African Cuisine

African Cuisine

use a combination of locally ingredients

  • Spicy
  • Vegan

The Kitchen of the World


  • For the Filling



African Cuisine

Traditionally, the various cuisines of Africa use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables, as well as milk and meat products,[1][2] and do not usually have food imported. In some parts of the continent, the traditional diet features an abundance of milk, curd and whey products.[citation needed]Central Africa, East Africa, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa each have distinctive dishes, preparation techniques, and consumption mores.

Central Africa

Fufu (right) is a staple food of Central Africa, pictured with some peanut soup.

Central Africa stretches from the Tibesti Mountains in the north to the vast rainforest basin of the Congo River, and remained largely free from culinary influences of the outside world until the late 19th century, with the exception of the widespread adaptation of cassava, peanut, and chili pepper plants, which arrived along with the slave trade during the early 16th century. These foodstuffs have had a large influence on the local cuisine, if perhaps less on the preparation methods. Central African cooking has remained mostly traditional.The basic ingredients are plantains and cassava. Fufu-like starchy foods (usually made from fermented cassava roots) are served with grilled meat and sauces. A variety of local ingredients are used while preparing other dishes like spinach stew cooked with tomato, peppers, chillis, onions, and peanut butter.Cassava plants are also consumed as cooked greens. Groundnut (peanut) stew is also prepared, containing chicken, okra, ginger, and other spices. Another favorite is bambara, a porridge of rice, peanut butter and sugar. Beef and chicken are favorite meat dishes, but game meat preparations containing crocodile, monkey, elephant, antelope and warthog are also served occasionally.

East Africa

The cuisine of East Africa varies from area to area. In the inland savannah, the traditional cuisine of cattle-keeping peoples is distinctive in that meat products are generally absent. Cattle, sheep, pigs and goats were regarded as a form of currency[11] and a store of wealth, and are not generally consumed as food. In some areas, traditional peoples consume the milk and blood of cattle, but rarely the meat. Elsewhere, other peoples are farmers who grow a variety of grains and vegetables. Maize (corn) is the basis of ugali, the local version of West Africa’s fufu. Ugali is a starch dish eaten with meats or stews. In Uganda, steamed green bananas called matoke provide the starch filler of many meals.Around 1000 years ago, Omani and Yemeni merchants settled on the Swahili Coast. Middle Eastern influences are especially reflected in the Swahili cuisine of the coast – steamed or cooked rice with spices in Persian style; saffron, cloves, cinnamon and several other spices; and pomegranate juice.Several centuries later, the British and the Indians came, and both brought with them foods such as Indian spiced vegetable curries, lentil soups, chapattis and a variety of pickles which have influenced various local dishes. Some common ingredients used in this region include oranges, lemons, limes, chillis, capsicum peppers, maize and tomatoes.

North Africa

North Africa lies along the Mediterranean Sea and encompasses within its fold several nations, including Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan. The roots of North African cuisine can be traced back to the ancient empires of North Africa, particularly in Egypt, where many of the country’s dishes and culinary traditions date back to antiquity.Over several centuries traders, travelers, invaders, migrants and immigrants all have influenced the cuisine of North Africa. The Phoenicians of the 1st century brought sausages, while the Carthaginians introduced wheat and its by-product, semolina. The Berbers adapted semolina into couscous, one of the main staple foods. Olives and olive oil were introduced before the arrival of the Romans.From the 7th century onwards, the Arabs introduced a variety of spices, like saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, which contributed and influenced the culinary culture of North Africa. The Ottoman Turks brought sweet pastries and other bakery products, and from the New World, North Africa got potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and chili peppers.

Southern Africa

The cooking of Southern Africa is sometimes called “rainbow cuisine”,[15] as the food in this region is a blend of many cultures: indigenous African tribal societies, European, and Asian. To understand indigenous cuisine, it is important to understand the various native peoples of southern Africa. The indigenous people of Southern Africa were roughly divided into two groups and several subgroups.

West Africa

A typical West African meal is made with starchy items and can contain meat, fish as well as various spices and herbs. A wide array of staples are eaten across the region, including fufu, banku, kenkey (originating from Ghana), foutou, couscous, tô, and garri, which are served alongside soups and stews. Fufu is often made from starchy root vegetables such as yams, cocoyams, or cassava, but also from cereal grains like millet, sorghum or plantains.The staple grain or starch varies between regions and ethnic groups, although corn has gained significant ground as it is cheap, swells to greater volumes and creates a beautiful white final product that is greatly desired. Banku and kenkey are maize dough staples, and gari is made from dried grated cassavas. Rice dishes are also widely eaten in the region, especially in the dry Sahel belt inland. Examples of these include benachin from The Gambia and Jollof rice, a pan-West African rice dish similar to Arab kabsah.

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