

– Salt to taste

– 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

– 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

Instructions: their own, they are even better when paired with a variety of different accompaniments. One of the most popular accompaniments is isombe, a dish made with cassava leaves that are cooked in a flavorful blend of spices and herbs. The dish has a slightly bitter flavor that pairs perfectly with the rich, savory flavors of brochette and birayi.

In a large bowl, mix the meat with the chopped onions, minced garlic, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Let it marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

Salad is also a common accompaniment and is often made with a variety of fresh and colorful vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. The salad is usually dressed with a vinaigrette made with local ingredients such as lemon, ginger, and honey, which adds a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with the savory flavors of the brochette and birayi.

Another popular dish that usually accompanies brochette is roasted or grilled plantains (locally referred to as mizuzu). The dish has a slightly sweet and savory flavor that pairs well with the bold flavors of brochette.

Enjoying Brochette and Birayi at Home

Now that we have explored the unique and delicious food of Rwanda, it’s time to try it out for yourself! Here’s a simple recipe for making brochette and birayi at home:

Preheat your grill or oven to 400°F.

Thread the meat onto the skewers, alternating with the cubed potatoes Place the skewers on the grill or in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning them occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

While the brochettes are cooking, make the birayi. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, salt, and turmeric powder, and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned.

Serve the brochettes and birayi with a side of isombe, salad, or other traditional Rwandan accompaniments.

Enjoy the delicious flavors of Rwanda right in your own home!