Africa is a big continent. It is not only rich in amazing wildlife, and hospitable communities but it is also rich in food. The diverse cultures in Africa make for different and amazing culinary skills. Africa is well known for so many great traditional cuisines. The culinary skills have been passed from one generation to another, and African food has still managed to keep its notable hearty touch. The choice of ingredients and cooking techniques may differ, but Africa’s cooking is traditional to its core.
West African food, for example, is known for its basic ingredients such as cassava and plantains. They mostly serve their food with grilled meat and delicious sauces. All their ingredients come from their farms. They rarely use imported food ingredients.
Africans are also big on meat—most of their dishes are served with meat stew or soup. Goat meat is the most dominant but white meat is still enjoyed, especially fish and chicken. Most of the time, red and white meat is mixed together to make different cuisines. Occasionally, game meats such as crocodile, warthog, and monkey are also served.
Fruits are also a major ingredient in African food. Bananas are widely used in Africa to make “matoke” which is a meal made from unripe bananas. Fruits such as papaya are sometimes used to soften tough meat. Mostly, the fruits are used to make a fruit salad (African dessert).
Vegetables are also highly valued in Africa’s culinary scene. They have a lot of nutrients, and some are medicinal. Vegetables such as spinach are used to make stew and sauces.
Milk is probably one of the most common foods and drinks in almost all countries in Africa. Milk, from the beginning of time, has always been considered an important competent in most African communities.
Cattle were not only considered a source of food but of wealth also. It was integral for a man, especially a married man, to have a constant supply of milk in his homestead. Even today most Africans enjoy their glass of milk—whether it is fresh or sour (African yoghurt).
Traditional beer is also a big part of the African culinary scene. Most African communities’ welcome visitors to their home with a drink. Millet is mostly used in the brewing of traditional beer, but some countries like Uganda use bananas to brew their own beer. They still use the same ingredients to make their porridge.
Africa is also rich in spices. Given its vastness, most countries have different spices. The Swahili, for example, love their cloves, saffron, and cinnamon. Somali cuisine is known for its cumin, cardamom, and sage spices. Most of the spices in Somali cuisine are used to aromatise their rice.
Most of Africa’s staple food is starchy, from chapati in North Africa, fu-fu in West Africa, to Ugali in East Africa. Food in Africa is very versatile and differs from one country to another.
By Christine Siamanta Kinori
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