Mursik is a beverage made from fermented milk. It is mostly drank during meals and, in most homes in Rift Valley, it mainly accompanies ugali at dinner time. Mursik is thought to have been a way to use an oversupply of milk by families (considering that for decades, many houses within the Rift Valley did not have fridges). Over time, it has become one of the most important part of the Kalenjin (the Kenyan tribe that produces more athletes) diet and a belief that it is the reason for their athletic prowess. When athletes come back from their races, they are often offered gourds filled with mursik, as part of the celebration, as soon as they land at the airport.
Most families believe that this drink cures most stomach ailments and aids in digestion. There is also the myth that Kalenjins run faster because they consistently drink mursik.
How is Mursik prepared?
The gourd in which the milk will be stored has to be prepared in advance, it must be clean and dry. To improve the taste of mursik, the inside part of the gourd is coated with black charcoal from the kipsitet/itet tree (found in specific parts of Rift Valley). A branch of the tree is burnt black and used to coat the inside; the excess of charcoal is poured out and the gourd is ready to use.
- In an open cooking pan, boil fresh milk (it will not work if milk has been pasteurized or received another heated treatment).
- Let it cool down at room temperature.
- Remove the cream that remains on top, which is usually used to prepare vegetables or the traditional ghee.
- Once it has completely cooled down, pour it in the gourd and close it tightly. Let it sit in a warm and dry place (in the traditional kitchens it is usually kept close to the wood fireplace). It is kept there for 5-7 days with minimal disturbance.
- Between the fifth and seventh day open the lid carefully. The milk will have fermented and the water separated. Pour out the water and then mix the remaining liquid to get a smooth consistency.
- It is then ready to drink with your favourite meal or enjoyed by itself.
Will you run faster if you drink mursik?
If you have not trained well and have not done your part of gym and speedwork, the best that mursik can do for you is help your digestion.